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The Million-Dollar Question: How Do You Successfully Run A Hybrid Event?

By: Shaina Turgeon, CMP | Published by MPI Toronto Chapter | May 18, 2021

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For the first time the MPI Toronto Communications Committee has put together a form of “Vlog”, chatting with three different leaders in the meetings and events industry to ask them the question everyone wants to know – How do you successfully run a hybrid event?

After hearing from a planner, platform provider/AV supplier and holographic telepresence supplier, I was able to collect several important takeaways from each perspective.  Click on each video link to watch short 10-minute video interviews providing answers to the Million-Dollar Question and take a look at the key message notes compiled.  

Planner Perspective - Video Interview with Carly Sliberstein, CEO, Redstone Agency Inc.

carly1Key Messages:
- Start with the same principles we’ve always had, determining what your goals and objectives are.
- Determine your budget and know that you’re now running two simultaneous events.
- Balance the budget with smaller spaces, less F&B allowing for a surplus to go towards the AV and technology required.
- Be mindful of the different groups of attendees and the two different experiences you’re trying to create.
- What will draw in the virtual audience, so they don’t have fear of missing out?  You want a quality experience for both audience demographics.
- This is a time of mass learning so lean on the MPI Toronto Community as a resource.

Planner Perspective - Video Interview with Andrew Dorcas, SVP (Global) Sales & Marketing, ARHT Media


Key Messages:
- Pre-pandemic, Andrew was familiar with reducing international travel of leaders and executives by using holographic technology to ensure impactful engagement.
- Successfully using HoloPresence™ in a hybrid world is essentially the same.
- By incorporating HoloPresence™ over ‘talking heads’ it will allow for a more engaging audience experience.
- Bringing in international speakers in an impactful way who can’t travel will be important.
- In the holographic space, cost has always been a factor.  In this case, it’s not a matter of whether you can fly someone in cheaper, it’s a matter of they physically can’t be there. It comes down to the experience and engagement level you want for your in-person and virtual attendees.

Virtual Platform / AV Supplier Perspective - Video Interview with Mark Awad, Director of Business Development, bb Blanc.

Mark1Key Messages:
- First Step: Brace yourself – you’re planning two events in one!  Give yourself more time than when planning just in-person and just virtual.
- Establish needs and ‘nice-to-haves’ and pull together a budget to bring to your production team or partner.
- Lean on your suppliers no matter the delivery type of your event. It’s a collaborative effort.  We have to work together towards the main goal and ensure communication and transparency.
- The live stream and webcast experience pre-pandemic was more ‘fly on the wall’ format but with hybrid there will be more of an expectation for virtual engagement.
- Find a platform that can communicate with in-person attendees through a mobile app to heighten engagement between all attendees. 

With those messages in mind, I’ll leave you with this thought from our MPI Communications Committee Chair: Remain optimistic, the world is changing rapidly – there will be amazing things that come out of this.  Leverage the key learning we have done together and challenge yourself to take advantage of the change we’ve been forced into.

Leave a comment below with your answer to the Million-Dollar Question.  How do you think you successfully run a hybrid event?

About the Author:
Shaina Turgeon, CMP
Owner / Director of Events
Gemstone Event Management Inc.



Shaina Turgeon, CMP | Published by MPI Toronto Chapter

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