It’s hard not to notice the traction hybrid events are getting right now, especially given the implications the pandemic has had on gathering large crowds of people together. That’s not to say every event planner is suddenly well-versed in the world of hybrid though, which can definitely feel daunting if you’re new to all things virtual.
The important thing to remember is that hybrid events don’t necessarily have to take place on a grand scale with virtual reality elements and other high-spec tech. There are some really user-friendly tools out there that can help you take your events partly online without too much fuss. And there are plenty of rewards to be reaped from doing so.
Let’s take a look.
What exactly is a hybrid event?
The definition of a hybrid event is simply an event that has both in-person and virtual elements. But it goes a little deeper than just live-streaming an event so people can watch it online too. Hybrid events should really incorporate some level of interactivity – for both the in-person attendees and those attending the event virtually. For example, virtual audience members should be able to ask questions of the speaker, or participate in group discussions via live chat or video conferencing tools.
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What are some hybrid event examples?
Most types of event can benefit from going hybrid, but some examples of events that lend themselves particularly well to this format are:
Why choose a hybrid event format? 10 key benefits
You’re event will have much greater reach
What happens when you remove all travel barriers from attending an amazing event? You open it up to a vast new audience – one that you only could have dreamed of reaching before. Nice.
You’ll be making your event more inclusive and accessible
While in-person events should be inclusive and accessible anyway, taking them partly online is a great way to embrace this sentiment even further. Think about the working parents who can’t find the time to travel to a conference, or those who perhaps don’t feel able to due to mental health challenges. By providing virtual access to your event, you're opening its doors to a much wider range of people who may not otherwise have felt included.
You’ll be increasing engagement at your event
Live audience engagement is notoriously difficult, and even harder to measure when it comes to your event success metrics. Engaging an audience virtually, on the other hand, opens up a massive array of new engagement opportunities, which also happen to be easy to quantify. For example, you can get both in-person and virtual audience members to interact with your event via live-polling, Q&A sessions and even social media. Not only are you increasing engagement by doing so, you’re building up a bank of tangible data about your event.
You’ll open up many more sponsorship opportunities
The more people you reach through the virtual elements of your event, the more attractive it becomes to those all-important sponsors. Imagine how much more enticing your offering would become if you could say you were reaching 10 times as many people as you were with your previous, solely in-person event. Going hybrid also means sponsors have more avenues to utilise, from having their collateral displayed across your live-streams to sponsoring their own dedicated virtual breakout rooms.
You can lower your event’s impact on the environment
By going hybrid, you’re able to drastically increase the scale of your event without the need for hiring a larger venue, or increasing travel emissions. You can also actively look to downsize the in-person part of your event, reducing its environmental impact even further. Bingo.
You’ll simultaneously be making marketing collateral
Anything you livestream at your hybrid event can also be recorded, meaning you’ll be creating an instant back catalogue of marketing materials. You can use clips to promote future events, or even to generate leads by making them downloadable from your website.
You’re event will feel relevant and in keeping with changing times
Never has working remotely felt more relevant – and necessary. It’s true, the networking landscape is changing rapidly, meaning professional events of all shapes and sizes need to keep up. Going hybrid is one of, if not the best way to do this, we reckon.
You’ll be better protected against the need to cancel
Having to cancel a live event is gut-wrenching. If your event is hybrid, though, you stand to lose much less should this happen to you. In essence, you’ll already be equipped to carry out a large portion of your event online, meaning you won’t simply have to write the whole thing off. Phew.
There’ll be more scope to turn a higher profit
This benefit kind of pulls together all the points we’ve covered so far. Making your event hybrid means you can reach much wider audiences, reduce the costs associated with venue hire and tech, and generally improve your brand image by being more up to date and environmentally friendly. All that’s sure to make for juicier profit opportunities, right?
You’ll have access to a wider talent-pool
When you remove travel barriers to your event, you not only make it easier for your audience to attend, you make it easier for speakers and other talent to get involved too. That inspiring industry leader you’ve wanted to get on board for ages but haven’t been able to because of distance? Now you can have them deliver a talk virtually at your event!
Hybrid events may feel daunting at first, but they really don’t need to be. And with benefits like these, there’s no doubt that they're worth every ounce of effort – and then some.