People across the country are getting antsy to get back into the socialization game. After months of isolation, social distancing, and without a full end in sight, the rise of hybrid events has skyrocketed. Hybrid group events are events hosted in an actual, physical place, but with the added twist of having a live and interactive audience online as well. These events work exceptionally well for those who are not in the red zone risk for COVID-19 to be there in person and for those who are at higher risk to have the opportunity to get together and have some fun virtually.
Hybrid Group Event Considerations
For large groups, a hybrid event can be the ideal solution for making sure everyone can attend. While organizing an in-person only event is familiar to most group leaders, it's important to ensure that both your in-house and virtual attendees have the most enjoyable experience possible. The two biggest differences that you’ll want to focus on are managing your digital components and unifying your hybrid group event.
Manage your Digital Components
First and foremost, choosing the proper platforms for your virtual component is key. It’s also paramount to ensure that the physical event location has the right accommodations to support your digital infrastructure.
Organizing your hybrid group event online will help set your event up for success. You’ll want to choose a platform that is flexible enough that you can set your event with both a physical and online location for your guests to opt into. You’ll also want to ensure that the platform you choose to organize with has features for handling all your other needs as well. For example, your physical event components may require waivers to be signed due to the pandemic, you may need to collect payments for the event, survey your guests about their needs, and more. The platform you choose should be able to handle all of these needs. This makes GroupTools the ideal platform for organizing your hybrid event.
Ensure Online Attendees Can Interact Too
With your event organized, the next software platform to choose is one for live streaming your event to your digital guests. This is a big one because if your remote attendees can only see and talk to the people in the room, they miss out on the whole experience by not having the ability to engage with other guests and presenters. The right software is the key to remediate this. For smaller hybrid group events, you can get away with technology such as Facebook Live, Skype, or Google Hangouts. For larger events, you might want to explore Zoom’s Pro or Business Tiers, Cisco WebEx, or INXPO. Each of these will allow your online folks to interact with each other as if they are in the same room.
Troubleshoot Before Guests Arrive
The last thing that you will want is to set everything up, only to find that there is a constant lag going on or spend most of your event schedule trying to troubleshoot. Don’t wing it and hope for the best. Set up your event a few hours, or even a day, beforehand to do a dry run. This gives you time to work through all the kinks before your guests start showing up.
Unify Your Event
For a hybrid event, you will want to make sure that it is something both physical and remote group members can equally enjoy.
Don’t inadvertently Ignore the Online Folks
Out of sight, out of mind does not work for this scenario. During a hybrid event, it can be easy to focus on the people in the room with you and essentially forget that there are people remoting in as well. As the host, make sure to frequently acknowledge the attendees who are not physically there, so they feel included and not like a fly on the wall. Ask them questions, include them in conversations, etc. because doing the opposite, even by accident, can really turn down the mood for them.
The need for human connection and life fulfillment grows as each day passes during this pandemic. Though there may still be tight regulations, even with the government loosening their grip, a sure-fire way to give all your group members a much-needed dose of socialization relief is by hosting hybrid group events. Whether you have done them before or are trying to set one up for the first time, or you’re a pro at hybrid hosting, let GroupTools help you to #GroupForward.
#GroupForward with GroupTools
When you organize your event with GroupTools, you can be confident that you are setting up a wonderful event for people on both sides of the screen and giving them that much-needed connection that they have been longing for since the start of 2020. With a robust suite of features packaged in one easy to use platform, GroupTools is the ideal solution for all of your group event planning needs. Visit GroupTools.com to learn more or jump right into your planning by registering or logging in today.