How to Optimize the Onsite Experience at Hybrid Events


Hybrid events give us the opportunity to remove inefficiencies from the live event experience, like long wait times, incomplete data collection, and more.

How Can I Optimize the In-Person Experience at Hybrid Events? 

We’ve heard a lot about how to execute the virtual side of a hybrid event. But hybrid events also give us the opportunity to remove inefficiencies from the live event experience, like long wait times, awkward networking conversations, incomplete data collection, sold-out sessions, and more. Learn how to alleviate all of the inefficiencies — and a host standout hybrid event — below: 

How can I optimize the onsite experience at my hybrid event? 

  1. Provide a smooth welcome with check-in 

Once people register for your event, set them up for success with a comprehensive, customized check-in flow. Sounds snazzy, but what does that mean? 

At check-in, allow attendees to quickly do everything they need to have a stress-free event experience: On BigMarker, you could have them customize their event badge and create the Virtual Business Card that they’ll use to network with other attendees. They can even submit their vaccine card to the event host if necessary (and save themselves time and stress on event day). . 

They can also pre-register for sessions during check-in: Add a Choose Your Event Schedule step to your virtual check-in flow so attendees can enroll in the sessions that best align with their interests. (That’s especially helpful if your most popular sessions are likely to get capped!) 

  1. Open the event site and app before your event begins 

Mobile event apps can help your in-person attendees check into sessions and navigate the event space, stream exclusive content and even find networking connections. This streamlines and simplifies the attendee experience. 

But if your attendees are just learning about the app while checking into the event, they may become frustrated or overwhelmed. That’s why we recommend opening up the event site to participants a few weeks before the event goes live. 

“Especially if you have not done a hybrid event before, we recommend giving people at least two weeks to get themselves comfortable with the app and check in,” says Rita Bloomquist, BigMarker’s Director of Marketing, ”When we think about technology adoption, it’s always better to give people a little bit more time to get their hands dirty with things and when they’re on site, they know exactly what they’re doing.” 

But it’s not just about avoiding tech issues: You can also open up networking and chat lounges before the main event, so your attendees can find and start chatting with relevant connections before the event itself. 

Want to drum up excitement before the big day? You can also post on-demand content in your event’s on-demand library or Media Hub. 

  1. Minimize wait times and capture more data with QR code badge scanning: 

There’s one thing that nobody misses from in-person events: those long, DMV-esque check-in lines. 

With their mobile event app, live attendees can scan a personalized QR code to gain entry to the event, as well as individual sessions and the Expo Hall. This minimizes wait times and reduces clumping at entrances, while also reducing the paperwork and staffing needed for organizers. (Note: We recommend having 1 staffer onsite for every 125 expected attendees.) 

Also, when they scan in, every attendee’s information is recorded in the mobile event app and included in your post-event reports. So your sales team will know exactly which attendees went to each session and sponsorship booth, minutes after your event ends. And once you give sponsors that juicy intel, they’re way more likely to sign onto another event. 

Better yet: You can use that information to provide more relevant content at your next event and create more value for attendees as well. . 

  1. Optimize networking with AI-powered matchmaking: 

Remember wandering through a convention and getting pulled into random conversations with no relation to your work? While there’s a time and place for chit-chat, it’s not during a one- or two-day professional event, where your time is already limited. That’s where AI-powered matchmaking comes in.
Using preferences submitted at registration — like job function, interests and seniority — an algorithm recommends like-minded attendees to one another for networking conversations. (Note: As the event organizer, you can determine which information feeds into the algorithm so you can tailor the experience to meet the needs of your event.) 

Attendees can check the app to see their matches and swipe “yes” or “no.” From there, they can meet for a video call or chat (if one of the parties is remote) or meet at the venue to chat (if both are in person).

This helps your attendees spark productive conversations with the right people way more quickly than they could without the app. In turn, they’ll see your event as more valuable…  and be more likely to return. 

  1. Increase engagement with unified Q&A 

Do well, question and answer sessions can create productive dialogues between attendees and presenters. This can go a long way toward making your gathering feel like an event, rather than a lecture. 

Now what if your in-person attendees don’t have a way to quickly submit questions on event day? They might feel left out and less likely to pay attention. What if moderators have to spend additional time sifting through questions to find the most relevant ones — or if they have to check two ? That makes the session more clunky and less relevant. 

But on BigMarker, virtual and in-person attendees can both submit questions in real-time, to the same platform. This creates a smoother, unified Q&A session for all parties. Here’s how it works: 

1. Virtual attendees ask questions online via the Q&A feature in the virtual venue.

2. In-person attendees ask questions via the app, contributing to the same feed.

3. Everyone can upvote their favorite questions, so the best ones rise to the top.

4. Moderators can ask the best questions, powered by good-old-fashioned democracy.

At a BigMarker event, these questioned can be projected onscreen and attendees can follow along via the mobile event app or the virtual venue, so they can always follow the action. And your audience gets their most pressing questions answered, no matter where they’re located.   

Here’s how it might look at a BigMarker event: 

  1. Help attendees locate sessions with way-finding

If you’re hosting a multi-track event in a sprawling conference center, it’s easy to get lost. To help attendees navigate the space, you either need to staff team members at every corner or spend additional money on physical signage. Either way, that requires unnecessary time and money from your team. 

But on BigMarker, you can upload a blueprint of your venue to the mobile event app. Attendees can then use the app to navigate to their next destination, without needing to pull a staff member aside for help. The result? Your attendees get where they need to go more quickly, and your team has more bandwidth to respond to higher-priority issues. 

  1. Track venue capacity with a mobile event app 

Imagine: You’ve got ten minutes between event sessions. Usually, that’d leave enough time to top up your coffee, squeeze in a bathroom break, and knock out a few emails. But your next session is sure to be popular, and you can’t bear to be squeezed out of this time. 

In the old days, you’d need to skip that coffee stop and sprint over to the session room — just in case.

But on the mobile event app, attendees can see which sessions are in danger of hitting capacity in real time. With that information, they can decide whether they can afford to squeeze in a quick coffee run before entering the room. And if the room does reach capacity, they can stream the session on their phone — or use the app to find alternative activities. 

Attendee benefits aside, this also helps hosts anticipate attendee flows and plan their program in response. So if your breakouts attracted more people than expected, you know not to send a push notification telling them to hit the sponsorship booths just yet. But if your sponsorship booths are looking really light? Time to tell attendees all about the new product demo happening at Acme Company’s booth. 

  1. Communicate updates via push notifications

Who doesn’t love hearing blaring updates over a loudspeaker every 10 minutes? Besides giving your attendees unfortunate flashbacks to middle school, this pulls them out of the event experience. 

Instead, consider communicating non-critical updates via push notifications on the mobile event app. Here, you can tell attendees about upcoming sessions or changes in the agenda, sponsorship activations, or networking opportunities. This way, you keep attendees up to date without interrupting their experience — while also drawing more traffic to traditionally under-exposed parts of your event. 

PS: On BigMarker, you can even customize these notifications with your own logo and colors, so it remains in lockstep with the rest of your event branding. 

  1. Send hot and cold leads directly to your sales team

At a live event, sponsors might talk to a very interested lead. Typically, the sponsor doesn’t have time to tell their sales team about these promising leads until after the event. 

And from traveling from the venue to catching up with other work, that could take hours if not days, 

And then sales team needs to reach out to everyone on the list. By then, the lead has probably forgotten about the company, or at least drastically lost interest. That reduces ROI for sponsors, making them less likely to work with you in the future. 

But on BigMarker, hosts and exhibitors can use a Badge Scanner App to scan leads, lead score them, leave notes, and export them.

In-person sponsors can make a note of hot leads, then send a note straight to their sales team — all on the app. Sales can then reach out to these people well before the event ends. Besides increasing ROI for sponsors, this also allows attendees to take advantage of free trials that caught their interest instead of, say, forgetting about them immediately after the event. 

(No time to send these notes during the event? No problem! These notes can be exported manually, or automatically at a pre-set time.) 

  1. Publish on-demand content on the mobile event app

Whether it’s due to scheduling conflicts or capped sessions, even live attendees might need to miss some of the action. Or maybe you want to further educate your audience on your topic. Or, two weeks after the event, you shot a podcast episode with a leader in the space. 

That’s why we recommend adding a Media Hub to your event app. Here, your audience can your audience can watch past keynotes, panels, and breakouts in an immersive, full-screen viewing experience. This way, your event content can draw attention for weeks or months after the event — and you can continue to educate them by adding new podcast episodes, blog posts, white papers, ebooks, etc..

Better yet, the Media Hub has the same robust reporting as your event does, so you can exactly who’s viewing each piece of content, how long they spent on it, and what offers/handouts they downloaded, etc., So by posting on-demand, you can continue to generate new leads well beyond event day. Sounds like a win-win to us.  

Want to brainstorm more unique ways to optimize the onsite experiences at your next hybrid event? Our team of hybrid event experts is here to help. Contact us at to schedule a demo and get started.

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