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 Advantages and Benefits
- Greater Reach
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.
- Cost-Effective Solutions
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.
- Real-time Engagement
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.
- 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.
- Networking Opportunities
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.
- On-Demand Content
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.