The Return of Live Events Part 2

In this blog series we are reviewing the return to live events in a post-pandemic world. In part 1, we discussed steps to take to create a safe event during COVID-19. Because of the pandemic, attendees might not feel comfortable with traveling or even attending a live event.  So- how do event planners maximize meeting attendance during a pandemic?  One way is to engage attendees who have different levels of comfort by hosting a hybrid event.  

What is a hybrid event?

Event Tech Group describes a hybrid event as “one event with two experiences.” Hybrid events include a virtual and live, in-person event platform.  Conferences, trade shows, concerts and small meetings can all use the hybrid model.  

Because of COVID-19 there are restrictions as to how many attendees can join a conference.  According to MeetingPlay, there are many benefits of a hybrid meeting including: the ability to allow for proper social distancing, the ability to reach large audiences regardless of geography, and the ability to provide users with an optimized experience that also yields valuable data. 

The bottom line- hybrid meetings and events allow planners to maximize their audience by giving attendees the option of participating in a meeting, conference, or event virtually or in-person.  Now that we know what a hybrid event is, how do we plan one?

How to plan a hybrid event.

As a meeting planner, one of the biggest challenges with a hybrid event is the extra level of engagement. You will need to engage both your in-person and virtual attendees and find a balance that will allow both groups to be involved.  Meeting Planners International has a 6-step strategy to plan a hybrid event.

  1. Define meeting objectives.
  2. Consider social, technological, political, internal factors and trends.
  3. Develop a budget and business case.
  4. Determine how you will measure success.
  5. Analyze your audience.
  6. Outline your event execution strategy.

Once you have defined your strategy, MPI has a 9-step plan to put your hybrid event together.

  1. Pre-Event Marketing.
  2. Content Design
  3. Digital Communications
  4. Speaker Selection and Briefing
  5. Engagement
  6. Key Hybrid Team Roles
  7. Vendor Selection
  8. Security/Data Privacy
  9. Metrics and Reporting

Like any conference it is important to make sure you create an environment that attendees will want to participate in, regardless of how they are joining the meeting.


Hotels and Hybrid Events

Hotels have unique capabilities to host seamless hybrid events due to their space and their knack for technology. Many hotels have increased their hybrid meeting options.  

Hilton Hotels created an EventReady Hybrid Solutions playbook to guide planners with hosting a hybrid event at Hilton properties.  This playbook discusses the proper technology to use for the virtual component as well as safety measures for those attending in person. The Hilton Event Ready Playbook also offers great tips in making sure virtual and in-person attendees can stay engaged in the conference.


The Future of Events

Hybrid events are becoming the new normal.  The pandemic has forced us to be creative to ensure we can meet safely.  Hybrid events and meetings allow for increased attendance and participation to conferences, meetings, and events by creating two formats to attend.  It is important to utilize an effective strategy to connect with attendees for a safe, successful, and engaging event.


DigiTHERM is here to assist you in finding the right health-safe solution to keep your staff and attendees safe. DigiTHERM offers automated temperature checking stations and a hands free COVID-19 Questionnaire via Safe-Trace Screening that would enhance your safety measures at any event. Please reach out if we can help you with your next safe event!