Eventbrite works with major online conference platforms and services so that you can easily take your conferences online. Not only will a hybrid conference connect you with virtual conference participants from around the world, but it will also create new networking opportunities for attendees as well as a much larger pool of potential customers.
Read on if you want to know what a hybrid meeting space is, how to engage your audience at a hybrid event, and how to market a hybrid conference. At Eventbrite, we have the platform to help you make it happen, plus hybrid conference examples and loads of checklists and other tools to make your conference a stand-out, not-to-be-missed global event.
What is a hybrid virtual conference?
The hybrid event format is becoming ever more popular for conferences. It offers both in-person and virtual options, enabled by audio and video livestreaming and recording. This means you can plan one event that has a much greater audience reach. This inclusive versatility increases your potential audience by including people who can’t attend in person, whether it be for travel or timezone constraints, or just personal choice.
That’s what event creator RECOUP from Peterborough in England is doing for their RECOUP Plastics Resource and Recycling Hybrid Conference 2022, which attracts a global audience representing the whole of the plastics recycling value chain. Participants who are unable to attend in person, for whatever reason, can participate in the talks and activities from a device and location of their own choosing on the Eventbrite platform.
How hybrid conferences attract global attendees
Here’s our list of ways that hybrid conferences can grow your global audience:
- Attendees from around the world who are unable to travel to the event for whatever reason can participate in hybrid conferences. Virtual events also allow people from underrepresented areas to attend and this type of inclusivity outcome can be especially relevant for events such as scientific conferences where research is shared across different cultures and languages. Translation, Auslan, and interpreting services can be incorporated into your hybrid event.
- For recorded events, attendees can watch meetings and talks at a time that suits them. This can attract people from other time zones.
- Reduced air travel means lower carbon emissions plus the reduced rubbish and waste from lower in-person attendance is attractive to many attendees.
- Hybrid event creators can harness global talent – speakers can present remotely to the in-person and online event so they don’t have to travel to the venue.
- A global audience can help to attract a whole new level of sponsors.
One Eventbrite creator who achieves all of this and more by offering in-person and virtual ticket options is the University Centre for Rural Health, headquartered in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales. Their conferences have been developed in response to a growing rural and regional workforce and the rural workforce crisis.
By offering free in-person and virtual event ticket options for their Physiotherapy Symposium on Eventbrite, they were able to attract sponsors from a broad range of regions, reduce the carbon footprint of their attendees, and reduce the waste generated from the event itself. Communicating with participants and keeping sponsors happy is easy with their event program, list of keynote speakers and sponsors’ logos all presented on their Eventbrite web page.
Hosting a virtual conference that engages an international audience
Attracting attendees from around the world is an important consideration in the planning stage of your conference. You want to attract a bigger audience, to reach people who have a greater interest in your event area and perhaps open up discussions for global benefits. Here are our tips for planning and hosting your hybrid conference.
Choose the right platform
- The right live streaming platform and suitable equipment and technology will save you time and effort.
- You can choose from a wide range of video hosting platforms to seamlessly integrate with Eventbrite. Platforms that are widely available and recognised across the world, including Zoom, Vimeo, Facebook Live, YouTube, and Twitch, will reach and attract your online audience, sell more tickets, and elevate the interactive experience for attendees.
- Choose the correct platform for your needs. Some platforms specialise in hosting professional sound-engineered events, such as live music streaming.
Timing is everything
- Although you can’t schedule your conference talks to please everyone, if you know where the majority of virtual attendees will be logging on from, then take this into consideration.
- Always state the time zone in your conference schedule to avoid any confusion.
Attracting a live audience for your in-person conference
Live audiences are still a crucial part of the atmosphere, excitement and engagement at conferences and seeing the real attendees can bring the event to life for the online participants. Use our tips below to attract in-person conference attendees.
Give in-person conference attendees the chance to mingle
People attending live events are looking for the experiences they’ve missed out on over the last couple of years. The opportunity to interact with other attendees can be a drawcard, so here’s a list of ways to include attendee mingling in your events:
- Start with icebreakers such as a cocktail hour or an informal meal at a local venue.
- Throughout your conference, you could offer sub-topic team meetings, customer or product success showcases, study groups, or expert panel focus groups. These smaller, more intimate break-out events encourage less formal discussions.
- Towards the end of a conference, when everyone is bursting with information and winding down, the networking opportunities don’t stop. You could hold an awards ceremony or tradeshow. Consider using Eventbrite’s multi-event scheduling to offer a range of events before and after the conference, such as field tours of the region or trade delegations with a purpose.
Appeal to live conference-goers with speaker interaction
Giving people the chance to interact with experts through meet-and-greets, live commenting and Q&A sessions will make them feel engaged. An expert discussion panel could focus on trying to solve a problem or share cutting-edge advancements in your sector. You could make the in-person experience more of a “VIP” event, with extra perks to go along with a higher price tag, making sure that attendees feel like they’re getting their money’s worth.
Make the live event immersive
To persuade attendees to come to the live event, provide immersive experiences that just can’t be recreated online. These could include:
- Ample food and refreshments, perhaps from a trendy local bakery, or a pop-up kombucha bar.
- Hands-on demonstrations or workshops. These take some planning and organisation, so in your call for presenters and event promotion include an invitation for attendees who can demonstrate their speciality.
- Entertainment from musicians, artists (eg for caricatures or a live mural, depending on your budget), a magician, or a comedian to break up heavy days of intense information exchange.
How do you engage the audience in a hybrid event?
The aim of a hybrid event is to capture the interest of both sets of audiences and encourage them to participate. We’ve talked to some event creators who’ve run amazing hybrid events and share their experiences with you below.
Keep hybrid conference sessions short
Consider shorter talks and presentations so that they appeal to the shorter attention spans of online attendees. The North-West Biotech Initiative did just that for their Inclusion in STEMM hybrid conference. With a target audience of millennials, they kept all of their sessions to 30 minutes or less and included regular networking breaks. They also offered closed captions over Zoom, for inclusivity.
Schedule interactive breaks
The Artificial Intelligence Initiative Regensberg did a similar thing for their Women in Data Science conference. By using short sessions and lots of breaks they kept both sets of audiences engaged. Breaks can be used for networking during the in-person conference and for break-out rooms or discussions for the online audience.
Restrict on-demand access
Although it’s an incentive to allow attendees to watch recorded talks at any time on-demand, you might not want to promise this immediately – perhaps make them available after a few days or weeks. If attendees know they can watch talks later the same day, they might be less engaged and may log off from the live event.
Eventbrite – bringing it all together in one easy-to-use tool
Hybrid, virtual and in-person conferences are all easy to run using Eventbrite’s conference management software. Sign up for free, easy-to-manage registration for in-person and online conferences of all sizes. We have all the capabilities to fit your business, conference, and event needs.