What are the top hybrid event benefits? Virtual events (which rose in popularity as a result of COVID) proved that they have their merits over the past two years. Not only are they safe, they’re also cost-effective. In a post-pandemic world where social distancing and mask mandates are no longer the norm, entirely virtual events might not uphold their popularity–but hybrid events certainly will.
What Are Hybrid Events?
Hybrid events offer a golden mean between the two types of events. In this model, one section of your audience is in-person. The other section of the audience is connected remotely via the web.
You can seamlessly incorporate both audiences into your event using virtual tools. The hybrid event model offers overwhelming benefits for virtually any event. This is why organizations and sponsors continue to prefer hybrid events, even as pandemic-related restrictions are relaxed. One study, for instance, shows that 72% of sponsors prefer hybrid events.
Here is a look at some of the key hybrid event benefits.
Hybrid Event Benefits and Advantages
Many events feature in-person audiences; others have the speakers and attendees participating remotely. Hybrid events offer a combination of the two.
A hybrid event lets you create a rich environment with a live audience without missing out on the remote attendees. You can tap into both types of audiences to maximize reach and connect with more people. This translates into more relevant attendees and speakers, more coverage and exposure, and more sponsorship opportunities.
It is also possible to diversify and categorize audiences by combining the live and virtual tools. For sponsors, this means more targeted marketing opportunities.
Ease and Convenience
Hybrid event advantages also include the sheer ease and convenience of quickly organizing scalable events. With virtual tools such as video streaming, online presentations, and real-time chat rooms at your disposal, you can scale events for small to large audiences easily. Such scalability makes hybrid events a particularly desirable model where you are unsure of the audience size.
In-person events for large audiences can incur significant costs. Budgetary constraints are also a challenge when the number of participants is too small. It may not be possible to justify the overhead expenses for engaging the relevant experts and venues.
Hybrid events offer a way out in both situations. The remote attendees can virtually participate in the event. You can ask the speakers, experts, or lecturers from far-off regions to deliver virtual lectures, workshops, or talks. This helps you manage the costs by saving on airfare tickets, accommodation costs, and other logistical expenses.
Companies and organizers can achieve better return-on-investment (ROI) through such a hybrid approach.
Incorporating virtual tools into live events leads to better audience engagement. A virtual audience is already plugged into a hybrid event remotely. You can enable this audience to like, comment, share, or directly interact with the speakers.
Live attendees typically also come equipped with mobile devices, so you can push virtual content to the in-person audience as well. You can even arrange for the virtual and live audiences to directly interact and network with each other.
Engagement can be facilitated by conducting real-time polls, surveys, Q & A, breakout sessions, and other activities during the event. Hybrid events make this easier as you have the right technology already in place.
Low Environmental Impact
In-person events typically create a large carbon footprint, adversely impacting the environment. The attendees need to travel to and from the venue. The organizers have to print materials for the attendees. On-venue heating, cooling, and food arrangements also add to the equation.
With hybrid events, you can significantly mitigate the carbon footprint. More attendees can remotely access the event and participate in it.
More Sponsorship Opportunities
Sponsors are interested in events that offer greater reach and direct interaction with audiences. Hybrid events present both in-person and virtual opportunities for sponsors.
In addition to live booths and interactions, sponsors can connect with the audience virtually by using live streams and other tools. Virtual engagement can also be used to complement in-person interactions to deliver more results for the sponsors.
Another advantage for sponsors is that hybrid events afford them access to reportable and measurable metrics. Sponsors can track metrics such as reach, engagement, and sign-ups in real-time to see what is working for them. They can then tweak their marketing efforts in real-time and evolve their strategy for future events.
In addition, hybrid events allow sponsors to be present at an event even when they can’t physically attend it. Video conference presentations, virtual event booths, and digital signage placements can bring sponsors the exposure they need. They can also repurpose this content for re-targeting later on.
Social Media Buzz
With hybrid events, you have a ready-made body of digital materials. These may include videos, audio recordings, online presentations, and marketing content from the sponsors. It is easier to feed a social media transmission with the help of such materials.
You can craft social media campaigns to make the most of the hybrid model. The digital materials can be used to generate more buzz and hype, which may in turn grow the size of your virtual audience.
Flexible Event Management
Another notable benefit of hybrid events is the sheer flexibility of event management. Many events have to be canceled or delayed due to logistic constraints. Even when you are ready to organize an event, unprecedented factors such as the pandemic may create hurdles.
This is where the hybrid model of event management offers an excellent solution. Hybrid events let you flexibly organize and manage your events while handling contingencies. You can overcome time, cost, logistics, and safety constraints by using a combination of in-person and virtual event management.
Availability of Experts
It is not always possible to fly in the relevant experts and speakers to the venue of an event. You may face time and cost constraints. Hybrid event platforms allow remote experts to join in.
As event organizers, this means that you are no longer constrained to a specific list of experts. You can invite the best experts and speakers from around the world to lead sessions and be a part of your event.
Hybrid events allow remote participants to engage with exhibitors, organizers, and even fellow attendees. You can create seamless networking opportunities by connecting the remote and live audiences through audio, video, and text chat tools.
Both in-person and virtual audiences can also be brought together in a more structured way through chat rooms, live discussions, and Q & A sessions.
One of the hybrid event benefits is that it provides you with valuable digital content. You can make it available as on-demand content for people who want to access it later. It is also possible to bundle on-demand video and multimedia content with a live audience. You push the relevant materials to the attendees at the right time for optimum engagement.
Data Analytics & Reports
With the digital tools available in hybrid events, you can access real-time data & analytics. You can use this data to track attendee behavior, attendance rates, overall audience interest, and many other metrics. This data can also be used to generate useful reports for lead generation and future engagement.
Success Stories of Hybrid Events
One of the best ways to understand the advantages of hybrid events is by looking at real-life success stories. Many companies and organizations have embraced hybrid events and achieved remarkable outcomes. Here are a few examples:
- PureStorage: PureStorage, a technology firm, organized a hybrid event to launch their latest product. They invited a select group of industry experts and customers to attend the in-person portion of the event. The sessions were also live-streamed to a global virtual audience. This allowed them to generate excitement and engagement from both the attendees. As a result, they saw a 14% increase in product inquiries and a boost in sales vs. the prior in-person-only event.
- University of Southern California: USC hosted a hybrid fundraising event for their alumni. They held a gala dinner with a limited number of attendees, while also offering a virtual ticket option for those who couldn’t attend in person. By combining the in-person experience with a virtual component, they were able to reach a wider audience. This resulted in raising more 22% more funds than ever before. The virtual attendees were able to donate online and participate in the event’s auctions and raffles, making it a truly inclusive and successful fundraising effort.
- Gallup: Gallup, decided to go hybrid to cater to their global audience. They offered a combination of in-person and virtual sessions. This allowed attendees from all over the world to participate. Also, by leveraging hybrid event platforms, they were able to attract renowned speakers who couldn’t travel to the physical location. This resulted in a diverse and dynamic program, attracting a record number of attendees and creating valuable networking opportunities for both in-person and virtual participants.
These success stories highlight the immense potential of hybrid events. By combining the best of both physical and virtual worlds, companies and organizations can achieve remarkable outcomes, reach a wider audience, save costs, and enhance engagement.
Whether you’re planning a product launch, a fundraising event, or a conference, considering a hybrid format can significantly amplify your reach and impact. Start harnessing the benefits of hybrid events and unlock the potential for success.
Steps to Planning Your Hybrid Event
Now that you are aware of the many benefits of hybrid events, it’s time to start planning your own successful event. Whether you are organizing a product launch, a fundraising event, or a conference, following these initial steps will help you harness the power of hybrid events. It will also ensure a seamless experience for both your in-person and virtual attendees.
1. Define Your Goals and Objectives
Begin by clearly outlining the goals and objectives of your hybrid event. Determine what you hope to achieve, whether it’s increasing brand awareness, generating leads, raising funds, or fostering networking opportunities. Having a clear vision will guide your planning process and help you make informed decisions along the way.
2. Choose the Right Hybrid Event Platform
Selecting the right hybrid event platform is crucial for the success of your event. Look for a provider that offers robust features such as live streaming capabilities, interactive chat functions, virtual networking opportunities. Also, robust analytics to track attendee engagement. Consider the scalability and customization options offered by the platform to ensure they align with your event requirements. Finally, make sure they have the necessary support to help set up and during live days.
3. Design Engaging Content
To keep your attendees engaged throughout the event, focus on designing compelling content. Plan a balanced mix of live presentations, interactive workshops, panel discussions, and virtual networking sessions. Leverage multimedia elements such as videos, polls, and interactive Q&A sessions to create an immersive experience for both in-person and virtual participants.
4. Create a Seamless Registration Process
Streamline your event registration process to ensure a smooth experience for your attendees. Provide a simple and intuitive registration form that captures essential information and offers different ticket options, including both in-person and virtual attendance. Consider integrating the registration process with your hybrid event platform to automate attendee management and streamline communication.
5. Promote Your Hybrid Event
Implement a comprehensive marketing strategy to promote your hybrid event and maximize attendance. Leverage various digital channels such as social media, email marketing, and content marketing to create buzz and generate interest. Highlight the unique value proposition of your hybrid event, emphasizing the benefits of attending both in-person and virtually.
Prepare for Technical Considerations
Technical glitches can hinder the success of your hybrid event. Ensure a seamless experience by conducting thorough technical rehearsals and testing all equipment, including cameras, microphones, and internet connections. Have a dedicated technical support team on standby during the event to address any issues that may arise.
Related Article: In-Person Venue Technical Checklist for Hybrid Events
6. Engage Your Virtual Audience
To ensure active participation from your virtual attendees, provide interactive features that allow them to engage with the content and speakers. Incorporate live polling, Q&A sessions, and virtual networking opportunities to create a sense of community and encourage interaction.
7. Follow Up and Measure Success
After your hybrid event, follow up with attendees to gather feedback and measure the success of your event. Send a post-event survey to gather insights on the attendee experience, identify areas for improvement, and collect testimonials. Analyze the data collected from your hybrid event platform to assess attendee engagement and track key performance metrics.
By following these initial steps, you can successfully plan and execute a hybrid event that combines the best of both in-person and virtual experiences. Embrace the benefits of increased accessibility, cost-efficiency, enhanced engagement, and flexible participation options to create a memorable event that resonates with a global audience. Start harnessing the power of hybrid events today and unlock the potential for success.