Event Planners Answer Questions about Hosting Hybrid Events (Q&A)

Jump below to see profiles on all Q&A event experts quoted in this article. Click on the links to listen to full interviews with each event professional featured.


Q: What do you think about virtual or hybrid events? Do you think there is more value to having guests in-person versus virtual? 


H: I love hybrid events! Would I like to listen to what's happening in the main session, of course I would. Do you have to trap me and pull me back with a hook and offer me m&ms? No, I have work to do like, it's okay, let me go back to my room. Or let me go to the pool and watch it on my iPad. So now I'm hybrid, but I'm still on site at your event. 

So you've got these hybrid people, you've got virtual and maybe you say, hey, you know what, you can't come to Chicago, we have a bunch of people coming together in Colorado. And that's a pod, and they're gonna watch the streaming session. And when we go to breaks, we meet with your pod and discuss. So now I'm having this whole other experience with my local group, let's say in Colorado, and yet you guys have the big event in Chicago, and you've got virtual, and you've got people at the pool in Chicago.

I mean, this is breaking open the dried hard ground that we have been living in with conferences forever.

So the norm I'm pushing against is, is it always better that somebody has to be at your event in person, you have to make them have to be in the room? No, I'm going to push against that and say it is better if you meet your audience where they are. And you've been missing this broad swath of people that maybe had to be home with kids or couldn't travel because their travel allowance was used up, or they broke a leg and they don't want to get on a plane? 


Q: What software would you suggest for live streaming an event, plus any tips for first time event videographers?


D: Zoom is really kind of the most in tune with the streaming because it can automatically teeter the bandwidth. Whereas, with YouTube, it's obviously the more prevalent platform, but it's actually a little more taxing on the streaming devices and everything. Because you can go kind of lower quality with YouTube when you're sending the signal out, but they still kind of want a pretty good bandwidth signal to start with.

And then the other nice thing about Zoom is if you're playing copyright music and stuff like that, Zoom, obviously, since they're not hosting anything doesn't really care about that.

Knowing what the event you're trying to cover is going to determine what equipment you're going to need. And then regardless of that event, you should still have at least one other person, if not a few more, because it's just gonna get so crazy, fast. And then that's when things get missed, which is, if you're a videographer, that's the last thing you want to really happen.


Q: Is there a specific feature on Zoom that you like to use for your larger, virtual events? 

Justin-Beattey,-director-of-the-MHAI Purplepass

J: Zoom breakout rooms! Like one of the neat things about the breakout rooms and Zoom is that when you're one of the main user, you can you can assign people to rooms. And then they get a link that pops up in the Zoom Room that says you've been invited to conference room, you can name it, whatever you want. They click OK. And it essentially takes them into a whole nother zoom meeting.

It just kind of teleports them over there, where they would be in a different room specific to that conversation. You actually have several of them going on at the same time where it would just be like a conference hall. 

That was the main selling feature for us. Because like I said, most of our trainings had small group work. And a lot of the other ones didn't offer us the ability to transition the way we wanted to in those situations.


Q: With a background in virtual events, how do you captive an audience on screen and keep them from tuning out?


M: So, obviously, the challenge is to make virtual events entertaining and engaging. So to make it more valuable, make it something that you'd actually tune into production, right. For me, the first I do, of course, is find celebrity, celebrity hosts, celebrity guests.

And part of it also is everybody's got Zoom fatigue so how do you do this without making it look just like zoom? For us as live event marketers, we're all about the set and creating a really cool environment, something that you can walk into, and engage with.

So there are challenges of doing that. We create kits, or packages and send them home to celebrities or people appearing virtually, because a lot of the talent and the influencers and the people that we have, the experts that we have, you can't really be recruited to their house or build something out to their library.


Q: For you, what makes a great hybrid event or experience? 


J: It really is a different mindset, a live environment is all about production and you might even produce some digital or virtual content as part of that production. Virtual event, or even a hybrid event is all about almost a broadcasting mindset. Like it's all about content and so you kind of flip that 80% networking 20% content of a live event into 80% content and 20% networking in a virtual event. And then looking forward, which is really the genesis of your question, hybrid has become this whole entire thing.

We've seen folks say, okay, my hybrid event is going to be partly live and partly virtual. And I'm going to smash those two things together. Well, that doesn't really make for great hybrid event. What makes for a great hybrid event is really finding kind of the core idea of the multi screen experience. And it just happens that we talked about multi screen in our business about being the TV and the phone. And the computer, well add life to that. That's almost the fourth screen now.

And so it's really how do you build an event that's engaging across all those areas, and really leveraging technology in such a way to augment the live aspect. That will determine the quality of your virtual event. 





Heather Mason
Founder and CEO of Caspian Agency 
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Daniel Hess
Founder of To Tony Productions
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Matthew Glass

SVP of Allied Global Marketing 
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Justin-Beattey,-director-of-the-MHAI Purplepass


Justin Beattey
Director of the MHAI Training Institute 
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John Capano

SVP of Client Development at Impact XM
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