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Experience Economy
Hybrid event challenges: Two journeys, two experiences, one event

Hybrid events, the combination of in-person and virtual events, have been gaining popularity due to the unique opportunities and challenges they offer for creating a positive customer experience.


Sanni Aromaa

palvelumuotoilija, palveluliiketoiminnan kehittäminen ja muotoilu
Haaga-Helia ammattikorkeakoulu

Violeta Salonen

senior lecturer, service business
Haaga-Helia ammattikorkeakoulu

Jouko Loijas

lehtori, palveluliiketoiminnan kehittäminen ja muotoilu
Haaga-Helia ammattikorkeakoulu

Published : 19.06.2023

In today’s world where physical distancing is still a norm, hybrid events have become a go-to solution for event organizers who want to reach a wider audience without sacrificing the benefits of in-person events. However, creating a successful hybrid event requires careful planning and attention to detail.

During the Hybrid Ninja project, key considerations and challenges revolving around hybrid events were outlined, and a dual customer journey was explored as a means of creating successful hybrid events. In this article, we will share some of the most important insights that emerged during the project.

Platform enables hybrid events

To start with, as with all types of events, the planning process for hybrid events begins with purpose and goals. While most of the steps taken in traditional event planning are still relevant for hybrid events, some things differ, such as the right type of technology and participant engagement.

Choosing the most suitable platform for the event is critical to the success of a hybrid event. The platform should be user-friendly, reliable, and provide seamless integration between the physical and virtual components of the event. It should also be equipped with interactive features such as live polling, Q&A sessions, and virtual networking opportunities, while still being easy and intuitive to use.

Dual customer journey

One of the biggest challenges in hybrid events is how to create a sense of belonging for the online attendees who are missing out on the sensory experience. Organizers need to think about how to encourage online attendees to network with those in the physical realm, and what types of (gamified) activities could promote engagement without detracting from the main purpose and the content of the event.

Customer journey is an essential tool for planning any event, including hybrid events. In short, the customer journey refers to the path that the customer takes from initial awareness of the event to post-event engagement. It outlines all touch points that the customer experiences throughout the entire journey and ultimately provides visibility to an overall event experience.

In hybrid events, organizers need to concentrate on the creation of a dual customer journey, as attendees may be participating physically and/or virtually. While some steps of the journey may be the same for both, there are also some steps that differ and need to be carefully designed and considered in order for the online/offline experience to be seamless.

Engagement of both physical and virtual attendees

Pre-event engagement would be fairly the same for both online/offline attendees, but the actual attendance would differ the most. The event should provide seamless integration between the physical and virtual components, including elements of consistent branding, clear communication, and interaction.

Engaging both physical and virtual attendees is often overlooked in hybrid events. While organizers pay most attention to ensuring customers engage with the content, they often neglect engaging the offline and online audience.

Coming up with meaningful activities to connect online and offline audiences is very beneficial, as it helps to create a more personalized and engaging experience for the customers. It does not have to be difficult or time-consuming, as there is a variety of easy-access participatory tools available for this particular purpose, even on most of the event platforms.

InEvent created a dual customer journey map, which we modified and utilized during HybridNinja trainings. The modified journey map highlights the most important things that should be taken into consideration during creation of hybrid events (see Attachment 1 below).

ATTACHMENT 1. The journey map highlights important things to take into consideration during creation of hybrid events.

The Hybrid Ninja project is funded by the European Social Fund (REACT-EU) as part of the European Union’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.