With many event venues beginning to reopen across the country and some restrictions on public gatherings being loosened, you may think it’s time to return to only in-person events and leave the streaming tech behind once and for all. After all, the cameras, microphones, and wiring needed to pull off first-class hybrid and virtual events are just one more thing for you to worry about, right?
Not necessarily. Even as live events return, many audiences will continue to be interested in virtual events, because they usually offer unique experiences. Just look at examples of hybrid events like the “Princess and Skyhigh Odditorium’s Halloween Drive-In,” where attendees could watch from their cars as a whimsical drag show and acrobatics were projected on a drive-in screen. Similarly, the Beanstalk Music and Mountain Festival turned its usually live event into a drive-in hybrid event, with bands performing live music that was piped into attendees’ car stereo systems.
Event organizing is all about getting your content into the hands of attendees, and adding an online component to your events helps you do that more effectively. There’s still plenty of room for trailblazing organizers to design hybrid events that tap into a wider attendee pool. In fact, we’ve got four key reasons to keep your cameras and mics plugged in and you reach in-person and online attendees all at once.
1. Keep your global audience
If you want to expand your brand and connect with more people, don’t limit your audience. Many creators saw their community grow during COVID-19 — when virtual and hybrid events were practically the only way to keep people connected. You might have expanded your typical audience with people from all across the country, if not the world. By continuing to host events with an online element, you can keep engaging event-goers who live too far away to attend your in-person programming.
2. Provide options
We’re all excited that in-person, live events are back on the table. But while we’re still in the middle of the vaccine rollout, some higher-risk individuals might not want to attend live events just yet. Giving people the additional option to attend an event virtually can ensure that you reach as many potential event-goers as possible. Look for ways to engage connection and expand your programming to everyone, regardless of their situation.
Finding out your target audience’s preferences is as simple as asking them. Consider surveying your past event attendees to see if they’d prefer an in-person event or a livestream. This can not only help you gauge what size venue you’ll need but can also give you a read on what event-goers are looking for.
3. Control your capacity
While venues are reopening and vaccination rates are rising, in-person events are still operating at reduced capacity. In fact, most communities continue to limit the size of public gatherings, in some cases to only 25% or less of a venue’s usual capacity.
Hybrid and virtual events are another tool to control in-person capacity at your events — without drastically reducing overall attendance. Some organizers charge a premium to attend their events in person as a VIP experience. This creates a certain exclusivity, while still allowing everyone who’s interested to attend.
4. Produce more content
One of the perks of hosting a hybrid event is that they give you a great source of promotional material — without much extra planning effort. Using snippets from a livestream or stills from a hybrid webinar is an easy way to build out your marketing collateral. Give teasers for future events or include some clips in your post-event blog writeup.
You can also offer recordings of conferences or webinars to attendees who couldn’t make it to the live event. If you already have the equipment set up for a hybrid event, all you have to do is put the finishing touches onto the recording once the event concludes and distribute it via your email list or landing page.
Trying to navigate the challenges of event organizing with COVID-19 constantly changing the rules can feel overwhelming. Find everything you need to organize your virtual events and keep your events safe on Eventbrite.