After turning our 2,000-plus attendee annual Boot Camp into a successful hybrid event, we learned so many valuable lessons. Use our top 10 lessons to ensure your next hybrid event is flawless.
1. ENGAGEMENT is priority one.
A passive livestream will not cut it. Your staff needs to be active in the chats to attract attendee comments and questions.
2. NEVER have ‘dead airtime.’
Your audience paid good money to attend virtually and needs to be educated and engaged every minute. After our main presentations, we immediately cut over to the “Jeff & Mike Show,” where they interviewed MSPs, answered audience questions, and even ran contests. Between sessions is also the perfect opportunity to feature sponsor commercials.
3. ALWAYS have a customer service team DEDICATED to the virtual attendees.
Virtual attendees are too often neglected. Depending on the size of your event, you’ll need multiple people managing chat and fielding questions from virtual attendees.
4. ALWAYS have a team member actively LOOKING for any ‘Un-Wows’ on the virtual side.
At Boot Camp, Robin (inadvertently) wore this important hat. When not presenting, she would jump on the platform and scrutinize everything: chat. Sponsor booths. Video quality. The more you have someone take this role, the more “wows” and virtual high-fives you’ll get.
5. PRENEGOTIATE hardwired internet separate from your attendee Wi-Fi.
Streaming multiple breakout sessions at once combined with the necessity of Wi-Fi for in-person attendees can get expensive fast. Connect with our team, and we can consult with you on how to get more bang for less buck.
6. ALWAYS have a SEPARATE platform training session for virtual sponsors.
In this dedicated training, make sure you go over the specific times when they should be in their virtual booth, how badge scanning works, and how to better engage attendees. You’ll be surprised just how many opportunities sponsors will have in a well-run virtual booth!
7. SEPARATE instructions for in-person attendees and virtual attendees.
To avoid confusion and also make your virtual attendees feel like they are an important part of your hybrid event, ensure all of your communication speaks only to them.
8. ALWAYS have specific booth hours for your virtual exhibitor hall and make sure booths are staffed.
Be sure to carve out specific times for your virtual trade show to be open. Your exhibitors will be more engaged and alert, keeping your attendees happy and getting the best ROI for your sponsors!
9. LIMIT the tech to ONE platform.
Multiple platforms invite multiple problems. More things can break, and there are more bills to pay. That’s why we have a mobile app tied to our virtual event platform. All administration is in one single place.
10. ALWAYS have a virtual component to your events moving forward or EXPECT to lose a lot of money and engagement.
2020 was a giant wake-up call! First, you never know what could shut down your in-person event. A riot. A gas leak. A hotel fire. Last year, ALL of us were caught flat-footed. But we should never let it happen again.
People today want and expect a virtual component. Turning your in-person event into a hybrid event invites far more ticket sales and more sponsorship opportunities. Follow these 10 critical lessons, and your next hybrid event might just be your best event.