Hybrid events were in existence long before COVID-19 took hold and impacted almost every nation entirely. With the sudden outbreak of a global pandemic, the event industry has experienced the major flux resulting in the cancellation of events. Organizers and marketers have shifted their events online on the interactive and engaging virtual event platforms to keep going.
The rate of virtual events has spiked up suddenly in the past few months. Virtual became immensely popular in no time. Today, the internet is full of virtual hybrid event platforms that offer comprehensive virtual hybrid event solutions. Right from hosting your recurring meetings, conferences to trade shows, exhibitions, career fairs, etc. virtual hybrid event platform serves all.
You are familiar with virtual events, but must be fencing about what are hybrid events? How are they beneficial to you? And so on. Let’s learn all the aspects of hybrid events in this article.
What exactly are Hybrid Events?
Well, to be precise hybrid events are a mix of live in-person events and virtual events. It combines both physical events and virtual event features. Hybrid events offer the flexibility of participating in the event virtually if you are not able to make it the physical location. It brings virtual attendees and on-ground attendees in the same frame. However, hybrid virtual events enable attendees to connect and network with each other in real-time via live chats.
Hybrid events allow attendees to attend the event from any corner of the world. It offers endless possibilities for attendees, organizers, speakers as well as sponsors with some major benefits in line.
Hybrid events bridge the gap between on-ground and virtual events thus adding more value to the event. Whether you are planning to host a virtual event, concert, conference, or a tradeshow, an interactive hybrid event platform caters all.
The hybrid event format is applicable in a wide variety of settings. One can host various types of hybrid events and connect with attendees globally. The hybrid event allows speakers to participate virtually from their remote locations. They have the flexibility to deliver the best speech to hold the interest of on-ground attendees from their geographic location.
Right from formal to informal events all can be converted into a hybrid event format for better reach and other benefits. It opens the new realms of increased attendance and greater ROI. The opportunities offered by hybrid events are limitless. Selecting an interactive, immersive, and engaging hybrid event platform that offers brilliant hybrid event services is a must.
Formats of Hybrid Events
There are 4 main formats in which you can organize a hybrid event. Here are the hybrid event types:
- Format 1: Speakers will be in the studio and attendees can watch it online.
- Format 2: Speakers can be both online and on-ground, while attendees can enjoy the event online.
- Format 3: Limited number of speakers and attendees will be present on-ground. While the rest of the speakers and attendees can enjoy the event online.
- Format 4: All the speakers can be in the event arena with rest of the attendees can join anywhere from the world.
Benefits of Hybrid Events
We have enumerated some of the benefits of hybrid events below. To understand it in detail and get better insight, scroll down:
Better Reach and Increased Attendance
The biggest advantage of hosting hybrid events on a comprehensive hybrid event platform is “Better reach and Increased attendance”. Hybrid events tap a wide spectrum of audiences residing in varied remote locations. Many organizers think hosting a hybrid event will break up the audiences resulting in a loss. The fact is, it helps in growing the audience exponentially. There are attendees who wish to attend an event but can not make it to the physical location. Various constraints like location, travel, official commitments, etc. stand as a roadblock, hybrid event solutions overcome all. It enables interested attendees to tune-in from remote locations thus amplifying better attendance at the event.
Environmental Friendly Alternative
Traditional events result in having massive attendees directly impacting the environment. “More crowd is equally proportional to more disposal of waste at on-ground events”. As attendees of the event get split virtually, it results in saving the environment from getting polluted. It help in reducing carbon emissions globally thus proving to be an environmental-friendly alternative for hosting events.
Considerate Reduction in Costs
Hybrid events help in reducing the cost for every party involved right from attendees, sponsors, vendors, speakers, and organizers. Attendees who live afar from the event location, do not have to book a ticket and travel. They can simply tune-in to attend the event virtually. However, the cost involved in traveling, accommodation, food, and drinks, etc gets resolved considerably. Apart from attendees, organizers share huge amounts of money as well. They do not have to make arrangements for speakers, hire event staff, and so on.
Amplify Attendees Engagement
Audience engagement is a crucial part to make any event successful. Attending a hybrid event does not mean you are watching a pre-recorded video on your device. Attendees at the hybrid event can take part virtually and participate in the sessions and games the same as in-person attendees. Virtual attendees can share, download, like the content, give their feedback, and participate in Q & A sessions, games, quizzes, etc. Apart from it, hybrid event solutions enable attendees to interact in real-time with other attendees, speakers, sponsors & organizers. Both the on-ground audience and the virtual audience can take part in sessions, games, etc thus amplifying engagement percentage.
Powerful Sponsor Opportunities
Hybrid virtual events offer more powerful sponsor opportunities to corporate sponsors. As per recent research, about 75% of sponsors are willing to participate in hybrid events when compared to physical events. Hybrid event formats make a wider array of audiences aware of the brand, thus resulting in enhanced exposure. Therefore, the wider reach and increased attendance enable them to have more qualified leads.
A Valuable Collection of Data
One of the major merits of hybrid events is valuable data collection. Right from the registration process, every data is collected. Physical registrations gather information about on-ground attendees whereas virtual attendees are fully tracked by hybrid virtual event platforms. As virtual attendees are in a closed environment their every move from what they liked, shared, downloaded, commented, is tracked. The virtual event platform collects all the valuable data easily.
As hybrid conferences and events have better attendance more and more sponsors willingly participate in the same. It yield better ROI when compared to in-person events. These are more scalable and have better reach resulting in a greater return on investment.
Enhanced Networking Opportunities and Options
Hybrid events offered enhanced networking opportunities for attendees to connect and network seamlessly. You must be thinking, how? Well, hybrid events have a virtual component attached to them. The virtual event platform offers enormous networking features right from live chats, B2B meeting scheduler, 2-Way interaction, networking lounges, AI-matchmaking, and more. It helps in making networking seamless by enabling you to connect with global prospects and attendees as well, which is not possible with the physical event.
In live physical events, attendees have to navigate through the crowd of thousands of people to have an interaction at the preferred booth. But, with hybrid events, it is not required. As a limited number of attendees are present at the event venue, the need for waiting in long queues gets resolved completely. Whereas, virtual attendees can interact with the potential attendees and exhibitors having similar interests with the help of AI-Matchmaking. It helps in matching you with the right prospects according to the information you provided at the time of registration. You can simply have interaction with a potential match without having to navigate throughout the event to search for exhibitors.
Offers Greater Resilience
Flexibility is one of the major advantages of hybrid event formats. It enables attendees to partake in the event right from their own convenience remotely without any geographical barriers. Additionally, attendees can even opt to participate in the event by visiting the event location. Hybrid events offer a choice to attendees to attend an event live or virtually as per their convenience and address both the set of attendees in a single event.
Social Media Integration to Keep Marketing Pipeline Filled for a Year
Hybrid events allow you to share your event content or some part of it on digital platforms. It helps you to reach an ample number of audiences vividly. You can even share your event live stream on multiple social channels. It not only helps you in promoting your upcoming event by reaching a wide segment of audiences but also ensures continual visibility on social media.
Additionally, social media integration helps you in designing marketing campaigns for upcoming events by taking references from previous events. The data stored with social media help you get an insight into what are the most engaging hotspots that engage a lot of audiences. You can incorporate it in upcoming events and find ways to enhance more engagements. However, integrating social media with your hybrid events helps in keeping your marketing pipeline filled for the whole year.
Can Be Hosted with Any Budget Size
In-person events require a large amount of money to set up an event. However, attaching a virtual component to your in-person event helps you to take your event to another level. Thus enabling you to reach global prospects seamlessly without increasing your event budget. You can simply host a small-scale in-person event and pair it with the right virtual event platform and reach the masses without making any changes in your budget.
Offer Content On-Demand
Hybrid events enable you to re-watch your event content. As the virtual component is attached to it, the sessions at the event are recorded and archived for later viewing. It allows attendees to catch the missed glimpse of the event by asking for the content on-demand. Furthermore, you can even share the content of hybrid events with your friends and family. Thus, resulting in a better reach of the content.
Helps in Meeting the Changing Requirements of Your Attendees
With the outbreak of the COVID-19, audiences and industries around the world have adopted the technology trends. It has completely changed the way how we utilise technology a year or two ago. When things will be back to normal is not certain yet. But, one thing is certain, audiences and the industries are not going to peddle back completely. In the coming times, relying completely on the live physical event is not a great idea.
Hybrid events are a viable option for the coming times as it meets the demands of both the demographics. It allows attendees to visit the event location to attend an event or join the event right from their comfort.
A perfect alternative to meet the demands of both the set of audiences.
Why choose Hybrid Events?
Hybrid Events are the new normal. Here are the top 5 reasons why you should choose hybrid events for your next show.
- Customizable for any budget: Hybrid Events require a small on ground setup and the rest of the event is covered virtual/online.
- A global audience: Your reach is no longer limited to a specific geographical location or a few local attendees.
- Valuable Audience Insights: Hybrid events provide detailed insights of attendees, engagements, and digital footprinting.
- Powerful Sponsor Opportunities: As per the research as per the 75% sponsors are willing to participate in hybrid events.
- Ability to Rewatch & Archive: All the sessions of the events are archived and can be re-watched anytime in the future.
Frequently Asked Questions
A hybrid event is a mix of both in-person as well as online events. To know more about the concept of hybrid events read: Hybrid Events: Definition, Advantages & Innovative Examples
Hybrid events offer enormous perks right from event outreach to amplified leads and revenue generation. To know more about hybrid event benefits read: How to benefit from hybrid events?
A meeting, event, or conference that is organised at a physical location and is paired with a virtual component is known as hybrid meetings, events, and conferences. To know more about the hybrid conference read: Hybrid conference: definition, benefits, and tips.
As lockdown restrictions have uplifted people started being a part of small gatherings. Hybrid events are the perfect alternative to create holistic event experiences for both virtual as well as limited in-person attendees. To know more why hybrid events will be huge in 2021 read: 4 Reasons Why Hybrid Events Are The Best Alternative In 2021
To run a successful hybrid event:
a) Have a clear objective
b) Identify your audience
c) Select the right virtual hybrid event platform
d) Select the event time and date keeping the time zone in mind
e) Engage your virtual as well as in-person attendees during the event
f) Gain Valuable attendee insights in real-time
g) Facilitate real-time conversations
h) Follow-up attendees
You can simply enhance audience engagement by integrating live polls, surveys, gamification, and so on in your hybrid event. To know more about hybrid event ideas for gamification, read: Gamification: Drive Engagements at Virtual Hybrid Events
Hybrid events work on a flexible approach and offer an end number of possibilities to make the event successful. We have enumerated some of the merits of virtual hybrid events that help you to change your event format.
In short, If you have not yet think of planning to host a hybrid event on an interactive hybrid event platform, now is the time to do it. Time is running out!
Editors Note: This article was originally published on 16th September 2020 and has been updated on 20th May 2021 for relevancy.