How to host a successful hybrid event, whatever your budget
Whether you’re planning a conference, a board meeting, a summit or a product launch, there are all kinds of ways to bring people together. Though in person events are enduringly popular, many conferences, talks and meetings are now held virtually. Not only can this be a more budget-friendly option, virtual meetings also make it possible for attendees to join from wherever they are, whatever their accessibility needs.
Of course, event organisers don’t have to choose between these two options. Hybrid events allow local attendees to be in the audience in person, while remote attendees can still take part virtually. A good hybrid event will be delivered live and will allow plenty of opportunities for remote attendees to interact with the event.
When is a hybrid event the right choice?
The increasing costs of flights and hotels mean that it’s often prohibitive for businesses to be able to afford to send employees to conferences and events in person, especially if those events are taking place internationally. Some organisations may even find it makes more sense practically and financially to invite certain speakers or panellists to contribute virtually.
Cost isn’t the only factor; convenience is also key. Issues such as train strikes, inclement weather, caring responsibilities and health/disabilities can also make it difficult for attendees and speakers to make it to events in person. This means that holding an in-person only event can exclude attendees for all kinds of reasons. This can have a significant impact on the reach of an event, as well as on ticket sales.
With a hybrid event, everyone gets the best of both worlds. Local attendees who are willing and/or able to attend in person can get all the benefits of doing so, while attendees who are located further away or cannot attend in person for other reasons can still take part on their own terms.
Event organisers are sometimes unsure about providing hybrid event opportunities due to worries about cost and complication. However, the cost of making an in person event hybrid is relatively low, and the additional opportunity for increased numbers of attendees usually offsets additional costs very quickly. As for the complication factor, though managing a hybrid event will necessitate a more detailed plan and some extra project management, it’s unlikely to be as complicated as you think.
Costs of a hybrid event
Depending on your requirements, the cost could be even less than this. In some cases, you may not even need to invest in or hire any additional equipment. Many events can be made hybrid using only a few smartphones and digital microphones.
One of the key ways to keep your costs low is to consider the availability of built-in technical facilities when choosing a venue. Some venues have integral hybrid event facilities such as a PA system and cameras that are connected to computers and projectors. In these cases, only very limited additional equipment would be needed to stream your event online. Choosing a venue that already has a hybrid event system in place could mean that you’re able to run a hybrid event at no additional cost.
Project managing a hybrid event
Project management on the day
Technical requirements for a hybrid event
The equipment you’ll require to deliver a hybrid event will depend on many factors. These include:
- The tech facilities at the venue.
- The budget of your event.
- The number of languages involved.
- Whether interpreters will be working onsite or remotely.
- Whether retour interpretation is required.
- The quality of the required finish.
Below, we’ve shared examples of four different types of set up at four different budgets.
Things to consider:Notes
- That you have a headset or microphone connected to each laptop that’s connected to Zoom.
- That the venue’s connectivity is good enough to handle the additional demand of a hybrid meeting.
- That any cameras (including smartphones) are carefully positioned to ensure a good view for remote attendees without blocking the view or movement of in-person attendees.
- All speakers have a digital microphone to speak into, either on their lapel or handheld.
Hiring hybrid equipment
If you decide to hire equipment for your event, consider whether the equipment you’re hiring is designed for onsite or hybrid events. There are so few providers of specialist interpreting equipment in the UK, and most of them use European kits that are designed primarily with onsite events in mind. At WordlyWise, we use versatile WilliamsAV kits that are much more compact than the alternative and are ideal for hybrid events. A more compact kit can lower the overall hire cost dramatically.