Have you ever used a dating app? The endless sifting through profiles, swiping until your thumb is sore, having conversations with people who may or may not be bots ... all in the pursuit of finding that perfect match. If you’re an event organizer, finding the right event management platform can feel the same as trying to find the right date. You want a platform that you can take home to your mom and that can seamlessly integrate your in-person and online events -- totally the same thing, right?
You may be daunted by the search for the best hybrid event platform, but your perfect match is out there! Choosing an event management platform that specializes in hybrid events will streamline your planning process.
After a mostly virtual year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the market has become saturated with tons of virtual event platforms now looking for a way to stay relevant as in-person events resume. Similarly, one-size-fits-all mobile apps for hybrid events have seen a boom over the past year. The challenge for event organizers now is to determine which platforms are best suited for their hybrid event, and which would potentially make the event planning process more difficult.
And in general, an event platform that specializes in hybrid formats is necessary for running both sides of a hybrid event without error. Running the on-site and online components of a hybrid event without a platform that gives you a control center will inevitably lead to difficulties from start to finish. Simply put: running a hybrid event manually takes more time and more effort than it would to plan a hybrid event using an all-in-one platform.
The best hybrid platforms have a blend of reputability, functionality and customer service. Maybe we’re a little biased, but PheedLoop is a catch.
Between powering over 2,500 events in-person, virtual, and hybrid and putting in years perfecting on-site event management, we know a thing or two about hosting great events. PheedLoop is also ranked as the #1 highest rated event management platform by G2 Crowd!
Get ready to meet your potential suitors: in this post, we give you five features to look for when choosing the hybrid event management platform best suited for your needs.
At this point, event organizers know that virtual and in-person events are completely different beasts. Unlike virtual events, which sometimes take as little as a few weeks to plan, in-person experiences require much more prep time, budgetary consideration and on-site setup.
Look for a platform that’s honed their on-site experience tools. When searching for a hybrid event management solution, choosing a platform that’s been around the block with in-person events will ensure that both the in-person and online components of your event run smoothly. Industry leaders like PheedLoop, Cvent and Aventri have been around for years, proving success with on-site events.
Opting for a company with a great track record will give you peace of mind when planning a virtual and in-person event at the same time.
We strongly suggest avoiding platforms that don’t cover all your in-person bases. If you need on-site check-in and registration and you opt for a platform that doesn’t cover ticketing, that means more time (and money) spent looking for a ticketing solution that may or may not integrate with your event management platform. An all-in-one platform like PheedLoop covers everything from registration to floor plans down to on-site badge printing while providing a clean, central location to run both sides of your event.
As mentioned, a platform that covers some, but not all, of your event needs will make it challenging to reference important data on the fly. If you’re switching between two or three event management products that don’t seamlessly work together, important insights can fall through the cracks.
Look for a platform that runs both sides of your hybrid event out of one centralized hub. All information should flow in and out of one system; your hybrid platform shouldn’t plan two separate events, but optimize your in-person and online experiences to work in concert with one another. Does your platform sync on-site exhibitor leads with leads captured through video content? Does it allow you to make seamless changes across your mobile app, live displays and streams?
A comprehensive platform, like Bizzabo’s easy-to-use event success platform or PheedLoop’s flexible hybrid solution, keeps you in control of both sides of your hybrid event. Without an integrated platform, you lose valuable insights on attendance, sponsor ROI and engagement. Stick with an event management solution that does it all in one.
When it comes to attendee experience at hybrid events, one size does not fit all. Some platforms will apply the same app or event portal for both in-person and online guests, but prioritize a hybrid management solution that treats your attendees as discrete audiences.
By our attendee analytics, 93% of virtual attendees use a large screen device like a computer while 96% of in-person attendees use a mobile device -- why shoehorn two different audiences into the same tech?
Look for a platform that doesn’t use the same app for event participation across in-person and online guests. Having a designated portal for online attendees and a mobile app for your on-site participants allows you to play to the strengths of the hybrid event format. You can unite both components under your control while still giving participants a customized experience, depending on how they’re engaging in the event. For example, with PheedLoop’s all-in-one hybrid event platform, you get a dedicated virtual portal for online guests (now included for free for hybrid events) and a mobile app for your on-site event. Reject a cookie-cutter approach to make your attendee experience specific and accessible.
Because hybrid events are relatively new, they present a lot of questions about attendance. Will online or in-person components be more enticing? Where will event organizers see the biggest turnout? Based on new surveys conducted by Markletic, between 55 and 60% of attendees prefer to join the in-person versions of hybrid events, but that still leaves a vast audience tuning into the online versions. This is all to say: how do platforms charge for a hybrid event with in-person and online audiences?
When it comes to pricing, look for a platform that treats both groups of event attendees the same. A platform whose pricing model considers people at home and people on-site as part of the same hybrid audience keeps your budget simple, instead of leaving the cost up to turnout and being caught with a higher price than anticipated when your event wraps. Another pricing model to look for is a pay-as-you-go option that allows you to evaluate your event needs and add features as the need arises.
High-cost, upfront financial commitments are not worth the stress; a hybrid platform that allows financial flexibility lets you suss out what hybrid formats and features work best for your needs without it coming out of your pocket.
If the past year has taught the event industry anything, it’s that we need to be prepared to adapt to whatever’s thrown at us. It’s clear from the boom of virtual and app-based event tech that innovation is key, but what worked for a completely virtual event may not work for an in-person event, and vice versa. With hybrid events as the hot new thing, a platform that’s constantly working to improve their hybrid management tech is a smart investment.
Look for a company that makes frequent updates to their event management platform. We’re all learning what features work best and are most popular with attendees while experimenting with hybrid event formats, so a platform that makes regular updates, rolls out new features and stays on the cutting-edge of event technology effectively future-proofs their solution. You can feel confident using a platform that’s regularly optimized for hybrid events.
Check out prospective platforms’ blogs, social media accounts, product demos and launch events (stay tuned to our blog for info on PheedLoop’s quarterly event, the Pathfinders Summit!). What are their latest updates? Are they prioritizing hybrid event features, like video networking, synced analytics, real-time chat for on-site and online audiences? A platform that has their finger on the pulse and is working to improve their hybrid event capabilities is always a smart long-term choice.
Choosing the right hybrid event platform is a bit like playing the dating game. Find the perfect match you can foster a long-term relationship with for all your hybrid events to come; prioritize an experienced company with a flexible, all-in-one platform that’s ready to adapt to the next event format. With so many new event formats to explore, a great hybrid management solution will empower you to find what works best for your hybrid events without breaking the bank or lagging behind.
Shopping around for the right hybrid event management platform? Discover how PheedLoop is built for hybrid events.