Hybrid and virtual events are here for the long run. Although the events and meetings industry was eagerly waiting for the return of in-person events, the emerging trend of hosting events virtually has resulted in innovative options to even enhance on-site experiences in the future.
From video production and immersive event design to innovative platform features, which increase audience size and global reach, there has been a huge technological advancement in the event industry. This post dwells on what is a hybrid event and everything you need to know. But first;
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What are Hybrid Events?
A hybrid event refers to an event combining the aspects of both in-person, face-to-face event and virtual events elements. This unique use of both aspects of physical and virtual elements of the event provides an accessible and complete experience regardless of physical presence or location. Hybrid events are convenient to attend while providing more engagements than physical events.
Suppose you’ve ever hosted an in-person event before. In that case, you understand that it takes a lot of energy and effort to bring together attendees, industry experts, and inhibitors to the exact location at the same time. To host an in-person event successfully, you need a considerable amount of resources and time. Hosting virtual events is easier, although they might dampen the experiences of the people with poor network coverage or within the area who might want to attend that event in person. A hybrid model makes everybody happy and features other benefits too. Hybrid events can be divided into three distinct types, as explained below.
Categories of Hybrid Events
The event happens at a physical location with a parallel virtual audience. All the integrated touchpoints for hybrid events take place in the presentation. For instance, the physical attendees are in attendance while the virtual audience follows the event via a live stream. Interactions like Q&A happen via chat box for the virtual attendees while the in-person attendees pose their questions face-to-face to the speaker.
In this kind of hybrid event, the virtual and physical events happen at different times. However, the exhibitors, content, and sponsorships can be similar, although the virtual and the hybrid aspects happen differently. In sequential hybrid events, cross-networking isn’t involved among the audience during the event. A mobile event management application might facilitate physical event networking.
Easily deemed to be the future of hybrid events, complex hybrid events is the most popular type. It allows virtual and physical events to happen simultaneously, with the same sponsors, exhibitors, and content. It features several cross-networking touchpoints facilitated by an event management application, including polls, chats, matchmaking across the audience, Q&A discussion boards, among other features that allow interactions. Some complex hybrid events may also feature an online check-in and screening technology.
Organising a Hybrid Event
Picking Content and an Event Theme of Your Interest
The success of your hybrid event depends on engaging and exciting content which speaks directly to the target audience. Remember, some of the audience is following the event online. Therefore, ensure that you understand them and craft your agenda to encompass the hot issues it wants to hear about. The presenters should be engaging.
Define the Scope And Agenda Of Your Event
Upon deciding on the theme, you should plan the agenda and scope of the hybrid event. What kinds of physical and virtual aspects would you like to add? After considering your budget, target audience, type of event, event size, and goals, come up with these. Also, consider the time constraints.
Select a Hybrid and Virtual Event Platform that can Meet Your Needs
Having or choosing the right platform for the event is key to hosting a successful hybrid event. The hybrid events that have the highest effectiveness go past webinars and basic live streaming to engage their online audience fully and pull them into the physical event as close as they possibly can in real-time.
It is vital to ensure you make the right choices to realise such a level of engagement. Selecting a platform with appropriate features is critical to achieving a good level of involvement and engagement. This is vital when planning multi-functional events, including registration options, tiered pricing, concurrent sessions, numerous live streams, synchronised video sessions, on-demand video, and accurate statistical analytics.
Consider New Methods of Audience Engagements
When it comes to adding engaging and innovative features to the event and being creative to keep the audience engaged, this hosting of events offers many options. This is specifically true in a virtual world.
Pace Fast And Sessions Short To Keep The Audience Attention
The attention spans of the online audience are short. Therefore, it is critical to keep pace in a hybrid event. Besides using a live emcee to keep things moving and interesting, you should ensure the sessions are brief. This means ensuring that the presenters know there isn’t room for error in a virtual setting.
The Benefits Of Hybrid Events
With a hybrid event, you can retain your in-person attendees while ensuring those who want to attend the event online can. Thus, you can reach the people living far from your venue or even officials located in other countries. Those that cannot travel because of complications like health or costs also get to attend your meeting.
More engagement options
In a hybrid event, you can live stream meetings and guest speakers so that the virtual and in-person participants can see them and also ensure the availability of the content on-demand even after the event. The attendees can re-watch the sessions the number of times they want. They can also participate in polls, Q&As, chats, among other engagements, both in-person and through the event management platform.
Greater Value For The Sponsors
Vendors and sponsors of the event have an opportunity to reach a large audience because of the convenience of the hybrid events. Besides reaching the in-person attendees, they can also contact the virtual participants that couldn’t make it into the physical location, ensuring that their brand sells far and wide. The high exposure for the sponsors means more sponsorship revenues for your organisation. This means it is a win-win for the organiser and the sponsor.
Higher Return on Investment (ROI)
As indicated above, a hybrid event is a classic example of a win-win situation. The ROI is the main goal for an event planner. By selling the tickets to virtual and physical attendees, you increase the sales, meaning more returns from your event. Additionally, reaching a high audience might drive conversions and brand exposure.
Hybrid events have a high ROI and provide a win-win situation, no matter where you are in the event planning. Besides Augmenting physical events, it also ensures all the benefits of an online event.
However, as indicated above, there are several things to keep in mind to realise the benefits of a hybrid event, you can checkout here. Because of their many returns, hybrid events will remain even in the future.