live and virtual hybrid event

Live event vs. virtual event—how can you choose? Maybe you don’t have to.

Hybrid events offer the best of both options. Attendees can participate from the comfort of home or via a live event space.


Many event managers worry that this option will be more expensive, but that’s not necessarily true. Because many of our clients are completely new to hybrid event planning, we decided to create a guide to help you create a budget—and more importantly, stick to it.


First, let’s get organized. It’s easiest to create a budget when you break the event down into two distinct parts: the live (physical) event elements and virtual (online) event elements. While we provide pricing guidelines for each element, please remember that these prices may vary widely, depending on your location, event size, and other factors.

Live Event Elements

You’re probably most familiar with typical event costs. Just in case, though, here’s a refresher:

  • Venue Rental: $0 to $2,000+ per hour
  • Emcee/DJ: $50 to $300 per hour
  • Staff: $10 to $40 per hour, per person, depending on skills and position
  • Hotel and Travel Costs: $200 to $400 per person, per day
  • Valet Parking: $300 to $500 per day
  • Decor, furniture rentals, etc.: $2,000 to $10,000 per day, though costs are much higher for more elaborate events
  • Permits and Other Fees: $0 to $1,000 per permit
  • Food and Drinks: $100 to $200 per person, per day
  • Social Distancing and Health Procedures and Equipment: $5 to $10 per person, possibly included with venue rental
  • Branded Elements (Banners, programs, badges, etc.): $1 to $200 per item

Virtual Event Elements

  • Event Planner/Assistant (A hybrid event typically requires two event planners, or an event planner and an assistant.): $20 to $100 per person, per hour
  • Emcee: $50 to $300 per hour
  • Technology Director: $20 to $50 per person, per hour
  • Social Media Staff (to moderate social media throughout the event): $10 to $25 per person, per hour
  • Online Event Platform: $5,000 to $15,000+
  • Studio (for staging purposes, if necessary): $100 to $500 per hour

Shared Costs

  • Audio-visual Equipment Rentals: $1,000 to $1,500
  • Audio-visual Crew: $300 to $500 per day, per crew member
  • Camera Crew: $500 to $1,000 per day, per camera operator
  • Speaker(s): $4,000 to $10,000 per professional, experienced speaker, $50,000 to $100,000 per celebrity speaker
  • Swag/Prizes: $2 to $8 per swag item, $50 to $1,000 for larger prizes
  • Marketing: $1,000 to $5,000+

Create Your Hybrid Event Budget

These numbers may be overwhelming, but hopefully, they give you a good place to start. If you’re hoping to cut costs, here are some things to consider.

Keep It Small

Events are often priced per person. If you want to keep the budget small, it’s best to keep the attendees to a minimum as well.

Offer Tiered Pricing

If you’re selling tickets, consider including pricing tiers. Attendees may be willing to pay a bit more for extra features. You could also charge more for the live event and offer lower prices for the virtual aspect.

Focus on ROI

It’s easy to get caught up in the fun and excitement of planning an event, but it’s best to keep your eye on the prize. Focus on the event elements that offer the greatest ROI (return on investment). Generally, these include items that “wow” your guests, like swag and prizes, popular speakers, and the venue. Marketing also tends to pack a lot of bang for the buck.

Hire a Production Company

A production company can help you create a strong budget for your hybrid event. We will walk you through the process, helping you decide where to focus your efforts and where to cut costs.


We’re event professionals just like you, and we know how to create a unique experience that your guests will remember for years. Reach out via our contact form with any questions; we’re always here to help.



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