By the time December 2020 rolls around, it will have almost been a year since the coronavirus pandemic started. While a lot has changed in that time, the desire to be close to others and celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small, is still going strong. While hosting a holiday event is far different this year than in previous seasons, it is still possible. How? With a hybrid event.
What is a Hybrid Event?
Typically, events are hosted in-person. However, because that is no longer safe for larger groups, many activities and parties have shifted to an online platform. A hybrid event is a blending of the two concepts for a fully immersive experience for all attendees. Whether someone chooses to come to the venue or log in virtually, the event is similar for both individuals.
In years past, a hybrid event meant live-streaming the activities so that people could watch in real-time from other locations. Usually, this was done for big corporate events that have offices around the country or the world. Today, hybrid events are an excellent opportunity for groups and organizations of all sizes to get together safely and still have a great experience.
Benefits of Hosting a Hybrid Event
Beyond the obvious benefit of allowing guests to interact safely, there are actually a few other tangible benefits of hosting a hybrid event. If you’ve been wondering whether to have a holiday party or a similar get-together this year, here are a few reasons why it pays to go hybrid.
- Lower Cost – Because you will have fewer in-person attendees, you don’t have to spring for a massive venue. You can also save money on various peripheral items, such as catering, decor, and live entertainment.
- Broader Reach – Normally, an event can only be as big as the venue space allows. However, now that you’re taking the party online, anyone can join and participate. Companies can host individuals from multiple offices, families can reach out from across the country, and everyone will feel just as connected.
- Post-Event Recordings – Unless you have a professional photographer or photo booth at an event, chances are that no one is recording the whole thing. With a hybrid event, however, you can keep a copy of the activities so that others can view it later on. This option will also allow you to cut a highlight reel, which can make the event even more memorable.
Tips for Hosting a Hybrid Event
Since the pandemic has forced everyone to re-evaluate what it means to be “normal,” we’ve all had to adapt to our changing environment. If you are interested in hosting a hybrid event, it helps to keep these considerations in mind. Better yet, you can call The Party Team to assist you with planning and execution for more professional results.
Design Around the Virtual Experience
One of the primary advantages of having an in-person event is that you can have multiple activities running at the same time. Guests can mingle, walk around, and check out the different entertainment options at their leisure. With a hybrid event, however, you have to be much more strategic when developing your itinerary. The best way to ensure a smooth execution is to plan around the virtual experience first. For that, you will want to keep activities short (within an hour or less) and decide whether the virtual audience can only watch or participate as well.
Overall, if you build an excellent virtual event, it will be easier to make it work for those who attend in-person. It can be much more challenging to plan the event vice-versa.
Test Technology Ahead of Time
Depending on the size and scope of your hybrid event, you may need to utilize multiple pieces of technology. For example, you might be able to broadcast the event on a social platform like YouTube and Facebook. However, if you want your guests to interact with each other, you will need a program like Zoom that allows talking and video chatting.
Once you decide on the software elements, we highly recommend doing a rehearsal ahead of time. If you can do it in the venue space, that would be even better so that you can determine the layout more effectively. Regardless of what you choose, be sure to consider sound. How will guests be able to hear what’s going on? How will a host or MC be able to hear online viewers? If necessary, you might have to bring mics and audio equipment for a more comprehensive experience.
Utilize a Captivating Host or Emcee
While many larger events will have a host that announces various activities and scheduling elements (i.e., when dinner is served), having one is crucial for a hybrid event. A host or emcee will be able to move things along quickly and efficiently and ensure that those viewing at home will stay engaged and entertained. Since you don’t have the luxury of allowing guests to mingle and chat amongst themselves, you have to capture their attention in creative ways.
Have Interactive Activities for Online and In-Person Groups
Watching a live broadcast online can be fun for various activities, such as sports or scripted entertainment. However, for a regular party, it can get dull quickly. One of the best ways to engage the online audience is to offer virtual interactive games. Some examples can include:
- Trivia – Guests will answer questions on their phones for points, which can turn into prizes.
- Bingo – Everyone loves bingo! Viewers at home can print cards or use digital versions to keep up with the action.
- Game Show – Options like Family Feud or Jeopardy are always fun to watch, even for those who aren’t participating.
Examples of Hybrid Events
At first, a hybrid event may seem like something that will only work in specific situations. However, with the right planning and execution, virtually any party can be hybridized. Here are some examples to spur your creativity.
- Holiday Parties – Celebrate in style with costumed events, holiday-themed games, and festive virtual backgrounds!
- Corporate Galas – Show appreciation for your employees or show off new products or services. Hybrid events also work well for conferences and multi-day events.
- Fundraisers – Raise money both in-person and online! Fortunately, many games and activities can be customized to allow for fundraising opportunities.
- Weddings – Share your special day with guests who can’t participate in person. A wedding reception is a perfect excuse for a live-streamed event, and you can host interactive online games for the reception!
- Grad Nights – If school is online, why not grad nights as well? Students are already adept at technology, so incorporating it into a party will be relatively easy.
Contact The Party Team Today!
Hybrid events can seem overwhelming at first, but they are an excellent opportunity for having fun! The Party Team can assist you with planning and execution for a night to remember! Call us today to find out what options we have available for you!