live, virtual, and hybrid event planning

Jun 14, 2021 | Event Marketing

It’s time to plan an annual convention for your company and you’re not sure where to begin, especially given the challenges of the last year. Is now the right time for an in-person event? Would you capture more of an audience with a virtual event that can be made available to more people since space and number of attendees won’t be an issue? Would a combination of in-person and virtual be a good fit? Let’s look at the options and what each one entails.

In addition to picking a venue, date, and deciding on how many attendees to invite, promoting the event is the next step. The event should be branded with a consistent look and feel, promoted across multiple digital platforms, including a website and email blasts. In-person events will also need a variety of materials to make the event a success such as wayfinding, signage, wall and elevator wraps, informational material, badges, and promotional items.


Image: Event branding for The Hume Center’s 25th Anniversary Gala by Overstreet Associates


A virtual event is a fantastic option because over the last year everyone has gotten used to attending events online. One of the biggest selling points of a virtual event is that it’s very cost-effective for attendees and the number of attendees does not have to be capped due to space constraints. There are still some costs associated with a virtual event that’s required for an in person event, like branding and design to promote the event.. Custom PowerPoint presentations or other slide shows and visuals are also necessary to share information with attendees.


Image: Event branding for RTOA’s Virtual Convention by Overstreet Associates


A great compromise when planning an annual convention/conference is a combination of both in-person and virtual. For people who are not yet comfortable or not able to attend an in-person event but still want to participate, this is the perfect solution. When planning this type of event, you’ll want to decide what will be available in-person and what will be available online. The keynote, for example, could be live-streamed so in-person and virtual attendees have the same experience. Other components of the conference might be available to in-person attendees only. The events will need a marketing plan with clear communication on the options available as well as branding and promotion.

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