If you ask three people what picture comes to mind when they think of a conference venue, chances are they’ll mention something like a hotel ballroom or convention center. These locations have essentially become the expected go-to for event planners. And it makes sense why. These are among the few spaces large enough for organizations to host gatherings of hundreds, sometimes thousands, of people.
The next event you produce will most likely be hybrid. As a result, you will need to think differently about where it will take place, and more importantly, you may need to rethink who you hire to produce it.
Why Hybrid Events Are Different Than In-Person Events
Increasingly, virtual attendees outnumber in-person attendees at hybrid events. For this reason, it’s to your advantage to plan and invest differently than you may have before. There are several considerations to make when planning a hybrid event versus an all-in-person one. The most important is this: you’re preparing for a broadcast, not a static event.
Traditionally, event planners have had to design events around a space. To drum up energy and convey a specific theme, staging, decor, and square footage mattered most. With hybrid events, what’s not seen matters most. Think about the last time you turned on your webcam to join a meeting virtually. Did you adjust your camera or computer to avoid showing a distracting or messy background to all your colleagues? When planning for hybrid events, you should employ this same kind of thinking. And it’s to your advantage.
Consider Changing Up Your Traditional Venue to Accommodate a Hybrid Event
Hybrid Events Save Money on Venue Costs
Fewer in-person attendees mean less space needed. Less space often translates into reduced costs. With a hybrid event, even a relatively small room can suffice. This opens up a world of possibilities when selecting a venue.
You Can Use Less While Still Making Your Event Look Elaborate
Instead of the old way of thinking, you can now select a venue based on your theme or objective. avad3 recently produced a hybrid event at an airport hangar that was extremely effective. The setting fit the subject matter, so our client didn’t have to mask distracting decor or bring in an elaborate set. They got a more elaborate set with the scene itself. And in the end, they saved money by using fewer materials.
Hybrid Events Improve Participation and Engagement
Virtual attendees have more opportunities for distraction and a lower barrier to disengagement. If a virtual meeting isn’t compelling for one reason or another, it’s easy to step away or turn it off altogether. A more interesting venue leads to better engagement among your virtual viewership. When a scene comes alive on-screen, virtual attendees feel more involved and want to be present; this is especially true if they are engaging with live attendees.
With Hybrid Events, Broadcast is Now Your Top Priority
When planning a hybrid event, the broadcast becomes the primary purpose. You’re no longer producing an event, you’re producing a live broadcast. Understanding this distinction is critical. Here are some other things to remember:
Why Your Virtual Audience is the Priority…
If you’re offering employees the option to join an event remotely, they need to feel like valued participants, not an afterthought. Production plans have to keep this in mind every step of the way. Ask yourself; “How would this look or feel if I were watching at home on my computer?”
Think of Your Venue as a Studio
Hybrid events have a different energy about them. The in-person attendees become a live studio audience as presenters look to the camera and address virtual attendees. Attendees should feel like they’re part of something, not just at something.
Why Access to Reliable Technology is Critical
Hybrid events only function when a reliable internet connection is in place. Though this may seem obvious, it’s something that must be thought through – and tested – prior to securing a venue.
Hire a Vendor Experienced in Producing Hybrid Events
With hybrid events, the stakes are higher for the production team. Virtual attendees have little patience for technical errors, and pulling this off is harder than many people realize. When we produce hybrid events, we design a “watch party” room and encourage our clients to staff it with chat moderators who serve as ambassadors to the home audience. This team also sits near the production control room where any issues can be addressed quickly and quietly.
An Experienced Production Company Matters
Selecting the right venue can be a daunting task, especially if you’re new to assessing fit for a hybrid event. Though the differences between traditional and hybrid venues may seem minimal on the surface, they are in fact numerous, and oftentimes nuanced. From quality sound to thoughtful lighting design, there are factors that matter more when planning a hybrid event. Trusting all of these factors to the right production company could make the process exponentially easier (and more professional). Livestream equipment, staging, framing, cost, and quality of certain details are things that can be discussed on a brief 15-to-20-minute call with the right company.
It’s an exciting time to be in the event production industry. New and diverse venues are changing the perception of what’s possible to produce. When experts are behind the camera, they should be focused on bringing to life what’s in front of the camera so your event will be engaging, however, and wherever people choose to attend.