Planning6 Min Read

EventHack Hybrid Games: Tracking the Hybrid Attendee Journey

For episode 6 of the EventHack Hybrid Games, the hackers presented their most innovative solutions for elevating the hybrid attendee journey. Check out the presentation recaps below. 👇

Team Maestros: Curate an Immersive Attendee Journey for Hybrid Events

The “Maestros” Team orchestrated a hybrid-crossover event to create a symphony of engaging activities enjoyed by both in-person and virtual attendees.

Hybrid events must hit all of the high notes typically found at any great event, whether live or virtual: Compelling content, personalized engagement, exclusivity, a sense of community, and a seamless attendee journey. 

That’s the event advice composed by Team “Maestros” from Opus Agency, Executive Creative Director Caryn Mambro and Creative Director Alec Catalano, who presented during Episode 5 of Socio’s EventHack Hybrid Games competition. Their hybrid hacks for a technology company’s user conference centered around seven “movements” that led attendees along in a symphony of immersive and intimate activities throughout the hybrid-crossover event.

“Working at Opus, we are conductors and leaders in experience,” Mambro said. “The energy needs to be off the charts. Screen fatigue is real, so we must overcome that with an incredible attendee journey.”

She described three elements the hybrid event must nail to create a successful attendee journey. Event planners must capture and keep the audience’s attention, keeping in mind everyone experiences the event in their own space — whether live through big screens at the venue, at home or in an office, using a laptop, tablets, or mobile phone — and virtual guests must feel the presenters’ and crowd’s energy inside a much smaller frame. 

Pre-Event Elements Include Avatars and Virtual Concierge

Prior to the conference, virtual attendees would use the event app to create a digital avatar that participated in virtual reality and augmented reality experiences, along with meeting a virtual concierge who led them along in the attendee journey. 

Those who attended the tech conference in person would get an onsite concierge assigned to them. While they waited for a concierge booth, the day’s events would begin slowly with a barista-made beverage and relaxing ambient music that would also air for virtual attendees, who could use the pre-show time to center with some meditation or quiet time. 

Comfortable Settings Provide Optimal Hybrid Learning Opportunities

The in-person keynote speaker experience would be noticeably more intimate with a smaller crowd, since the majority of the conference attendees would log in remotely. During two different times of the day, the hybrid event would allow all attendees some time to focus on consuming pre-recorded, curated content at their own pace from a comfortable space, which the “Maestros” believed would be most conducive to learning. 

In-person attendees could pick a cozy spot among the convertible satellite settings, where they would settle in to watch workshops, breakout sessions, and panel discussions on a shared screen or their own devices. To combat distractions for remote attendees, Team “Maestros” decided to also provide virtual entertainment for young children.

Interactive Experiences Bring Hybrid Attendees Together to Create

During one of two “Create” sessions, both virtual and in-person attendees would use host-provided technology to make digital artwork that would come together as an immense, user-generated living piece of art.  

The second “Create” session was tied to the technology company’s philanthropic interest in cleaning up the oceans, and offered a way to include gamification in the hybrid event. Virtual users would tap their mobile screens to “scoop” as much plastic from the oceans as possible, while in-person attendees would do the same on a live, interactive screen inside the venue to compete for points and badges awarding those who collected the most (virtual) trash. 

The team envisioned utilizing a live scoreboard within the event app to show point totals. They would provide attendees other opportunities throughout the event to gain badges and points that could be used toward purchasing digital swag, and use push notifications to alert winners. 

Another interactive segment would focus on personal development, giving hybrid and in-person attendees opportunities to learn new skills together, like how to make the perfect mojito. Remote attendees would pre-register to attend an activity and receive required materials in a swag package mailed out prior to the event.  

For networking at the hybrid event, since every symphony contains a bridge, the team came up with “Bridge the Gap,” which would be a roulette-style of what they called “brain dates” to match up virtual and in-person attendees for short sessions.  

Virtual Reality Concert for Symphony Crescendo

As the final crescendo for their hybrid event, Team “Maestros” explained virtual attendee’s avatars would come together to celebrate with in-person attendees and their avatars through screens in the venue for an ultimate virtual reality concert and dance party. 

Beyond the event, the brand could produce curated content indefinitely to extend the attendee journey and build a brand community. That would give the users a place to refer back to the conference materials, access ongoing learning opportunities, and continue the communication. 

“Beautifully orchestrated,” said EventHack Hybrid Games judge Anita Howard, Strategy Director at ICE – International Corporate Events.

Team Holiday Dreamers: “Do Not Let 2020 Ruin Your Hacking Holiday.”

Team “Holiday Dreamers” unwrapped an entirely virtual gift for Dreamforce conference attendees during Week 5 of the EventHack Hybrid Games. 

Briana Snellgrove, CEO of Social ICON, and Pooja Pendharkar, Community Engagement for Social ICON, presented a virtual hybrid-crossover holiday event based exclusively on an enterprise customer’s user experience. They commenced the festivities during Episode 5 of Socio’s EventHack Hybrid Games

Prior to the pandemic, Salesforce sent 171,000 people to an annual conference in San Francisco, known as “Dreamforce.” When Dreamforce 2020 got canceled because of COVID-19, the “Holiday Dreamers” team conjured up ideas for a virtual holiday party event. 

“Salesforce believes in everything being Ohana, their family,” Pendharkar said. “This conference really feels like it. You feel connected. You have special development, but you also have a sense of comradery.” 

Four Stages of Enjoying a Happy Hybrid Event

Team “Holiday Dreamers” based their attendee journey on what they identified as four stages of a happy event: Anticipation, savoring, expression, and reflection. To build anticipation for the virtual holiday gathering, participants would receive teaser texts and emails that a holiday party box was headed their way in the mail. 

To generate a social media holiday frenzy and add gamification to the hybrid event, attendees could share videos of their holiday party unboxing for a chance to win big prizes. Items in the holiday party box would vary, but common tokens could include hooded sweatshirts, socks, and a special ornament with a QR code. 

“I love the idea of introducing something tangible,” said EventHack Hybrid Games Judge Matthew Cooney, Vice President of Wilson DOW Group. “Obviously we are in a very heavily digital world. Just the certain feeling of receiving something physical that connects to the experience and attributes to that…because at the end of the day, we are trying to impact people emotionally, especially for a party like this.” 

To reinforce Salesforce’s devotion to reducing, reusing, and recycling trash, each holiday box would include a return shipping label so attendees could return any unwanted holiday swag. It would then be re-gifted to charities. 

Hybrid Events: Mix & Mingle Safely From Home

The QR code on the ornament would serve a special purpose aside from holiday cheer on the tree — creating a sense of community. Each time the code got scanned during the week of Christmas, an LED window panel in the Salesforce tower would light up. The magical and interactive lighting of Salesforce Tower, which stands 1,000 feet tall and features 61 floors, would be featured on a 360-degree live feed so all attendees could watch. 

“Where there is joy, there is light,” Snellgrove said. “Help us light up the world and make it bright.” 

To further enhance the virtual attendees experience, special virtual reality goggles would allow remote participants to visualize the actual Dreamforce in-person experience. Groups of people could electronically explore the city of San Francisco, or scan advent calendars with QR codes to explore various conference rooms. 

“It’s a combination of using multiple technologies together to form a multi-layer experience for the party,” Pendharkar said. 

Specialized Zoom rooms would foster individual or small-group connections with wine and chocolate tastings, holiday baking, and ugly sweater competitions. 

“Oh my goodness, that was amazing! Glorious, glorious!” said EventHack Judge Anita Howard, Strategy Director of International Corporate Events (ICE). “I love Christmas, the whole thing, giving back. Really, the attendee journey was so clear.”

Hacking the Future of Hybrid Events 

Socio launched the EventHack Hybrid Games competition in mid-September as a way to collectively craft innovative hybrid event strategies for bringing together in-person and virtual audiences. 

Every week, four new teams from top companies across the event planning, digital marketing, and technology industries presented their best hybrid event hacks to a panel of expert judges and virtual viewers who tuned in to gather new ideas. 

Even though the series is now over, you can still check out every episode on demand!

And to learn more about how Socio’s event platform powers hybrid events, don’t hesitate to request a demo.

Mike LaFollette
Mike LaFollette
Event Evangelist. Master Gardener. Dad to an enormous Alaskan Malamute! Connect with Mike on Twitter or LinkedIn.