Hybrid events have come into their own in the past few years; after various levels of lockdowns and closures around the globe, the world has shifted to a new paradigm, and whilst events are back up and running, the hybrid event has emerged as a permanent feature. Alongside this, therefore, has arisen a need to understand and cater for hybrid event budgets.
When calculating a budget for a hybrid event, there are a few things to consider when compared to a straightforward live event, but the very first step is defining what we actually mean when we use the phrase hybrid event.
Only after this can we start to understand how making an event a hybrid will affect budgeting and costs.
So here for you, if you are planning an event in the near future, is your hybrid event budgeting guide.
What is a hybrid event?
A hybrid event is not simply an event with an online element; to understand what we are talking about means digging a little deeper than that.
A hybrid event is one that has elements specifically designed for in-person attendance, together with separate content which has been created for online participation.
In other words, running an event and live streaming it online is not a hybrid, and likewise, neither is hosting an event but having some extra bonus material online.
A hybrid event, therefore, is one that has elements created for the live attendees which maximises their involvement and enhances their experience, while at the same time has elements created for online attendees which are specifically created to achieve the same result for them.
To create a successful hybrid event, the question to answer is “how can we create an experience for the online attendees that makes them feel just as much a part of the live experience, makes them feel just as welcome and just as important? How can we create interacting environments that leave everyone with the same great experience at the end?”
Only once you have established the answers to these questions, will you have a direction to plan for – and only once you have this will you have the scope for planning and creating your hybrid event budget.
Hybrid event budget planning
There are several areas to think about for your hybrid event budget – some will be familiar if you have ever planned any kind of event before, but some may be new considerations for you.
First off – the good news. A hybrid event, while in many ways akin to running two separate events and then blending them together, will not cost twice the price of putting on a normal live event.
The bad news – it will cost more than a few extra pounds/dollars/insert your currency here.
As a very rough rule of thumb, your budget for your hybrid event will probably land at around 1.5 times the cost of a live event with no hybrid online crossover.
This is because your live event element costs will remain the same – but you will now have some extras to add to the price tag.
Extras to consider in your budget for your hybrid event
The event platform
The event platform is what and where you will host the hybrid elements of your event and will make up a large part of your hybrid event budget.
There are as many different options for event hosting from each company as there are event hosting companies, it seems.
The best platform can be found once you have decided on the elements you are wanting to host online, together with all the content you wish to create. Some platforms perform better than others providing certain services, so you will need to do your homework to discover which will work best for you – and then whether it fits your budget or not.
Whilst they vary wildly, prices can start from as little as £1,000 or so, depending on the features required and the size of your event and anticipated audience. At the other end of the scale are platforms with services costing six figures or more, so getting this right is essential.
To be successful with a hybrid event will require outstanding internet connections and a lot of bandwidth; if this is not included in a service from a platform or other host you are using, then this too must be factored into your budget for your hybrid event.
Running a hybrid event involves hiring extra people – and there is no way around this, so remember to include this in your hybrid event budget.
Unless you hire an outside production company to handle all these elements for you, you will need extra staff to run the online elements. These may not all apply to your situation, but you may need to consider:
- People to run and maintain the computer, network, and other digital equipment, including online connections and communications.
- Presenters and communication staff to interact with, and talk to, the virtual attendees. To run professionally, a hybrid event will often need a separate host/presenter from the live event.
- Social media staff to create content and post during the event – plus filtering and processing user-generated content from the virtual event.
- Video editing staff to create content from the live events happening, tailored for the virtual attendees.
- Video studio staff to create content specifically for virtual attendees.
- Cybersecurity staff.
- Staff who work to connect the live and virtual production sides, keeping them pulling together and working on the same team, lest you disintegrate into running two separate events in parallel.
All of these extra staff (well, the ones you will need, as appropriate) must be accounted for in your hybrid budget.
Of course, this does depend on the size of your event; a smaller event means it is easier for staff to cover extra duties, and you may need hardly any extras at all, but the point here is to consider all the requirements and plan accordingly.
A key element of hybrid events is video production; usually, you will need extra cameras to cover the event in a way that allows the online attendees to at least feel as if they are there and not just dialling in remotely.
A multi-camera setup is essential, as is investing in the quality of your streaming service (if not already covered by a platform, as mentioned above).
As with using a professional platform to broadcast your event and connect with your attendees, you will often find that hiring a professional team for video content production is a lot more cost-effective than trying to keep things in-house.
Splento, for example, has extensive experience in content production, editing and live streaming for events. And to keep things simple (and budget-friendly) they have a simple fixed hourly rate that keeps costs down – and means you will always know exactly where you stand with your budget, with no hidden ‘surprises’ or nasty shocks.
Contact Splento if you are in need of: