Just two years ago, a hybrid event was nearly synonymous with a live-streamed in-person event. Most planners didn’t even hear of them prior to 2020! But today, this perfect blend of face-to-face and digital experiences is considered one of the biggest event trends in 2022.
A ‘hybrid event’ is quite an umbrella term. Depending on the venue and the size of in-person and virtual audiences, these experiences can take many forms. In our e-book, The Road To Hybrid: A Guide To Models, Method & Mindset, we’ve divided them into four groups, also known as hybrid event models, and considered their characteristics. Choosing one over the other will depend on your event’s goals and your overall event strategy.
Today, we’ll dive deep into the reasons why you should produce your hybrid event in a studio. We call such an event ‘the Star’. This venue can host a smaller amount of attendees (typically 10-50) who enjoy a VIP, behind-the-scenes experience. The rest of the audience tunes in virtually. Hybrid event studios are perfect for product launches, educational and entertaining sessions, marketing purposes, times of uncertainty, and much more!
Hybrid Event Studios Offer High Production Value
No other hybrid event model comes close to the Star as far as the production quality is concerned. And production matters! For the last two years, virtual audience expectations have been consistently rising. Once a virtual attendee feels bored and stops watching the live stream, there’s very little you can do to bring them back. The best you can do is produce an event that attendees will want to watch until the end. For inspiration, think of Apple Special Events.
High production value will enhance the viewing experience for your virtual attendees. We’ve talked about all the AV equipment you’ll need in our blog post about hybrid event production. Here’s the gist of it: you can play with various camera angles, crane shots, enhanced lighting, and exciting backdrops.
Virtual sets and LED walls are often the focal points of a hybrid event studio. You can have your speakers present against any kind of backdrop you can think of. Match the background with your branding colors, show off amazing graphics, or have your presenters speak to your audience from space – even the sky is not the limit!
As we’ve established so far, studio-produced events are some real eye candy. They’re much more interesting and entertaining to watch than Zoom webinars or live streams from hotel ballrooms. Therefore, they are great for repurposing! Repurposing event content is nothing new in the events industry, but it’s only become more common since the boom of virtual events. Additionally, streaming services have changed the ways we consume content. Everything needs to be on-demand, and that includes your event content.
Not only can you use live session recordings and make them available to your community through your chosen event platform, but you can also pre-record content in a hybrid event studio. Both pre-recorded and live come with their own set of pros and cons; choosing one over the other depends on your goals and objectives. If you want to produce some evergreen content, it’s best you book a hybrid event studio.
COVID-19 Compliance: Lower Budget & Liability
As far as venues are concerned, a hybrid event studio is currently the safest and cheapest way to implement COVID-19 compliance. Mostly because of the limited number of in-person attendees, but also because there’s not as much onsite staff necessary to produce it.
Event planners who want to reduce the risk of liability related to COVID-19 should consider moving their hybrid event into a studio. And by doing so, they also save money on their COVID-19 compliance package.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made long-term event planning much more difficult, especially in-person events. If there’s anything we’ve recently learned from strategizing in times of Omicron, it’s that we can never know when mass cancellations might hit – again.
Producing your hybrid event in a studio is a safe bet in these uncertain times. As discussed above, the in-person audience is small and there’s less onsite staff necessary to execute it. If event planners are forced to pivot to virtual at the very last minute, it’s easiest to do so with this particular hybrid event model.
Virtual Audience Engagement Galore
Virtual audience engagement remains one of the biggest pain points for hybrid and virtual event planners. While it’s definitely not an easy task to alleviate them, a hybrid event studio offers fantastic solutions for higher engagement. Virtual attendees often feel like the forgotten, second-class audience. However, that doesn’t need to be the case. In a hybrid event studio, you can bring them up to that LED screen, show polling results, results of gamified challenges, and much more.
Each hybrid event model comes with its own set of considerations, perks, and limitations. The Star, which is typically produced in a studio, can host a limited number of in-person attendees and makes for a spectacular show for the virtual audience. Event planners who are looking for high-production quality should seriously consider booking a studio, as should those whose event is content-focused. Since there’s very little or no in-person audience, planners don’t need to worry so much about COVID-19 compliance and can easily pivot to a virtual model.
Of course, event planners don’t need to do all of this on their own. Having a reliable partner who’ll help with strategy, production, and event management is key to long-term success. The Endless Events team has produced all kinds of hybrid events, and we know hybrid event studios inside and out. So if you’re looking for a partner, reach out! We are here to help.