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How to choose if your next event should be in-person, virtual or hybrid

How to choose if your event should be in person, virtual or hybrid

Planning events and meetings used to start with picking a venue. Today, that’s all changed. Now you have more choices – and weighing the pros and cons can be daunting.

Do you go completely virtual? Or do you return to in-person meetings? The third choice is hybrid, where you combine both experiences.

Consider these factors before making your decision.

Virtual Live Events: Broader reach

You don’t need to reserve hotel space or provide food and beverages. In virtual events, attendees simply join from their laptops or phones, extending your reach and boosting attendance. But, don’t think of this as another Teams or Zoom meeting. With thoughtful planning, the event can be a polished presentation that includes videos, graphics, live Q&A, and other interactive activities that keep your audience engaged.

By working with a well-equipped production partner (like Plum Media) that provides high-quality interactive livestreaming, you can turn that virtual meeting into a fun and memorable experience. Not only can we help you create video and graphics content, but we can also customize the event with your branding and other supporting material to showcase your message.

READ MORE: Video conferencing vs Livestreaming

In-Person Events: The one-on-one connection

There’s nothing quite like the in-person experience for a number of reasons. Participants often register to get exclusive access. Onstage presenters are able to gauge the audience’s reaction as they speak. And, let’s face it, networking at a cocktail reception is more fun in person. While virtual events try to recreate these scenarios, there’s nothing like human interaction at an exclusive, in-person event.

If you think an in-person event is right for you, consider these factors:

  • Your attendees’ experiences will be truly personal and engaging, but it will be exclusive and tied to a specific location.
  • You may need to limit audience size due to budget concerns.
  • Venues may have capacity limits for health and safety reasons.

There’s a reason in-person meetings are the traditional go-to option. Human connection at a well-planned event is a powerful motivator. If that’s your strategy, then consider a production partner who is highly skilled in staging memorable in-person events. Plum Media has more than two decades of experience at venues around the world.

READ MORE: How to pull off a successful corporate event

Hybrid Live Events: Best of both worlds

Hybrid events offer something for everyone: an in-person experience for those who enjoy that exclusive human connection, plus a virtual option for people who can’t attend due to scheduling conflicts or personal preferences.

In effect, you expand your reach from the ballroom to a broader audience by adding livestreaming.

The key to pulling it off requires an understanding of how to serve two audiences at once. It takes creativity, careful planning, and a very detailed run of show. Presenters on stage need to interact with the virtual audience as often as they do with people in the room. For example, Q&A sessions need to feature an equal number of questions – and face time – from each audience.

Breakout rooms also need to be covered virtually, and an experienced production partner will suggest ways to present the content and allow for real-time discussion.

In the end, you’ll know your hybrid event is successful when your attendance soars and post-event surveys reveal that attendees liked having the choice ¬whether to attended virtually or in-person.

READ MORE: See an example of a Hybrid Event in action