In this week’s Event Tech Podcast episode, Will and Brandt discuss Peloton because, as it turns out, their workouts make for a great hybrid event case study. They claim that event planners should take note. After all, the world-famous exercise equipment company has managed to grow a strong community through its content delivery, social media presence, and audience engagement.
Brandt admits that he never thought of Peloton content as a hybrid event case study. But in this episode, he admits that Peloton indeed ticks off all the hybrid event boxes. They talk about the technology, production, content, diversity, and gamification aspects of Peloton. Even if you do not own a Peloton, this episode is well worth a listen. It just might inspire your hybrid event planning process.
Why Peloton Can Do Hybrid Events, And You Can’t
First, Brandt explains how Peloton works and why it makes for a great hybrid event case study. “You’re on an exercise bike and you’re able to go to on-demand classes (asynchronous hybrid events) or live classes. When you’re part of the live class as an at-home participant, you’re working just as hard as everyone in the room. Peloton has a live studio with real people in the room and they’re creating connections between you, the person at home, and them, the people in the room. The instructor is calling out in-person and online participants, giving shoutouts. The two audiences do not have the same experience, but they have an equal footing.
High Production Value
Hybrid event production is no easy feat, but Peloton has mastered all that Brandt and Will advise. “These are hybrid event studios with full lighting, multiple camera angles, moving cameras, and tally lights. That’s what keeps you interested and engaged as a participant.”
“The audience can do their audio mix,” Will adds. “You can choose to have more music or more instructor. You can turn it up or turn it down.”
Will also loves Peloton’s sets. “One of them had mirrors in the background. When the camera was looking up, you could see the silhouettes of people biking inside the studio. They never do shots where they cut to the audience bike. You don’t go to like John who’s over there and he’s sweating his butt off and you know, highlight on him. They’re always focused on the instructor. Now, they have a great new studio with a colorful flat background. It looks beautiful.”
Diverse & Inclusive Content
What can make or break a hybrid event is also content delivery. Peloton’s various instructors have strong personalities – as should event speakers. “Someone can be the best subject matter expert, but the actual knowledge will only carry you so far. What matters is how the speaker relates to the audience,” says Brandt.
“And there is tremendous diversity in race and gender. There are also many music genres to choose from. So not only the stereotypical diversity and inclusion but a diversity of thought and style as well,” he adds.
Peloton also excels as a hybrid event case study because of the diversity of content. “They started with Peloton the bike, but have expanded into offering other types of classes, from running, stretching, strength training, yoga, and more.”
And as Peloton neatly demonstrates, inclusion leads to accessibility. “If you happen to be pregnant or an amputee, you are still included. And it’s not an afterthought. They thought of this ahead. Event planners, too, should be thinking about all of the different types of attendees rather than waiting for someone to contact them with a request on a form somewhere that says I need special considerations for something,” adds Brandt.
Building A Powerful Online Community
It is precisely the diversity of content and inclusion that makes Peloton such a great example of an online community. “Peloton is not just a bike, but an ecosystem. And a lot of event planners should take note of that. Attendees can start by going to the event and end up coming to your webinars, networking groups, and masterminds,” says Will.
Brandt adds that people within the community connect via hashtags. “For example, there are event professionals on Peloton with their hashtags. They start to come together and build a tribe.”
Good Onboarding Leads To Higher Retention Rates
An essential aspect of a successful hybrid event is also onboarding attendees and explaining how the event works. Peloton never makes their participants feel like they’ve been dropped into something confusing. Will says they do a great job of explaining how to get started. “You never, in any way, feel inadequate. And translating that to events, entry-level attendees can find event networking confusing, for example. They just put you in a room, give you free drinks, and tell you to go network,” he says.
A Hybrid Event Case Study That Mastered Gamification
Peloton is a great hybrid event case study because it has mastered the art of gamification. “They have a leaderboard that participants can filter by friends or similar age range. You can also high-five people by tapping on their face or video chat with your Peloton friends,” says Will.
“And that’s a great example of creating connections between the two different hybrid event audiences,” agrees Brandt.
Peloton attendees choose to what extent they want to participate with others. They can control their experience in a way that’s most beneficial to them. It’s all opt-in. “You can go on the bike and just ignore everybody. You can hide the leaderboard and the high fives,” says Will.
“I love their achievement system, the badges,” he adds. “They give you a badge after your first and your 100th ride, for example. Once you hit 100 rides, they send you a shirt. Why don’t event platforms give badges? People would wear them with pride.”
Building Your Schedules & Stacks
Peloton also allows attendees to schedule classes. “You can also send a link to your friends and let them know which workout you’re doing and when. But I do wish the Peloton app could integrate with my calendar.”
Additionally, the app enables users to build stacks of workouts. “You can do a warmup ride, the main ride, and a cool-down ride. When one class is done, you can continue to the other. There are some huge opportunities for event platforms and event profs there to think about. Even if it’s on-demand and not live, you need to make it so I can keep watching like I would on Netflix. That way, I can consume even more content.”
Peloton As A Hybrid Event Case Study
If you’re an event planner who owns a Peloton, make sure to pay attention to their production value, content delivery, and community-building skills. Peloton also teaches event planners to look at their attendees and make sure that every single one of them feels included and considered. Add a sprinkle of gamification to the mix, and you’re on a great way to mastering the art of planning successful hybrid events.
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