Hybrid events are events that can happen both in-person and virtually, giving the attendees the opportunity to decide how they want to participate in the event. Both in-person and virtual attendees have the same benefits of engaging with speakers, interacting with sponsors, and networking amongst themselves.
The pandemic forced us to change our daily routine in different aspects, but mostly it changed the way we communicate with one another. We have adjusted our engagement with others through virtual meetings and conferences throughout this difficult time. When the pandemic comes to its desirable end, the question arises whether we are going back to our face-to-face interactions or if the online events are coming to stay. Recently, due to the relief of the Covid restrictions, we already have a strong impression of what is going to prevail. Different digital conferencing companies decided to venture in what is more likely to become the future: hybrid events. This combination of in-person and online participants, has significant advantages that make this model the best of both worlds.
Change is coming to stay and that is why we are here to present you 7 reasons why Hybrid events will be the future of conferencing and networking:
1. Hybrid Events: Increased reach and more attendance
With Hybrid events, your event can reach massive numbers of attendees considering both live audience as well as virtual audience. An in-person event can lead to restrictions in terms of the size of the location where the event is taking place and the number of participants that can attend. With Hybrid events you can have the same number of participants or more online that you have in-person. This way, you can increase your reach and maximize the capacity of your event to its full potential. Moreover, this combination enables attendees who cannot be physically present at these locations, to join the event virtually via an online platform. The possibility occurs to have speakers from all over the world virtually present in your event in the comfort of their accommodations that otherwise could not be possible.
2. Reduction of Event Costs
In-person events have significant costs and the more people you have attending your live event, the higher those costs. Hybrid events will help you save money by reducing the number of in-person attendees which will help to reduce travel, venue, catering, and other costs. However, planners still need to consider the costs for the virtual component of the event such as the online platform, audio and cameras required to stream the event to the remote participants. Despite this, the costs of the virtual segment will be lower than the in-person component. For the participants, joining online it´s profitable as well, since all they need is a stable internet connection, and they are all set!
3. Higher Engagement with The Audience
The addition of a virtual element to your event broadens your engagement opportunities with your audience, not only during the event but in the days and weeks that follow. Virtual attendees can actively participate from their mobile devices, tablets, or desktop computers. This means, they can comment, ask questions, share and like, and interact with other participants. Joining these network activities is not exclusively meant for remote participants, but for in-person attendees as well. While being in the location of the event, they can promptly network with virtual attendees and engage in the same online activities listed above. Usually, through an event app that will connect all attendees of the event.
4. More Sponsorship Opportunities
Hybrid events will bring more sponsorship opportunities for different reasons. With the increased reach of joining virtually, there will be more attendees and therefore, the sponsors will be able to reach a larger audience. Sponsors will have the ability of participating in the event too by setting up virtual event booths and eventually, giving presentations via video conference. In addition, a hybrid event allows you to have more sponsors, besides the ones for the event venue, due to the digital component of the event.
5. Reduction of The Environmental Impact
Traveling is one of the most significant contributors to CO2 emissions (Source: World in Data) and in-person events will always require short or long travelling to get to the location of the event. This opens the possibility to organize an event with a sustainable mindset while increasing your reach to other cities and countries. For those attendees who are concerned with reducing their environmental footprint, they have the opportunity to join an in-person event online. This will allow for the attendees to be a part of the event, have the same benefits as any other participant, while doing a responsible activity to decrease carbon emissions.
6. Huge Marketing Opportunities
The engagement advantages of hybrid events also lead to huge marketing opportunities. After the marketeers establish their target audience for the event, they will be able to relish several perks that were already mentioned in this article. First, their target will be magnified in terms of people, which means that they will reach and maximize their impact in the audience. They will have access to all the feedback, recorded sessions and data that was received throughout the event. This also means that they have the possibility to analyze that content and if the results were satisfying, use it to create marketing campaigns advertising their next event.
7. Flexibility of the Event
Lastly, hybrid events have a problem-solving characteristic. If you are having an in-person event and if certain circumstances keep you from attending the event on its location, hybrid events can save the occasion! It is normal to have unexpectable setbacks and there are multiple circumstances that hybrid events could rescue. For instance, lately, the Covid restrictions have been changing very abruptly and therefore, it is extremely difficult for a participant to guarantee their presence. If you are attending or hosting a hybrid event, you will always have a back-up plan! You will have the possibility of switching some of the in-person attendees to virtual participants. That way, there will be no need to cancel the event and worry about the excessive financial costs.
Verdict on hybrid events
The seven arguments presented above are just some of the many reasons why Hybrid events are worthwhile with their sustainable, profitable, and accessible characteristics. Other benefits of having a hybrid event include easier access to data from in-person and remote attendees through surveys and pools; the opportunity to record your event and reuse it for distinct purposes; and provide security and safety for those attendees who are understandably concerned with Covid-19 and the restrictions imposed by their government.
With this said, we recommend you explore this innovative meeting mechanism and be amazed with the results of your events. Come be a part of the future!
Author: Rita Villas-Boas