As the coronavirus pandemic came into light in 2020, event planners and digital marketers pivoted towards virtual conferences and events. Virtual events came as an aid in the uncertain times to bring people under one roof virtually. It helped many organizations around the world to keep the business running even in the time of global crisis.
Nowadays, the internet is full of ample virtual event platforms for your business, selecting the one depends upon your requirements. A platform that offers interactive and engaging features is the best to go with as it helps in delivering immersive event experiences. Live chats, polls, surveys, Q&A sessions, quizzes, gamification, twitter wall, etc. are some of the most common features of a virtual conference platform that keep the audience engaged throughout the sessions.
Even after the world recovers from COVID-19, people may still remain skeptical in attending an on-ground event. Recent studies state that virtual hybrid events are the future of the event industry. Virtual hybrid meetings and conferences have now become a crucial aspect of every industry. Organizations that have never thought about moving their meetings and conferences online are today heavily relying on virtual hybrid conferences. Organizing hybrid conferences and hybrid meetings come with some major perks that can not be achieved with in-person events.
Events hosted on hybrid conference platforms enable you to connect and network with people globally. Apart from it, leveraging hybrid video conferencing helps organisers to increase participation, engagements, ROI with a reduction in expenses & carbon footprint.
In this article, we have shared a brief insight into hybrid conferences, benefits, and tips for a successful hybrid conference. To have a walkthrough of hybrid conferences, scroll down:
What is a Hybrid Conference?
A hybrid conference is defined as a gathering of people in-person as well as in a virtual environment. Hybrid conference integrates on-ground live attendance and virtual attendees together.
A hybrid conference is organized in a physical location with a virtual component attached to it. It enables attendees to attend a conference in-person. The attendees who are unable to make a physical presence at the conference can attend the conference virtually. It is organized on an interactive and engaging virtual hybrid conference platform to bring both the audience in the same frame. An interactive virtual hybrid conference platform allows attendees to connect with other attendees, share information, and ask questions in real-time.
The engaging features of virtual event platforms such as live audio and video chats and the ability to organize live polls, surveys, games, etc helps in delivering the incredible event experiences to attendees.
In short, we can say, hybrid conferences bring the essence of both the formats, in-person conferences, and virtual conferences together. Simply it means, attendees can attend the conference virtually from anywhere or even opt to visit the physical venue.
Benefits of Hybrid Conference
Leveraging hybrid video conferencing has become the latest trend as it has many benefits to serve. There is no doubt, hybrid events are the future of every industry and offer them valuable perks. Everyday digital marketers and planners are coming up with brilliant hybrid conference ideas to keep attendees engaged throughout the sessions. Let’s have a look at some merits of hosting a hybrid conference:
#1. Increased Audience Attendance
In-person conferences often result in falling out of the most important members due to geographical constraints or space limitations. Hybrid conferences overcome such roadblocks and enable attendees from any corner of the world to attend a conference virtually. It allows participants to tune in from any browser and device to attend an ongoing live conference and share their relevant feedback. They can even ask direct questions to speakers in real-time. Interested participants who miss out on attending a live event due to geographical constraints or expenses can easily participate in hybrid conferences. However hybrid conferences result in increased audience attendance which is much more in the count when compared to physical conferences.
#2. Higher Engagements
Live polls, surveys, live audio and video chats, ability to organize Q & A sessions, quizzes, etc are some of the engaging features of virtual conference platforms. Engaging features offered by an interactive platform prevent the audience from falling out amid sessions. It helps in boosting better engagements by keeping them engaged throughout. The audience can ask questions directly to speakers and network with other attendees as well in real-time.
#3. Reduced Costs
Hybrid conference results in lowering the expenses for all the parties involved. Attendees who live at a distance and can not afford to travel to the venue can attend a hybrid conference virtually. However, it results in reducing the cost of booking travel tickets, accommodation, food, etc. considerably. Whereas it relieves organizers to book a larger space and pay for arrangements & accommodation of speakers as they can tune in from their remote locations.
#4. Reduce Carbon Footprint
As hybrid conferences split the attendees into two halves virtual and in-person thus it results in a reduction of carbon emissions. A recent survey reports that in-person conferences result in releasing a lot of waste and carbon emissions. However, hybrid conferences are an eco-friendly alternative to host large-scaled conferences.
#5. Measuring Performance Metrics
Measuring the overall success of the hybrid conference is much easier than in-person conferences. Right from the registration till the event ends, every move of the attendees, what they shared, downloaded, interacted is tracked. Moreover, it helps in measuring the success of the hybrid conference for future references.
Some Tips to Ensure the Success of the Hybrid Conference
Hosting a hybrid conference comes with enormous merits. To reap the benefits of a hybrid conference, you need to follow some tips to make your hybrid conference successful.
#1. Determine the Objective and Audience
The objective of hosting a virtual or hybrid conference should be clear in the mind of organizers to achieve the desired outcome. The audience you want to target both in-person and virtual ones should be clear in the mind to amplify engagements. During planning a hybrid conference, keep time zone consideration in mind if you target a global audience to ensure maximum attendance.
#2. Create Engaging Content
The content prepared for in-person conferences or solely virtual conferences does not fit in a hybrid conference format. You can organize polls and Q & A sessions after a keynote speaker’s speech to engage audiences and deliver value to them. Keep the sessions short to prevent it from getting monotonous.
#3. Take Advantage of Technology
As technology has advanced, platforms started offering engaging features. Organize games such as spin the wheel, quizzes, etc. amid long sessions to prevent attendees from falling out. In short, select the best hybrid event platform that offers engaging and interactive features.
#4. Promote in Advance
Develop an effective marketing plan to promote your hybrid conference in advance. You can opt to send direct mails, public relations, social media marketing, etc. to promote your upcoming conference and make your audience aware.
#5. Boost Interactions During Hybrid Conference
Virtual attendees may not feel as if they are watching a youtube video. To make your hybrid conference successful, make it interactive. Encourage the audience to participate in the polls, Live Chats, Q&A sessions, quizzes and share their valuable feedback.
The hybrid conference does not end with a finish line. Make a follow-up plan to measure the success of the conference. It helps you to gather the data and know the areas where you need to improvise for your next event.
Hybrid conferences come with endless possibilities. To reap its benefits and make a hybrid conference successful a little planning and strategizing is a must.
In conclusion, with adequate planning and following the above tips achieving success becomes easy with hybrid conferences.