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Hybrid Events with Webex Events
Hybrid Events with Webex Events

Scale and engage like never before with hybrid events

Mahalia VanDeBerghe avatar
Written by Mahalia VanDeBerghe
Updated over a week ago

Hybrid events offer the best of both worlds — the inclusivity, increased reach, and continuous digital engagement of a virtual event, with the unique connection and immersion of the in-person experience.

Picture of the stage at a hybrid event. Cameras and video boards with remote presenters are visible.

What is a hybrid event?

A hybrid event has both in-person and digital elements that are tailored to each audience. For example, in-person attendees can attend a live session that's streaming simultaneously to a virtual audience. It's also possible to present sessions to virtual attendees as video on demand or simulive content. Hybrid events combine the benefits of a virtual event with the magic of an in-person event, creating an inclusive experience for a global audience.

Why should my event go hybrid?

  • Nurture inclusivity - Going hybrid opens your event to the entire world! 🌍 People who otherwise wouldn't be able to attend because of health, financial, or time constraints can be a part of your event from wherever they are. Live streaming not only opens up your in-person sessions to remote attendees — it also provides closed captions for everyone, including in-person attendees joining a stream from their mobile devices!

  • Build a larger community - A hybrid experience paves the way for continuous engagement before, during, and after the event. This lets you capture insights, interact with attendees, and surface sponsors all year long.

  • Expand sponsorship Return on Investment (ROI) - Hybrid events allow for both digital and in-person sponsorship opportunities. With the wide range of options, you're likely to attract even more sponsors! We'll show you how in our Showcase Sponsors article.

    Screenshot of the Sponsors feature on the Web App.
  • Expand your speaker list — Like attendees, some speakers may not be able to travel onsite. Allowing remote presentations can usher in talent that would otherwise not be able to participate.

What should I consider when planning a hybrid event?

To create a unified and inclusive event experience, you need to tailor it to the needs of both audiences. Adapting your content and experiences to the virtual space can be easier and more seamless than you think. Here are some considerations to help you plan:

  • Map your attendee journey - Map out all touchpoints, from the time your attendee registers until they receive your post-event survey. Pay special attention to what makes your event special! Do people come for the awesome networking opportunities? What about the curated exhibitors, the stellar training, or the sneak peek product demos of what's to come? Make sure both audiences get the full benefit.

  • Blend virtual and in-person sponsorship offerings - Build sponsorship packages with both audiences in mind. For example, sponsors at higher tiers can receive Lead Retrieval (for in-person), and also attendee call-to-action buttons in their sponsor profile (for virtual and in-person). Offer sponsored sessions, banner ads, splash screens, giveaways, notifications, game challenges, and more.

Screenshot showing a Sponsor profile for Miro in the Mobile App.
  • Plan staffing and resources - Making your event available in-person and virtually often requires additional planning, investment, and staffing. You may need more moderators to facilitate sessions, safety compliance solutions and personnel, tech resources, and an AV team.

  • Pricing - Some hybrid event organizers choose to discount their virtual tickets, particularly when they're first launching the virtual aspect of their event — and some don't! You know your audience and the value of your offerings best. Consider keeping virtual ticket costs lower to remain inclusive, and try to incentivize in-person attendance, too.

  • Gamify your event inclusively - The Event Game is a great way to engage both your virtual and in-person audience. Create one game with challenges that either audience can complete, or create a different game for each audience! If you only have one, make sure that both in-person and virtual attendees can complete all the challenges you create.

Screenshot of the Game feature's Game Rules & Rewards page on the Mobile App.
  • Rehearse and test - Have your presenters do a live stream test run at least a day before the event. Make sure they test with the same technology in the same space they'll use for the real deal. This helps minimize tech hiccups, ensures they know how to engage, and gets everyone on the same page. Have staff log in to the Event App on the Mobile App and web experience ahead of time to thoroughly test and make sure everything is working the way you want it to.

  • Build in breaks for virtual attendees - Keep in mind, virtual audiences may have more distractions around them. We recommend that you keep content short and targeted, and provide extra breaks for virtual participants.

  • Hire an all-star AV team - If you have live streams, be very picky about your AV team. This can make or break your event! You may find a team who's associated with your in-person venue or through references from other organizers. Gather references from previous customers, and we highly recommend that your selected team has experience with hybrid events. Refer to our article about preparing your hybrid event AV team for lots more tips!

    Animated GIF of someone viewing a live stream while answering a Poll and using the Q and A feature.
  • Personalize the experience — Use Groups to show attendees the content that's relevant to them based on whether they're an in-person or virtual attendee. Groups let you send personalized announcements, show or hide features and sessions, curate banner content, and more.

  • Use Video Rooms — Bring your virtual and in-person attendees closer together with virtual icebreaker, breakout, and networking rooms that any attendee can join. Planning an in-person cocktail hour or networking session? Set up a few iPad stands at the venue where in-person attendees can simply start talking to virtual attendees in a Video Room! 👋

  • Enhance with Live Display — Live Display isn't exclusively for in-person events! You can also use this as a "commercial" between sessions, or as a "Welcome" feature in the web experience. Live Display lets you easily highlight a connection leader board, hold a drawing, showcase Wall posts and the Event Game scoreboard, grant sponsors amazing visibility and branding opportunities, and more. Read our Live Display introduction article for details.

Animated GIF showing Sponsor logos and ads on a Live Display screen.

Additional resources

There's a lot to consider with a hybrid event, so here are some more resources we've collected to get you started:

If you want to find out how a hybrid event works in Webex Events, reach out to your Webex Events contact or click the button below to request a demo.

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