Hint: It depends on how much time you have to plan.
You may not have the luxury of a generous planning window to put together your next hybrid event, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have options to bring people together in exciting new ways. In fact, a wealth of high-quality platform solutions exist to help you expand your in-person event reach, connect with new audiences, encourage remote/in-person participant collaboration and engagement. One of the best ways to determine which event platform and how much support you need is to start with how much time you have to plan.
Too pressed for time to shop for an event platform? Encore provides a curated selection of best-in-class solutions, which we’ve highlighted below. (And if you’ve already selected a platform, the Encore team can provide production and/or creative support.)
Here’s our short list of platform solutions for hybrid meetings and events, based on your event lead time. Read on to learn about the boundless possibilities these platform technologies offer.
If you only have 1-2 weeks to plan
Zoom video conferencing is best for small, casual meetings. It’s also often used to stream content, like webinars and concurrent sessions, that is embedded in more dynamic viewing platforms.
This is the go-to hybrid event platform for several good reasons. But even with the slimmest of planning windows, you’ll have a better-quality event if you don’t try to run it off your company’s Zoom license.
What you may not realize is that Zoom comes in three flavors:
- Basic (free) accounts which are bound by a 40-minute time limit and a restricted set of features
- Professional accounts, which companies or individuals purchase to extend meeting times and gain access to more robust features, like webinar registration
- Enterprise accounts, which are only available to companies like Encore
What’s the difference between using your company’s professional Zoom license and using an enterprise Zoom account provided by Encore?
- Multiple licenses are at your disposal, which helps you create educational “tracks” or concurrent streams for your event
- Content can be recorded to the cloud rather than desktop-only
- You don’t have to purchase a new license if your event grows; enterprise licenses can scale to handle groups of 500 or 5,000
Plus, if you go with a full-service event technology provider, like Encore, your event will be supported in real-time by a human staff who can troubleshoot and produce a seamless event for you. Another benefit of partnering with Encore is that our team stays on top of the newest third-party Zoom integrations, which means we can point out solutions that you can add to Zoom to increase functionality and enhance participant engagement. To make planning easier, Encore has created a new solution for Hybrid Small Meetings that’s ideal with Zoom and essential technology ready to go — so you can just show us and let us worry about the setup.
If you have at least 3 weeks to plan
Looking for a self-service solution? The Cvent Attendee Hub is best for events that need a way for exhibitors, sponsors, and attendees to network and set up 1:1 appointments with each other before they arrive on-site. It also works well for conferences that have multiple sessions and activities.
Cvent Attendee Hub allows you to quickly get your event up and running. Features include:
- Integrated video equipment to create virtual events with live or pre-recorded content
- Engagement features like live Q&A, chat, polling, and feedback surveys to keep sessions interactive
- Meeting scheduling capabilities for groups or individuals so participants, exhibitors, and sponsors can connect and network
- CEU tracking and certificate delivery for professional development education
- Participant tracking to analyze attendee patterns of attendance and survey responses
If you’d rather have a fully-supported quick start event app, you might prefer using Chime Go. Chime Go is a paired-down mobile-friendly solution that works well for conference organizers who want to give participants the ability to customize their event schedules.
The Encore team can configure Chime Go in multiple ways to support in-person, virtual, and hybrid meetings. Chime Go features a mobile-based agenda and in-room engagement tools, as well as a microsite that can be built around your streaming conference content or hybrid meeting. Benefits include:
- A quick start, branded conference site accessible via mobile or other devices to elevate the attendee experience, with self-registration, agenda, map pdfs, the ability for participants to ask questions (customer moderated), upvote others’ questions, and take notes that they can send to themselves. Add-on options include sponsor banners and fundraising links
- A hybrid-ready microsite with all of the above, plus the option to include streaming windows for participants to watch the live broadcasts or on-demand content. Other options include chat and sentiment stream, closed captioning, Zoom meeting integration, and more
If you have at least 4 weeks to plan
Interested in blending the in-person experience with the digital one? Consider creating a choreographed hybrid experience with Chime Live, a powerful digital storytelling platform. Chime Live works well for high-profile events where you want attendees to feel special. It also is a good fit for events that prioritize two-way conversations between the presenters and the audience, as it provides robust collaboration and engagement tools.
- Pre-event, Chime Live provides a branded registration platform, sponsor areas, social media sharing, and pertinent event information
- During the event, participants interact with Chime Live via mobile app to view, vote on, submit questions, and interact with conference content
- Post-event, Chime Live shares insights on participant interactions, submitted questions, and other data
If you have at least 6 weeks to plan
Looking to maximize engagement and impress your audience? Chime Live is ideal if you have at least a six-week planning window. These Chime Live engagement add-ons enhance the in-person and remote elements of events by providing a deeper way for presenters to connect with the audience, and for event participants to customize their event experience. You’ll receive all the bells and whistles mentioned above, plus:
Choreographed event design to focus attendees on what they need to see or do on the platform by pushing slides and pop-up interactive polls, Q&A, and more, in real-time
- Choreographed event design to focus attendees on what they need to see or do on the platform by pushing slides and pop-up interactive polls, Q&A, and more, in real-time
- Customized user interfaces for in-person and remote experiences
- Personalized journeys featuring segmented or integrated experiences and customized agendas to support your organization and participants’ objectives
Another option is the Cvent Attendee Hub platform, which you can transform into a full-service solution by engaging the Encore team to help. The Encore team can support you during the design, set-up, and production phase. It’s a great choice for larger events, especially if you want to maximize engagement and let professionals manage the technology for you. In addition to the bells and whistles with the self-service option, the full-service version offers:
- Worry-free tech set-up, streaming, and production support, provided by the Encore team
- Integrated Cvent registration
- On-demand viewing functionality
- Customized attendee hub configured to suit your needs
If you have more than 8 weeks to plan
Consider leveraging all the above-mentioned perks of the Chime Live platform and elevating the experience for your remote attendees by adding a virtual lobby that allows them to “physically” interact with each other and content at the event through avatars. This functionality works well with global expositions, conferences and trade shows that need to provide an interactive online environment that is as compelling for its remote participants as for its in-person ones.
Create an immersive 2-D or 3-D virtual environment that recreates elements familiar to in-person conferences, such as lobbies, theaters, virtual trade show booths, and networking lounges with Notified from Intrado. This platform accommodates large events and exhibitions and is a fantastic choice for events attracting a large number of remote attendees. Benefits of the platform include:
- Broadcast studio-quality streaming
- AI-driven matchmaking software and video chat options
- Sponsorship packages
- Custom-branded areas
- Full-service creative, production, and design assistance from the Encore team
If you have more than 12 weeks to plan
If Notified by Intrado is on your list, and you have a three-month window before the event, you can add an integrated registration option to the immersive elements mentioned above. These options work very well for virtual expos and conferences.
It’s no secret that conference content not only drives attendance but also generates on-site brand publicity through social media engagement and can generate significant post-event revenue. If you have a generous planning window of at least 12 weeks, you should consider hiring a content development team to design, source, and produce different elements of your conference content. Encore offers Creative services that can:
- Design presentation templates and create presentations
- Transform your brand logo into an animated asset
- Produce short and long-format video segments and interstitial video “stingers” to introduce speakers, promote sponsors and highlight event elements before, during, and after the event
- Create motion graphics and animations to spice up in-person and broadcast content
- Coach speakers and ghost-write executive speeches
- Capture images and video on-site
Encore can also provide on-site presentation management with Content1, a fully supported system for collecting and distributing presentation files to meeting spaces at events. Presenters can upload their presentations from their home or office pre-event, then check into our Speaker Ready Room on-site for final revisions, uploads, and review.
Presentations are automatically transferred to the meeting rooms and delivered from a single, customized computer, ensuring the final revision is presented without delays during the meeting.
Where do you fall on this spectrum?
Has this guide helped you select a potential hybrid event platform? Or are you still wondering what the best options are for your event? Encore is happy to help. We offer free consultations. Even if you’ve selected an event platform, we can consult with you on how to elevate your event. Connect to an Encore team member here.
To help you remember the different platform solutions, we created this infographic you can download and keep with you.
Platform solutions by lead times
One of the easiest ways to select a hybrid event platform is by how much time you have to organize it. Here’s what we suggest. If you want help selecting a platform, or need assistance setting up and running one you’ve already selected, Encore can help, too. Get in touch for a free consultation.