Meet Illuminate by Hopin, a shared experience that redefined hybrid

Meet Illuminate by Hopin, a shared experience that redefined hybrid

Highlighting the potential of hybrid with Hopin’s highest ever NPS

As an all-in-one event management platform that helps people come together for meaningful shared experiences no matter where they are in the world, Hopin is known for pushing boundaries. So, expectations were high for the company’s first-ever hybrid event and Hopin delivered with it’s highest NPS score of any Hopin event to date: 8.8.

Eager to showcase the potential hybrid has to offer, the Hopin team produced Illuminate by Hopin, an event in July of 2021 that bridged and connected online and in-person experiences. Event professionals had the opportunity to attend Illuminate on site at the JW Marriott Hotel in Los Angeles, California, to take in Hopin’s in-person event solutions, or virtually via Hopin’s Virtual Venue. 

"Hybrid is a big topic amongst event organizers, trying to figure out how to do it and where to start. And we thought it was really important for us as the leading shared experiences platform to have our own hybrid event, to really showcase how it's done, and bring together both the virtual audience that we find with so many of our events with an on-site audience for the first time ourselves." –Brianna Haag, Director of Demand Generation, Hopin

Heading into summer of 2021, with safety being of highest priority, Hopin put extensive requirements in place for in-person attendees, including rapid testing for COVID-19, socially distant event spaces, and color-coded wristbands that signaled to fellow guests what each attendee’s comfort level was when it came to physical contact. By highlighting these safety measures clearly in pre-event communication, Hopin quickly built a guest list of more than 100 clients and partners who were happy to attend Illuminate for an intimate in-person experience.

The team drove registration and buzz among virtual attendees by offering early bird registrants the chance to win a VIP meet-and-greet with the event's keynote speaker, Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai. They also focused on accessibility, using Hopin’s integration with Kudo to offer interpretation in multiple languages as well as closed captioning on all content. 

Illuminate was also Hopin’s first foray into solicited sponsorships. Sponsors received promotion before the event and across Illuminate content. They also had virtual booths in Illuminate's online expo area, with dedicated team members from Hopin helping them with set up and branded deliverables. These low-lift but highly inclusive sponsorship packages were an instant success, and Hopin quickly landed HubSpot, Sendoso, Prezi, Snapbar, and KUDO as Illuminate sponsors.

Presenter wearing dark blazer on Illuminate stage while guest speaker is on large screen
Presenter wearing dark blazer on Illuminate stage while guest speaker is on large screen

"Attendees actually shared with us that if we had not put in place the [safety] measures we did, they wouldn't have felt comfortable attending. I think that was an important confirmation for us: to know that creating a safe space in this environment and the world that we are in today is incredibly important."

Lauren Sommers
VP of Corporate Marketing, Hopin

Building a bridge between virtual and in-person

On the day of Illuminate, Hopin had a dedicated team for the virtual portion and a separate team for the in-person experience. By splitting the event management, each team could focus on the unique requirements of their audience to deliver the best experience possible. To ensure consistent messaging and maintain a connection between the two audiences, both teams worked out of the same on-site control room where they could collaborate. The result was a seamless event free of any issues for attendees, speakers, or sponsors.

In-person attendees got to test drive Hopin’s on-site capabilities, which were – at the time – newly acquired through Boomset. Using event-branded kiosks, attendees could check in with a QR code, print their customized name badges, and scan their vaccination cards. After checking in, guests were treated to a selection of food and drinks as well as music from a live band.

Virtual attendees didn't miss the fun. The Hopin team used an impressive array of cameras around the physical stage, including cranes and jibs for boom shots. This allowed the virtual events team to live stream incredible footage of the band to virtual attendees – all with the type of production value and camera angles you'd usually associate with a festival or late-night talk show.

This high production value was a cornerstone throughout Illuminate, as speakers from Salesforce, Marriott, Pinterest, Gap, and Gainsight shared insights on the future of the events industry. Hopin’s CEO, Johnny Boufarhat, also delivered an update on the latest Hopin news and product features. And there was plenty of behind-the-scenes content showing how Illuminate was built. With an impressive agenda of speakers, attendees were engaged throughout the experience with guests such as Casper te Kuile who highlighted the power of rituals to Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai who closed the show with a discussion on global education and equity for girls.

“I really think our event had a perfect mix of speaker types. We had customer stories. We had a keynote from Johnny talking about some product announcements. We had entertainment. We had an uplifting message with Malala [...] I think that having that combination kept the audience engaged.” –Justin Siegel, Brand Partnerships Manager, Hopin

Many aspects of the on-site event were mirrored virtually. For example, Illuminate had several physical booths also present in the virtual expo area, such as a Snapbooth where in-person attendees could print photos uploaded to an online gallery and a G2 booth where in-person attendees could leave virtual reviews.

To further bridge the gap between attendees, Hopin used its app to connect the two worlds via interactive features like Q&As, polls, and live chat. Virtual and in-person attendees had two-way communication, could vote in the same polls, and had opportunities to ask speakers questions, which were displayed on the virtual stream and across physical screens on-site. Attendees could also connect via Hopin's one-to-one and group video networking features, which were set up to match in-person attendees with virtual attendees. 

All of this interactivity kept both audiences highly engaged throughout Illuminate. So, when Hopin announced a new integration with GoFundMe during the event, they already had their audience’s attention and, in turn, the event quickly raised $10,000 for charities supporting education.

No items found.

The Hopin features that led to hybrid success

The Hopin team used a range of features to bring their first hybrid event to life, including:

  • Ticketing: The ability to tie different ticket types to offers and event access was a key part of Hopin’s pre-event communication strategy.
  • Audience engagement: Polls, Q&A, and live chat during the event made presentations interactive and provided valuable data for Hopin's product team. 
  • Hopin app: Both physical and virtual attendees used the Hopin app to ask speakers questions throughout the event. 
  • Networking: Through the strategic use of the networking feature, in-person and virtual attendees could connect with one another. 
  • Expo: On-site booths had virtual counterparts in Illuminate’s expo area, including a Snapbooth for event photos and a G2 booth for reviews. Sponsors could connect with attendees via their virtual booths, and then download a list of interested leads after the event.
  • Sessions: Hopin hosted intimate breakout sessions and panel discussions, including a private meet-and-greet with keynote speaker, Malala Yousafzai. 
  • GoFundMe integration: The Hopin team leveraged its new GoFundMe integration to raise $10,000 for women's education during Illuminate.
  • Kudo integration: Hopin's integration with Kudo provided the ability to translate event content into various languages and  offered closed captioning for improved accessibility.
  • In-person technology: After acquiring Boomset, Hopin was able to provide all the latest in on-site event technology, from seamless waiver signature and collection functionality to vaccination card scanning and customized badge printing. 
  • Reporting: Insights from the event including audience engagement, sponsored booth interactions, and more are vital to informing future event strategy


Languages available for content




Of attendees director level or above

"[How we shot the event] gave you [the virtual audience] a sense that you were there, and that was the goal of this event - to make people feel like even if they were millions of miles away, that they were in the room."

Lauren Sommers
VP of Marketing, Hopin

The possibilities of hybrid

Attendees raved about Illuminate's format, high production value, and their overall experience. They praised Hopin for setting the new standard on what hybrid events should look like going forward. Months after the event, customers still regularly ask the Hopin team for advice on how to replicate aspects of Illuminate for their own events.

Event sponsors and partners were also impressed with the engagement and leads they saw from their virtual expo booths. Kudo even reached out to members of the Hopin team to highlight the number of inquiries they received from Illuminate attendees who were interested in incorporating language interpretation and translation into their events.

Hopin's reporting capabilities also helped put some numbers to the anecdotal feedback. Illuminate had the highest NPS score of any Hopin event to date: 8.8. Detailed analysis of which event areas and content attendees engaged with provided Hopin’s experiential marketing team with plenty of guidance to inform future event strategy.

"Illuminate, it set the gold standard for us as far as what we will strive to be [...] We want to learn from every event that we do. We don't want to make old mistakes. We want to make new mistakes by pushing the boundaries. So that's what we have done, we've taken all of the information, and we continue to evolve our events against that, making sure that we continue to create spaces and experiences that are meaningful for everyone." –Lauren Sommers, VP of Corporate Marketing, Hopin

With Illuminate’s success, Hopin plans to continue shining a light on the future of the events industry and redefining what a meaningful shared experience can be.




Virtual NPS score


Countries represented

2+ Hours

Average attendee time spent in event


Dollars raised for charity

"I've been on a ton of calls with prospects and customers talking about how we built this. And so that is to me validation that we did something that is meaningful and that people will take away as a template of how they should build [hybrid] going forward."

Lauren Sommers
VP of Corporate Marketing, Hopin

Lots of virtual audience buzz

No items found.

Want to learn more?

Reach out to our sales team or try Hopin Events first!