It’s taken a little while for the virtual world to connect with the in-person world, but it’s finally happened. Hybrid events have arrived! Just check out the 2021 Golden Globes — that was an “in-person audience mixed with virtual presenters” if we’ve ever seen one before.
But the hybrid world is moving fast. So to help bring everyone up to speed, we’ve compiled all our hybrid event writings in one place. Below you’ll find descriptions of real hybrid events, GIFs, pics, videos, and, of course, plenty of links to more Expo articles.
We recently took a deep dive into the world of hybrid events during our virtual event — How Hybrid: The Mysteries Unraveled. We sat down with industry pros including event producers, event tech specialists, and venue planners; and talked about what works in the hybrid world, what doesn’t, and how to be ready. A replay of this event is available here.
Now, on to the article!
There’s tons of ways to go hybrid!
A hybrid event is where the virtual world meets the in-person world, and there are many different ways to make this happen. The WWE went hybrid by putting the audience in the bleachers, on screens, so that the wrestlers (in person) could wrestle, and still feel the energy of the crowd. For non-wrestling events, like a hybrid conference at the Fairmont, in Austin, audience members will likely be spaced out in-person, alongside screens at the front of the room to display either presenters, more audience members, or visual aids. Another hybrid example is the 2020 Tech In Asia Conference, which combined a small in-person audience, live streams, in person hosts, and some fantastic graphics to accompany virtual streaming.
For more info about ways to go hybrid, check out: How to go hybrid: Fun and engaging ideas for your next hybrid event.
Venues are here and ready to help.
Venues across the country have spent months crafting plans to host safer, easier, and more connected hybrid events. One of our favorites, Bespoke venues in San Francisco, pictured above, finds the perfect balance of a laid-back lounge space, a small stage, and functional LED screens. Larger venues, such as the TCF Center in Detroit, offer an 8,000 square foot convention hall, multiple 1000 square foot breakout rooms, and even extended reality technology (like what was used to film the Mandalorian). If you’re looking for variety, the Orange County Convention Executive Studio houses three unique hybrid spaces; a lecture hall, a 35,000 square foot amphitheater, and a sleek meeting lounge – all of which feature virtual broadcast technology. Another good thing to note here is that every venue we’ve researched has extensive plans for sanitizing, social distancing, and keeping everyone safe during hybrid events.
For more venue info, check out: 6 unique hybrid event venues worth checking out.
Hybrid means all new ways to meet!
Meet in-person, meet virtually, or meet in-person attendees while you attend virtually, or vice-a-versa. Still with us? Here’s a bit about the ways people can communicate at hybrid events. Hilton Hotel’s EventReady program offers comfortable, socially distanced spaces, with tasteful screens and stages that put both virtual and in-person attendees eye to eye. Hilton’s EventReady also mixes in plenty of outdoor meeting options (which we think will be a hit in the summer). Sundance Film festival launched a VR program which allowed people to attend screenings and movie theaters as 3D avatars. While costly, VR, or anything that allows people to explore a space (other than their couch) will be integral to the success of hybrid events. If you’re looking for an easy way to connect with virtual attendees, check out the Wanda Vision launch event. For this event the creators and stars of the show brought random fans into the Zoom to say hello. No matter where people are, the hybrid world has a way for them to connect.
For more info about communication at hybrid events, check out: How to spark real conversation at your next virtual or hybrid event
Hybrid events will make tons of awesome content!
With the cameras always rolling at your hybrid event, you’ll be able to capture plenty of unique in-person and virtual content. This year’s Vans Digital Triple Crown of Surfing contest was made possible by surfers recording their own footage during a 4 week period in Hawaii, and then combining all of that content into a live award show. Alicia Keys’ SoulCare event combined live performance, in-person interviews, and Zoom interviews, to create a relaxing musical journey. We’d be remiss to point out that with people still attending virtually — that means that cats (and other pets) will be around. And if animals are in the picture, we can guarantee good content will happen. Bottom line, there will be lots of cameras at hybrid events; in people’s pockets, at the venue, and on their laptops. Make a plan to bring together all that footage to share with your community.
For more info about creating content, check out: Creating next level content with your event.
The future is most likely hybrid (at least for a while).
Nothing beats in-person events, but the ability to stream or attend events virtually is part of who we are now. We don’t know if there will always be virtual stadium seats at sporting events, or cameras in every conference room. Or if after a while we won’t want to look at screens anymore. Maybe holograms will replace screens. Maybe VR will take over eventually. Whatever happens, we do know that the best way to reach as many people as possible right now is with a combination of virtual and in-person options. So, Hybrid it is.