Intro – what is it?
Hybrid events incorporate the best parts of a virtual event and an in-person event. These events mix elements of real-life and the virtual world in a beautifully effective way, bringing people together on-site and online. Whether you’re attending from home or in person, every participant is promised a unique, engaging, and seamless experience.
The pandemic changed the way we communicate, and pushed us to adapt video conferencing platforms into our day-to-day interactions. With the pandemic coming to an end, the question we are all asking is; will these new norms stick?
As Covid restrictions continue to lift, industry leaders have shown us the difficulties of remaining solely online, but they’ve also shown us the difficulties of returning to a pre-pandemic standard. The answer? It’s time to make a shift towards a hybrid event future.
What does hybrid mean?
A hybrid event is open to both in-person and online attendees; it can be joined by people in different time zones, from any place in the world, while still offering the in-person experience to those able to travel.
The experience for both types of attendees—virtual and in-person—share the same experience. This approach prioritizes flexibility, which business leaders are starting to recognize as an essential feature of the post-Covid business world.
We broke down the top 10 benefits of having an event held in a hybrid format brings.
Reduced environmental impact
Since there will be fewer 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!
Increased Audience Size
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. With a hybrid event, these limitations become a thing of the past.
Better Accessibility Standards
All in-person events have limits, but virtual events allow you to easily host 10,000+ people all at the same time – with no “bad seat”. When we’re speaking strictly about accessibility, virtual events will almost always come out on top.
Greater Access and Inclusion
For centuries the disabled community and individuals who cannot afford child care have not been able to participate in many in-person events. This is extremely unfortunate when we consider how many useful resources and information they’re missing out on. Having an event or meeting in a hybrid format is a great way to act as an ally to these communities and individuals.
“Virtual events may very well be a permanent part of the landscape. This is welcome news for members of the disability community, who have advocated all along for virtual access to events, health care, school, and work. And while many events are attempting a ‘rush back to normalcy’, disability advocates are adamant that there’s no need to return to strictly in-person attendance, especially when doing so will once again raise inequitable barriers to entry.” (source)
Hybrid events are fairly new and by adapting to them now you will be getting ahead of competitors in your industry. By providing an exceptionally professional and refined hybrid event or conference others will look to you as a leader.
Promotes community building
A hybrid event has the power to transform your event into an online community of attendees that can engage 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 said community. Plus, it enables you to continue communicating with your audience even after the event has finished.
Reduction in event costs
In-person events aren’t cheap – and as attendee numbers increase, unfortunately so does the cost. Lowering the number of in-person attendees means a reduction in travel, accommodation, venue, catering, and so much more. In contrast, when we increase our online audience, we have a better opportunity to increase our return on investment (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!).
Opportunity for Larger ROI
Building from the increased audience size, not only do you gain revenue from the additional attendees, you also gain the opportunity to increase your brand awareness, generate more leads on your website, and increase your client retention and satisfaction rate.
You also have the opportunity to reach a larger audience with targeted ads, streamlining your short-term marketing strategy.
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 more effective marketing campaigns, plan better 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.
Hybrid events offer a significant advantage by enabling cross-platform interactions. Namely; interactions between online participants on the virtual event platform with the in-person attendees at the event venue. This opens the opportunity to invite guest speakers that would have otherwise been inaccessible.
The same goes for attendees—those who cannot attend the in-person event due to travel restrictions, or high cost, are afforded the opportunity to engage and participate with both the audience and the speaker.
As business leaders such as Adrian Barrack (editorial director of Inclusive Media) have shared, the future to events is hybrid. Hybrid event strategies represent flexibility – an important feature of the post-Covid world. It is a way to bring people together in a way that recognizes and reflects the changed nature of the world. Here at FCCF, we can help turn your hybrid event ambitions into reality.
Plan your hybrid event with us
We have the equipment and you have the idea. Work with us to develop a hybrid event that is one worth remembering. Our team is equipped with all the AV equipment you need to launch your next hybrid event!