I’d like to tell you a story about hybrid events. Let’s start by introducing you to our story’s heroine.
Meet Janet. Janet is an executive at ACME who puts together all of their events. Janet has been told to create a hybrid event. While she has planned and hosted in-person events, as well as virtual events, she has not planned a hybrid event. There are a million and one ideas about what hybrid means and another million and one tech requirements to execute those ideas. It’s no surprise that she’s feeling a little overwhelmed.
So, Janet decided to take a step back and layout what she liked from the virtual experience. First, the connections between attendees, specifically the ability to connect people that have never met before in a non-awkward way. On that same note, she liked the attendee to speaker engagement. They could chat directly with the speakers, and if the session was simu-live, have their questions answered immediately (no cramped Q&A at the end). During the keynote and breakout sessions she could create so much more audience engagement, whether it was live chat, polling, or real-time brainstorming. Finally, Janet was able to measure everything she needed to prove that she met her event goals—something she was never able to do before. In some cases, she was even able to use this robust data collection to make real-time changes to her event, repeating popular sessions, driving traffic to the best rated experiences, and spotting and fixing experiences that weren’t hitting the mark. Oh, and let’s not forget that with virtual events, she was able to reach a much larger audience, growing her business reach.
Next, Janet wanted to figure out what elements of the in-person experience she liked best. Number one for her was networking, specifically the wine and dine, get tipsy and make a new best friend, kind of networking. She liked the exhibit hall and the value that her exhibitors and sponsors got from it. It’s a format that people are familiar with, which made it easier for her to sell sponsorship packages. She misses the serendipitous connections in those between moments, walking down the hall, bumping into someone at the bar, striking up a conversation with the person sitting next to you. And finally, Janet loved that sense of place that was so easy to establish at in-person events—that feeling that you were part of something different and special and larger than yourself.
Now that Janet has this list of her favorite things, she can start to plan a hybrid event that incorporates all of them into a unified experience. And this is what we at Hubb believe a hybrid event should be—a seamless experience that pairs the cost efficiencies and expanded outreach of virtual with the valuable networking of in-person. An experience where an attendee can easily move back and forth between the digital and in-person venues. And with Hubb, you have a single platform to not only plan and manage this event, but to deliver a connected, omnichannel experience to your audience, regardless of where they are.
And because Janet can deliver this omnichannel experience, she has a variety of opportunities to create business value as well as sponsor value. She can sell different levels of tickets—in-person only, digital only, or even a remote in-person experience. The same goes for her sponsors. She can sell them an in-person booth along with thought leadership sessions for the digital audience. Finally, all of this is backed by a single repository of data that integrates into her marketing and crm software. If there was a track or speaker that was popular, she can create a nurture email campaign or even spin up a mini-event the next month. All of this allows Janet to continue to engage with the community she has created, keeping those leads warm and driving a steady stream of business.
So, when Janet is asked, “What’s next?” she can answer—an omnichannel experience that ties in the best elements of in-person and digital events to drive business value and extend the event lifecycle. Oh, and if you want to watch Josh tell the story himself, click play on the video below.