What is a Hybrid Event? Why companies are shifting towards a hybrid meeting model in the post-pandemic world.
Intro: Hybrid Events
Hybrid events involve the best parts of both virtual and an in-person events. These events have a mix of real-life and virtual aspects of hosting an event, bringing people together on-site and online. Whether people attend from home or decide to go in person, each participant has an engaging, unique, and seamless experience.
Covid-19 forced us to alter the way that we communicate, shifting the world toward a virtual conferencing model. With pandemic restrictions continuing to lift, the question we are all asking ourselves is: will these adaptations stick?
Over the course of the past year, industry leaders have shown us the difficulties of remaining solely online, as well as the difficulties of returning to completely in-office. The answer many have concluded is a shift towards a hybrid future.
What is a Hybrid Event?
A hybrid event is open to both in-person and online attendees; it can be joined by people on different time zones, from any place in the world while still offering the in-person experience to those able to travel and attend.
The experience for both types of attendees share the same experience. This approach prioritizes flexibility, which business leaders are starting to recognize as an essential feature of the new world.
Why is the Future Hybrid? 8 Benefits of Hybrid Events
1. Reduced Environmental Impact
Since there will be less people travelling and generally less waste produced, we will see a lower overall environmental impact. With all of the political debate surrounding topics like supply chain shortages, global warming, and plastic pollution, there is bound to be a shift in sustainable efforts made by corporations and therefore event managers. One of the ways we try to reduce our environmental impact is by using a website hosting service like GreenGeeks that contributes 3x the energy they consume back into the environment!
2. Increase Your Audience Size with Virtual Attendees
Due to the ease of access from a virtual standpoint, a hybrid event offers the ability to increase your audience size 10-fold. In-person events are often limited by the location and the size of the venue for the event room.
3. Create Better Accessibility Standards
All in-person events have limits, whereas virtual events allow you to easily host 10,000+ people all at the same time with no “bad seat”. Speaking strictly about accessibility, virtual events will almost always come out on top.
Quite often people miss out on events because of the need to travel, and hybrid events give attendees the opportunity to attend from the comfort of their own homes (while still hosting the in-person event for those who can attend).
Webinars have become so commonplace that they’re practically the standard for hosting workshops, conferences, and town halls. By giving your attendees that “stay at home” option, you give everyone a fair chance to access critical information, and that alone is a good enough reason to make your future events hybrid.
4. Promote (Virtual) Community Building
A hybrid event has the power to transform your event into an online community of attendees where they can continue engaging with both the brand and one another.
Hosting events both online and in-person creates the opportunity for businesses to leverage other digital platforms to foster a community of people to continue engaging with about the event contents when the event is over. Plus, it enables you to continue communicating with your audience for maintaining sustained engagement.
5. Reduce Your Event Costs
In-person events aren’t cheap. Plus, each attendee increases those costs. Lowering the number of in-person attendees also means a reduction in travel, accommodation, venue, catering, etc.
Additionally, while simultaneously increasing your online audience, you create a better opportunity for increased ROI.
For example, since you no longer need to increase your venue size to have a larger audience – you can keep your in-person capacity the same while increasing your virtual attendee capacity (which is a much lower cost!).
6. Create an Opportunity for Larger ROI
Building from the increased audience size, not only do you gain revenue from the additional attendees but you also gain the opportunity to increase your brand awareness, generate more leads on your website, and increase your client retention/satisfaction rate.
You also have the opportunity to reach a larger audience with targeted ads, streamlining your short-term marketing strategy.
7. Create Your Long-Term Marketing Plan with Better Metrics and Marketing
With the integration of digital technology in hybrid events, you can now collect more data than you ever could before. By reviewing the recordings, surveys, polls, and engagement statistics you can build detailed reports to create future marketing campaigns, plan events, and hone in on your target audience. These insights will give you the necessary information to maximize your ROI on future events and marketing campaigns.
8. Increase Your Event Participation
Hybrid events offer a significant advantage by enabling cross-platform interactions. There is interaction between online participants on the virtual event platform to the in-person attendees at the event venue. This opens the opportunity to invite guest speakers to present virtually if they cannot do so in person.
The same goes for attendees—those who cannot attend the in-person event due to travel restrictions, high cost, etc. are afforded the opportunity to engage and participate with both the audience and the speaker from the comfort of their own home.
As business leaders such as Adrian Barrack have shared, the future to events is hybrid. Hybrid event strategies represent flexibility – an important feature of the post-pandemic era. It is a way to bring people together in a way that recognizes and reflects the changed nature of the world.