With virtual events
becoming the new normal over the last couple of months, we've seen an incredible push for the events industry to adapt and innovate in order to create valuable experiences that go beyond the physical landscape. Now as we look forward to the future of events, we are seeing a new buzz word take over the conversation; "Hybrid Events"
. Hybrid events are certainly not a new concept. But as our industry innovates throughout this pandemic, our digital infrastructure strengthens and this new, more sophisticated events model will undoubtedly play an integral role in shaping the success of future events for many years to come.
In this post we'll break down everything you need to know about hybrid events and what tools you'll need in order to host one successfully. What are Hybrid Events?
A hybrid event is one that simultaneously combines a physical event with virtual elements, allowing online attendees to participate, learn and engage, even if they cannot physically attend the event. Not to be confused with live-streaming an event, hybrid events are the amalgamation of technology with the traditional event format to create unique experiences and interactions for both the in-person and virtual participants.
Some examples of incorporating hybrid elements include virtual Q&A and polling during live streams, virtual networking or breakout rooms and post event libraries of on demand content for all participants. The Benefits of Hybrid Events
The reasons for hosting a hybrid event don't necessarily differ from those for hosting in-person and virtual events; to deliver a message, engage and connect with an audience, generate brand loyalty and to drive leads and revenue. So why are event planners choosing to push the boundaries of traditional event models and navigate the complexities of hybrid events more than ever before? Well, aside from the obvious travel and social distancing restrictions currently in place, here some of the main benefits for going hybrid and why this model should be considered long after larger gatherings return to being considered fair game.
- Greater audience reach.
While many still prefer the in-person aspects of an event, the majority of people simply do not have the time, money or physical capacity to attend events in person. By offering a valuable online component for your event you'll be able to promote inclusivity and connect with a significantly larger and more diverse audience.
- Access to a larger pool of speakers.
Having quality speakers for your event is paramount, however most events are limited to budget, availability and location when it comes to locking in the right speakers. By removing these barriers, you can access a much larger pool of potential speakers, thereby adding to the overall value of the event.
Another major event trend recently has focused on event sustainability. Offering a hybrid element to your event gives your attendees the choice of participating in a more sustainable manner, thereby reducing your events' carbon footprint and positioning your company as a forward thinking and environmentally conscious organization.
- Extending engagement beyond the event day.
Focusing event resources towards creating engaging online content certainly benefits the virtual attendees. However, this also gives event organisers the benefit of being able to repurpose their content beyond the event day for broader marketing and communications channels.
- Sponsorship opportunities.
With hybrid events, you'll be able to offer sponsors greater value through broader audience exposure and a larger network of digital and in-person advertising avenues. And of course, more value to sponsors, means more sponsorship dollars for you!
- Richer event data and analytics.
Data is a powerful tool in determining what does and doesn't work for your event. A hybrid model allows you to take advantage of the stock of analytical tools at your disposal and easily track audience engagement. A larger audience base inherently increases your internal database, allowing for greater, more comprehensive demographic insights. You can also introduce polling and surveys that would otherwise be trickier to capture with in-person event registrants, further helping organisers and businesses refine and improve their content and structure for future events.