Hybrid events are emerging as the new frontier for the events industry. While this new event format brings with it excitement for a return to in-person events, many event planners are asking a similar question: How do I budget for an event that involves in-person and virtual components?
Keep reading to learn what you should consider when building your hybrid event budget.
What to Consider for Your Hybrid Event Budget
Event organizers have worked diligently this past year to pivot their events to a virtual event type. This year, hybrid events require yet another pivot and present plenty of questions. What are the costs associated with hybrid events? How much more will this cost me than a virtual event?
Hybrid events certainly require more of a financial commitment than virtual events, as you’re layering a virtual component on top of an in-person event. But with a well-thought-out budget, you can eliminate surprises and reduce any unnecessary spending.
Here are five key components to consider as you build at your hybrid event budget:
Hybrid Event Production and Technology
A true hybrid event requires robust technology that seamlessly connects virtual and in-person audiences. In addition to leveraging a powerful virtual event platform, you’ll also need to make sure that your AV setup is top-notch.
Here are a few hybrid tech components that you’ll need to consider when budgeting:
- AV Equipment: Screens, cameras, microphones, and a sound system are all must-haves for a hybrid event. If you’re working with an AV partner, these are equipment items they would provide. Don’t forget expert operators who will capture the magic of your event!
- High speed internet: A basic internet connection or WiFi won’t suffice for your hybrid event — make sure you have strong and reliable hardwired internet in place to support your event.
- Webcast stream: Robust streaming capabilities are key to creating an immersive hybrid event experience. Socio Streaming is a fully integrated solution that helps you create professional streams with no AV team required.
Bridging the gap between your hybrid audiences is dependent on your virtual event technology. Socio’s virtual event platform is a branded hub where streaming, networking, engagement, and sponsor visibility come to life in one easy-to-use platform.
With Socio, you’re not simply streaming the live portion of your event to virtual attendees. We equip you with the tools you need to effortlessly add a virtual component to your hybrid event, creating a meaningful experience for all attendees–– no matter where they’re tuning in from.
Health and Safety Measures
As we return to in-person events, health and safety should be a top priority for event organizers. Implementing ways to promote health and safety at the in-person component of your event will certainly impact your budget, but these measures will ultimately help you and your attendees have peace of mind every step of the way.
Here are some key questions to ask as you build the health and safety aspect of your hybrid event budget:
- If your venue requires masks inside, who will be responsible for ensuring that everyone is wearing one where appropriate?
- Does your contract with the venue include a health concierge, or will you need to hire a third party?
- How many hand sanitizer stations will be located throughout the venue?
- Will disposable masks be provided on-site daily?
- Will you mandate temperature checks prior to entry each day?
Keep in mind that many of your attendees will be at varying comfort levels at your event. Having a wide variety of safety measures in place will help accommodate as many attendees as possible.
Venue Related Fees
A hybrid event requires some sort of in-person component typically hosted at a venue. Not only do you need to factor in your event space cost, but it’s also important to consider the cost of additional venue features.
Refreshments, WiFi hotspots, extra hard lines, and bandwidth all come at an additional cost. Make sure to talk through each of these features as you evaluate venues for your event.
On-Site Event Design
For the foreseeable future, sitting six to eight attendees at one table will be out of the question at in-person events. As you build your hybrid event budget, consider the actual layout of your event. You’ll likely need more tables and chairs than past in-person events, which can significantly impact your event’s costs.
Factoring on-site event design into your hybrid event budget is just another way to help your attendees ease back into in-person events. Giving attendees an ample amount of space through additional seating and spaced-out tables is worth the cost when it means that your in-person attendees feel comfortable and relaxed at your event.
Virtual and In-Person Event Staffing
To help ensure your hybrid event goes off without a hitch, you’ll need a team of experts to streamline the in-person and virtual event experiences! As you build out our budget, don’t forget to factor in staffing the virtual and in-person components of your event.
The virtual layer of hybrid events allows for event organizers to reach an even larger audience –– you might even find that the majority of your attendees are tuning in virtually! This means that assembling a team of experts to help run the virtual aspect of your event is essential.
The following staff can help drive the virtual component of your hybrid event:
- An executive producer who oversees the virtual aspect of your event and ensures that everything is running smoothly. Running a hybrid event requires thinking like a television producer! Having an executive producer on staff can help bring your hybrid production to life.
- Camera and sound operators who expertly capture the magic of your in-person event experience by managing the cameras around your event space. You need to hire a team that can keep your virtual audience engaged throughout the whole event.
- Virtual event software experts who work behind the scenes to keep things running in your event platform. Socio’s Professional Services team offers (virtual and on-site) dedicated representatives for the days leading up to your event, your rehearsals, and the week of your event. We handle questions from your staff, speakers, exhibitors, and attendees, so you can focus on running your event!
The in-person component of your hybrid event will look slightly different than in years past. Your event space will be filled with attendees and exhibitors, plus all of the hybrid event equipment needed for your virtual audience. To help streamline day-of-event tasks and bridge the gap between your hybrid audiences, consider including the following in-person staff members:
- Host or emcee to expertly engage both in-person and virtual attendees. Remember that your event is competing with the many distractions facing virtual attendees at home. Enlisting an experienced host or emcee is sure to bring energy and excitement to your event, and keep virtual attendees tuned in.
- Additional in-person organizers who can take additional tasks or projects off your plate! If the in-person component of your event has a high attendee count or you’re hosting smaller in-person gatherings in the same city (or around the world!), you’ll want additional organizers on-site to assist with any questions or requests from attendees.
- On-site technician who might be provided as part of your venue’s on-site services. Your event’s on-site technician can manage any technical aspects of your event including WiFi, streaming, slide management, and microphones to ensure that everything is operating as it should.
Level Up Your Hybrid Event with Additional Budget Considerations
Now that we’ve covered the essential components that you’ll need to add to your event budget, let’s get into some additional hybrid event budgeting components.
Your hybrid event technology, health and safety measures, and on-site event design are non-negotiables, but there are a few more elements to consider.
While these add-ons aren’t necessarily required, they can add a nice touch to your hybrid event and make the event experience all the more engaging:
- Boost Engagement with a Hybrid Emcee: Hiring a professional emcee is a great way to keep your hybrid audiences engaged, connected, and having tons of fun.
- Delight Attendees with Live Entertainment: Bring the party to your event with live entertainment that both virtual and hybrid audiences can enjoy. While your live audience watches on-site, your virtual attendees can watch through your event platform and even engage with other attendees through chat functionality.
- Leverage Online Activities to Engage Virtual Audience: If your in-person audience is taking part in an activity on-site, make sure that your virtual attendees stay engaged. Consider investing in an online activity for your virtual attendees to participate in simultaneously.
How Much Does Hybrid Event Equipment Cost?
When it comes to budgeting for your hybrid event, your hybrid event equipment will account for a significant portion of your on-site expenses. But how much does hybrid event equipment actually cost? The answer depends on what equipment you already have and what’s included in your AV partner’s package.
During Socio’s first-ever hybrid event, “When Virtual Meets In-Person: How to Run a Successful Hybrid Event,” we teamed up with our AV partner, Meeting Tomorrow, to cover the essentials for building a hybrid event budget.
Meeting Tomorrow covered three hybrid event AV setup examples. As you start to build your budget, keep in mind that you have options. Check them out below! Note: for each of these examples you’ll need to add standard prices for in-room AV including speakers, lighting, etc.
- Example 1: Encoding technician only – $2,000 per day
- Example 2: Camera with operator & encoding technician – $4,000 per day
- Example 3: Three cameras with operators & encoding technician – $8,000-$10,000 per day
How to Reduce Costs For Your Next Hybrid Event
While launching a successful hybrid event requires you to invest in a few more components than a virtual or in-person, you can still find creative ways to save while delighting your attendees, exhibitors, and sponsors. Here are some tips on how to reduce costs and increase sponsorship value at your next hybrid event!
Reimagine Your Hybrid Event Space
While venues such as hotels or conference centers are common solutions for in-person events, why not reimagine your event space and stick to your budget?
Mix things up for your next hybrid event and seek out independent venues outside of the traditional hotel venue. When you partner with a hotel for an event, you’re often restricted to their pricing for food, tables, chairs, and lighting.
Working with an independent space allows you to source your own vendors and negotiate each individual contract. Strategically selecting vendors and having more control over the cost of each item will help you reduce event costs in the long run.
Select Strategic Hybrid Event Partnerships
As you’re searching for ways to reduce hybrid event costs, consider where your partnerships can help you limit extra spending. Before the pandemic hit, many AV event production suppliers charged customers on a line-by-line item basis.
Now, as hybrid events become increasingly common, your AV partner might offer a special hybrid package that includes all of the essential hybrid production elements, plus specialist expertise.
Increase Sponsorship Value
Looking for ways to increase revenue at your next hybrid event? Look no further than your event’s sponsors! If you properly structure your event’s sponsorship tiers, your sponsor relationships should be a win-win situation.
Create sponsorship offerings that give your sponsors great brand exposure and opportunities to connect with attendees. Sponsor-branded activities, pre-recorded content, and live-streamed sessions are all ways to help your sponsors put their brand on full display.
Give your sponsors one (or more) dedicated Video Rooms to staff during the entire event or at designated times. As you build out your sponsorship tiers, consider connecting Video Room capability to specific sponsorship levels.
Socio’s Sponsor Showcase helps attendees seamlessly connect with and learn more about your event’s sponsors. Once attendees click into a sponsor booth, sponsors can wow attendees with an engaging profile built with engaging resources and, of course, ways to get in touch.
Why Hybrid Events are a Worthwhile Investment
As you prepare your hybrid event budget, you’ll notice a few areas that require additional financial investment and logistical planning. While the emergence of hybrid events presents new challenges, this new event format provides endless opportunities for event organizers, attendees, exhibitors, and sponsors alike.
Simply put: hybrid events are here to stay. Investing in hybrid will prove to be worthwhile as you seek to engage a broader audience and increase value for your attendees and partners.
With the right planning, you can successfully build out your hybrid event budget and increase ROI by crafting an unforgettable experience for your attendees, exhibitors, and sponsors.
Power Your Hybrid Event with Socio’s Next Level Event Technology
Building your hybrid event budget is one part of the hybrid event equation–– now it’s time to think about the event platform that will seamlessly connect your virtual and in-person audiences.
Meet Socio, your end-to-end event solution for live streaming, attendee engagement, sponsorship, 1:1 networking, and advanced analytics.
Socio’s one-stop-shop event platform includes a variety of features that will leave your attendees and sponsors eager to register for your next event.
Power your next hybrid event with these key features:
- Seamless 1:1 networking between all attendees
- Chat, Q&A, gamification, polling, and more features to facilitate increased engagement and participation
- Complete branding and customization of event pages
- Quick and easy event app building
- Customized sponsorship opportunities
- State-of-the-art flexible video streaming and RTMP player
- Advanced reporting and analytics with a 360-degree view of event data and metrics
- World-class support
- Professional services to power your hybrid event
- And more
Are you ready to take your hybrid event to the next level? Schedule a personalized demo today with our Socio Event Experts!