Speaker Series: Event Planning in Uncertain Times
August 3, 2022
By Courtney McNamara | CEO & Founder, King Events
Live, virtual or hybrid? How to make the right decision for your organization and attendees.
We all know by now that event planning will never be quite the same again. We have all been introduced to the possibilities that exist in virtual events and now event organizers are left questioning whether their events should go back to being in-person, remain virtual or become something in between. So how do you make that decision, especially when there is still so much uncertainty?
All events are unique, but the most important thing to do is to consider your audience and be prepared to pivot if you need to. Below are a few tips to help get you started.
Check in with your audience
Let your attendees make the decision! Send out a quick survey to past event attendees and ask if they would prefer a live or a virtual event. It’s likely that your audience will be split down the middle, but that may help to suggest that a hybrid approach is worth considering. If they lean heavily to one side, you can feel more confident in choosing that format.
Evaluate budget and reach
Typically, virtual events are more cost effective to produce than live or hybrid events. They also have the potential to reach more people because limitations due to physical space and geography are eliminated. Hybrid events can actually end up being the most expensive, since you are hosting both a live event and investing in a virtual platform and the AV to support live streaming. Your budget may make the decision for you!
Consider a hybrid approach
A hybrid event will not work in all cases, but it is possible for most events and is ideal if budget and format allows. A hybrid event can mean a lot of things, but at a minimum, it includes a virtual and a live option for your attendees. A hybrid event allows those who are comfortable to attend in person and those who are not to enjoy the event from home. It also expands your reach as those who may not have traveled to the event can now still participate. Finally, a hybrid event is a bit of an insurance policy – it’s half-way to a backup plan in case you need to scrap the live event all together and move your audience to a virtual platform.
Plan to pivot
If there is one thing we have learned over the last few years, it is that anything can change and it can happen quickly. If you are planning a live or even a hybrid event, be prepared to pivot.
- Understand your vendors’ cancelation policies and confirm that they can provide virtual services if your live event needs to be shifted to a virtual format.
- Have a virtual ‘back up plan’ and pick a date to make that decision. Making this decision at least a month before your event date would be ideal to allow time to pivot.
- Head into the planning process knowing that elements of your event may need to change and be prepared for that!
Make it engaging
Virtual events have developed a bit of a reputation of lacking the interaction and engagement that we have come to expect from live events… but the truth is, live events can also lack engagement. Regardless of the format you choose, thinking about the event from your attendee’s perspective is more important than ever. It is absolutely possible to create memorable and exciting events whether live, virtual or hybrid and this continues to be the most important thing to do when planning your event.
Ask for Help
If you are considering a hybrid event specifically, bring in a professional event production company that can help you navigate this new world. Hybrid is new to everyone, but the right event company can do wonders to alleviate the stress of AV planning and testing, live event production and creating that engaging experience for your attendees.
Most importantly, know that you are not alone. Every organization and every event planner is asking themselves these same questions - and there is no right answer. If you head into the process with an open mind and willingness to try new things, you’ll be surprised by the incredible events you will create!
On September 13th, the BNP will be joined by King Events for a virtual Speaker Series: Event Strategies in Uncertain Times. Register today!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Courtney McNamara founded King Events after 10 years in corporate project management and technology, to merge her professional skills and her passion. As a certified Project Manager (PMP) with degrees in both Business Administration and in Event Planning & Production, Courtney and the team bring a unique and professional approach to Event Planning unlike any other.
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