Hybrid events are emerging as the future of the events industry. Why? They’re essentially a win-win event for everyone involved.
Event organizers can expand attendee reach by adding a virtual layer to their in-person event. Attendees who want to attend but can’t make it on-site due to health or financial constraints can still enjoy the event without ever having to leave their home. Plus, sponsors and exhibitors have even greater flexibility and can choose to be present at the event in-person or virtually.
While hybrid events are in full swing, the in-person component of hybrid events will look much different than before the pandemic. Event organizers have been tasked with keeping their attendees, exhibitors, and staff safe while creating an unforgettable event experience.
It’s no small feat to implement comprehensive health and safety guidelines, but we’re here to help with tips and examples from actual hybrid events.
Here are six health and safety tips for your hybrid event’s in-person component:
1. Assess your venue setup
Before you bring your attendees on-site to your event, it’s important to evaluate whether or not your venue can accommodate your safety guidelines. First, you’ll need to solidify how many attendees will be present at the venue.
Keep in mind that your venue will need to align with state and local guidelines, so attendee caps might be put in place.
Also consider if an event space can accommodate socially distanced seating, regular cleaning of common spaces, and plated meals instead of a buffet.
Your venue is an important partner in your efforts to keep your event as safe as possible! As you work with them to plan, brainstorm creative ways to incorporate safety practices throughout the event space. For example, as attendees wait to check in at the event, consider using branded floor markers to ensure that everyone is properly distanced.
2. Send out a COVID-19 questionnaire prior to the event
Your health and safety coordination can start before your attendees even walk in the door. Take The National Speaker Association (NSA) for example. NSA launched one of the industry’s first and most successful hybrid events of 2021, bringing together an in-person group of 30 attendees and a virtual audience.
One week before showtime, NSA sent their live attendees a health questionnaire to ensure that no attendees had recently contracted or experienced any COVID-19 symptoms.
Sending out a pre-event questionnaire is the perfect opportunity to communicate your expectations to attendees and let them know that you’re taking health and safety seriously for the in-person component of your event.
3. Have masks and plenty of hand sanitizer readily available
In addition to proper social distancing at your hybrid event, it’s important to have plenty of masks and hand sanitizer for your attendees and staff to use.
Even if you have already communicated to attendees that they need to have masks on hand, make sure to have an extra supply just in case an attendee drops or loses theirs.
To make your safety stations clear to attendees, ensure you promote these spots with clear signage.
4. Regularly communicate health and safety protocols to attendees
Communicating your health and safety guidelines early and often to attendees will be key to your hybrid event success. Consider creating a separate COVID-19 communications plan where you establish your guidelines and identify which channels you’ll use to communicate them.
When it comes to keeping your attendees safe, it’s essential to communicate every step of the way. This is where your virtual event platform can come in handy. Socio enables event organizers to segment their attendee lists, so they can send customized announcements to each attendee group within the platform.
Your emcees or hosts running the show can be another great resource for communicating how you’re implementing safety measures at your event. The emcees at NSA’s hybrid event really drove home the event’s health and safety guidelines with a… life size quarantine bubble? You read that right. Check out the video below!
5. Enlist a wellness concierge
As an event organizer, you have a lot on your plate. From pre-event planning to day-of coordination, the more you can delegate to a trusted partner, the better. At NSA’s Winter Workshop 2021, the venue provided a dedicated wellness concierge to oversee safety for the three-day live event.
“It was great to just have someone onsite, so if attendees weren’t feeling well, they had someone to go and talk to, and we have someone to help monitor and take temperatures. Having great hotel partners was key,” says Rhette Baughman, Chief Revenue Officer, NSA.
Whether your venue provides a health and safety concierge or you’re able to designate part of your team to oversee similar tasks, this is a great way to put attendees at ease and help you focus on running your event.
6. Require attendees to pre-select their courses
We’re all familiar with the excitement of perusing a conference’s course selection and deciding the day-of which one of the concurrent courses we’ll attend. While this certainly generates anticipation ahead of an event, you’ll want designated times for your classrooms to be free of attendees, so the venue staff can clean and disinfect common spaces.
How do you achieve this? You can require attendees to pre-select their courses ahead of the event and pre-load their course selections into your mobile event app.
By structuring your event this way, you can ensure there will be open times for each shared space to be thoroughly cleaned in between sessions. Pre-loading all of your attendees’ courses into the event app also helps eliminate any confusion and provides a clear itinerary for your attendees to enjoy.
Make Socio Part of Your Hybrid Event Plan
It’s no secret that hybrid events are here to stay. Event organizers, attendees, and exhibitors alike are all eager to connect in-person once again. While bringing this event format to life is exciting, it adds even more complexity for event organizers.
On top of planning a hybrid event by enlisting speakers, sourcing sponsors, and managing day-of coordination, event organizers are now responsible for ensuring that their events follow proper health and safety guidelines.
Your hybrid event’s virtual event platform should be one less thing you need to worry about. Simply put: your event platform should work for you and your event–– not the other way around.
Enter Socio: we empower event organizers to effortlessly create customized, immersive hybrid events for attendees, presenters, sponsors, and exhibitors.
Socio’s end-to-end event platform provides:
- 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 so much more!
Ready to see Socio in action? Schedule a personalized demo today with our Socio Event Experts.
We recently hosted our first-ever hybrid event–– and you can still be a part of it! Register here to watch the on-demand recording and experience how Socio powers post-event on-demand experiences.
Interested in learning how NSA successfully launched safety measures at their hybrid event? Download our hybrid event case study.