How to Plan Hybrid Events [+Ideas and Tools]

Table of Contents

In a post-pandemic world, virtual and physical reality are beginning to merge. And if you’re a community builder planning an event, flexibility is key to offering a personalized experience for your attendees. That’s why in this post we’ll explore the foundations, ideas, and best platforms to host hybrid events: meetings that occur in in-person and virtual channels.

What Are Hybrid Events and When Should You Host One

As we mentioned earlier, hybrid events are gatherings that combine online and offline presence.

However, the event should be adapted to both formats. Just because it’s both in-person and virtual does not mean that you prioritize one over the other. Each one should be an experience of its own. Meaning that a hybrid event is more than having a physical event, but live streaming it too. You should offer your online audience something else for them to feel involved in the hybrid experience!

According to Brella, the key to building engagement with the virtual audience is interactivity. Meaning that an interactive virtual component is essential when hosting a successful hybrid event.

Another great way to understand what a hybrid event is is to understand what it isn’t! It’s not: streaming your live sessions, or a sharable video available to view on-demand after the event. And it’s not putting your live audience before your online audience.

As with almost everything else in life, hybrid events are not suitable for everyone or every situation. However, they are great when you only can have a limited number of people on-site, but want more people to participate in the event. Or when an event is limited due to another logical consideration (such as travel restrictions or sustainability concerns). Also, a hybrid event is a great option when you need to have a digital version of an on-site event for business or marketing reasons.

A successful hybrid event requires both engagement and active participation from your virtual audience.

The Brella Team

Hybrid Event Ideas

We believe hybrid events bring sponsors, speakers, attendees, and organizers the benefits from both online and offline events! However, if it’s your first experience organizing a hybrid event, you might need some ideas. Here are some platforms, tools, and best practices that will help you make the most of this type of event!

Best Tools for Hybrid Events

When you’re searching for the perfect platform to host a successful hybrid event, make sure that it has most of these tools and features.

The platform you choose should give you the possibility to connect in-person and virtual attendees, drive leads and meetings to sponsors, and set up and host live streams.

Other features that could help you host a successful event are ๐Ÿ‘‡

  1. Possibility to Customize
  2. Find One That Adapts to Your Content Strategy
  3. Networking Tools
  4. Analytics & Reporting

1. Possibility to Customize ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ’ป

The platform you choose to host your event online must have the possibility of branding. This includes allowing you to customize the platform according to your brand’s color, including your logo, and more. That will make the event look more professional, and make the users feel connected to your brand.

2. Find One That Adapts to Your Content Strategy ๐Ÿ’ก

What’s your objective? Who’s your target? How will you communicate and advertise your event? What content will you create virtually? Will you broadcast the event live? Will you want the digital audience to participate? You should ask yourself these questions when choosing the platform you’ll use for your hybrid event.

3. Networking Tools ๐Ÿค

One of the greatest attributes of in-person events is the possibility to connect and network with colleagues, like-minded professionals, and experts. That’s why it’s important to emulate the networking experience virtually! Many hybrid event platforms have the necessary tools such as a live chatcomments, and adding friends to make the digital networking experience possible.

4. Analytics & Reporting ๐Ÿ“

It’s fundamental to have track user data available in the platform you’re using to create reports based on relevant metrics. That will help you determine whether or not hybrid events are successful. Also, you should make sure the platform you’re using has reporting features, such as the number of app users, and app user engagement.

These will also help to track all attendee actions related to sponsors! For example, some platforms allow event organizers to see who visited which sponsors virtual booths, to how they engaged and interacted with elements within a booth.

Best Platforms to Host Hybrid Events

  1. Brella
  2. Hopin
  3. Spot Me
  4. Swapcard

1. Brella

Brella has intent-driven intelligent matchmaking tools and features that help improve attendee satisfaction and engagement. With this platform, you’ll also be able to get sponsor monetization and automated workflows. To learn more about their plans and prices, you can contact their sales team!

2. Hopin

Hopin is an all-in-one event management platform that allows event organizers to build unforgettable interactive experiences, wherever their audience may be. Among its features, this platform offers the possibility to live stream, promote an event, and optimize the in-person experience.

This platform has five available plans. The Free plan allows up to 100 registrants, the Starter plan -which costs $99 per month and with which you can unlock all of the platform’s core features-, the Growth plan which costs $799 per month, and the Business and Enterprise plans for which the monthly price can be discussed.

If you pay the Starter or the Growth plan annually, you can save up to 15%.

3. Spot Me

With Spot Me, you can build virtual and hybrid events, transmit live shows, build customer communities, or learning programs and share them via mobile and web. This platform also offers organizers and users to customize and personalize features to fit their brand or community’s identity.

Among their engagement tools Spot Me has, there are Q&A, live polling, video breakout rooms, and one-on-one meetings. It also has networking features to promote conversation and discussion between the event’s attendees. These include an activity feed, private chats, the possibility to schedule meetings, and host webinars with video breakouts.

Spot Me has four available plans: the Starter pack, which includes up to 2 events (virtual, hybrid, or in-person), the Business pack, which includes up to 5 events, the Advanced pack, which includes up to 25 events, and the Enterprise pack which offers an unlimited amount of events.

4. Swapcard

Swapcard is a leading event experience platform. This platform powers all your event formats, including online, hybrid, and in-person. It also allows you to build a never-ending community. With solutions for registration, AI matchmaking, engagement, community, and more!

It has four plans available, and all of them provide the possibility to host unlimited events, a web and mobile event app, and access to all event features. However, the Free plan is destined for emerging communities with small events. The Starter plan costs $588 per month and is destined for event-based communities. The Premium plan costs $1,788 per month and is destined for all-in-one white-labeled marketing and corporate events and communities. Lastly, the price for the Entreprise plan is not defined and it can be discussed. It’s destined for conventions, tradeshows and complex setups.

10 Hybrid Event Ideas to Host a Successful Meeting

  1. Powerful Sponsor Opportunities
  2. Networking and Matchmaking Tool
  3. Engagement Tools
  4. Educate & Inform Attendees
  5. Experiment & Evaluate
  6. Detailed Analytics
  7. Sponsored Content
  8. Take the Technical Stuff Into Account
  9. Transition Times Between Meetings
  10. Event’s Content Plan

1. Powerful Sponsor Opportunities ๐Ÿ’ธ

While some might not agree at first, sponsors benefit greatly from hybrid events as they have not only one or two, but three opportunities to reach their target audiences, both online and offline.

Before the event, sponsors can connect with registered attendees who could be potential customers or clients. During the event, they can meet with the in-person attendees, and network virtually with those who’re connected online. And after the event, the virtual experience can continue longer than the in-person one!

2. Networking and Matchmaking Tool ๐Ÿค

In-person events are great for networking and getting to know people from the communities you belong to, but also to find partners to work with, and build great working teams. However, when choosing a hybrid kind of event you shouldn’t have to give up the possibility of networking. That’s why networking and matchmaking tools are essential for virtual attendees.

3. Engagement Tools ๐Ÿคณ

As we mentioned previously in this article, engagement is key for a successful event. That’s why you’ll need engagement tools to carry out a fun and interactive event. Each platform has different features, but they range from live polls to speaker Q&As! Make sure to check which tools each platform offers.

4. Educate & Inform Attendees ๐ŸŽŸ๏ธ

Attendee engagement was nearly 20% higher at events that created a clear communications plan versus those that didn’t. That’s why it’s essential to build a strategic communications plan that focuses on informing attendees about what they’ll find in the event. And what kind of event they will be attending.

5. Experiment & Evaluate ๐Ÿ’ก

If you’re carrying out your first hybrid event, it’s your time to experiment and try new things. One of the greatest things about these kinds of events is that there’s plenty of space for creativity, imagination, and experimentation.

6. Detailed Analytics ๐Ÿ“ˆ

In line with the previous items, to evaluate how your event went data, user metrics, and attendee-focused analytics are fundamental. Especially if you want to provide your sponsors some hard information about why your event worked, and why they should continue supporting you in following events.

7. Sponsored Content ๐Ÿ“ฃ

If you want to make your sponsors feel more involved with your project and the attendees, you could provide sponsored content to the people who are attending your event.

8. Take the Technical Stuff Into Account โš™๏ธ

When hosting a hybrid event or meeting, there is some technical stuff that’s important to take into account. These include making sure your and your attendees’ wi-fi is stable, getting into a proper environment with good lighting, good audio quality, and a clean background, and making sure to be using headphones and a microphone.

9. Transition Times Between Meetings โฒ๏ธ

Both physical and virtual attendees will need time between meetings to move around, go to the restroom, get some coffee, or connect with other people participating in the event. Offering people 5-10 minute breaks between meetings will help everyone have a little break and rest a bit between the next one.

10. Event’s Content Plan ๐Ÿ“ฒ

The content plan should focus on the three stages of your event: pre, during, and post-event. Before the beginning of your event, you should send your attendees an informative mail introducing them to the platform and some instructions about how to use and make the best of it!

Although this first email is essential, it’s important to continue communicating with your potential attendees and remind them to create their event profiles, connect with other participants, book the sessions they wish to attend, etc.

You can program push notifications on the platform’s app during the event to inform attendees of the upcoming sessions. And keep them updated on any changes or modifications to the event’s agenda. You can also participate in the event’s live chat to encourage attendees to network with other people.

After the event, you could send attendees a “Thank you for attending” email. You could also send them information on how to access on-demand content, and provide key takeaways on the sessions as a summary of the event.

If you’re a community builder and seeking to organize a successful hybrid event, there are plenty of communities and online groups waiting for you to join them. In these groups, you’ll be able to find more information about how to host virtual and in-person events, connect with other professionals, find support, inspiration, and feedback.

Victoria Mortimer

Victoria Mortimer

I'm a journalist with a Social Communication degree, community manager, and content creator with over five years of experience. Now, I'm working as an independent writer passionate about community building, entrepreneurship, and social media.