What is a Hybrid Event?

Learn the types of hybrid events and how to organize one

Event organizers have heard the word hybrid event on a frequent basis lately. But what does hybrid event really mean?

The broad definition of a hybrid event is one that uses a combination of in-person and digital elements, tailored to each attendee for curated experiences. A common misconception is that hybrid events always happen concurrently with a physical event. In fact, there are generally three types of hybrid events.

What is a hybrid event?

Each part of a hybrid event, whether physical or virtual, should be designed and personalized for each attendee to drive engagement and education. The in-person audience gets the high-touch VIP experience with catered meals, entertainment and hallway networking. The virtual audience can explore and engage with content and create new connections, conveniently from any location globally.

Hybrid events are not new

Hybrid events were prevalent long before COVID-19. Many organizations have been leveraging hybrid and virtual conferences for a very long time. Sports events (e.g., Football games) are also examples of hybrid events that have been around for many years. Physical and remote TV audiences are both served unique and engaging experiences.

Benefits of Hybrid Events

Hybrid events provide organizations opportunities for adding value in the following ways:

  • Wider audience reach – Hybrid events offer endless opportunities to tap the new audiences who were never interested in attending a traditional in-person event. According to event planners, an increase in attendance has been witnessed while hosting hybrid events when compared to traditional events.
  • Extend the reach of your message beyond the live day(s) by repurposing event content on your website and social media channels.
  • Added engagement – Hybrid events offer endless possibilities to increase attendee engagement with content and sponsors during and after the event. You can organize polls, surveys, contests, quizzes to gain the feedback from your virtual attendees while keeping them engaged. Hybrid events enable you to set up a guest speaker to have live chat with your in-person as well as the online audience. A platform that offers interactive and engaging virtual event engagement features helps in amplifying your attendance and boosting engagement.
  • More networking options -Hybrid events offer many possibilities to connect and network with global audiences. The number of networking features offered by virtual hybrid event platforms make networking a seamless process. Right from offering real-time live video chats to virtual networking tables, virtual business card exchange facility, booth rep meeting scheduler, and AI-powered attendee matchmaking.
  • Valuable data collection -Collecting data insights is one of the most significant benefits of hybrid events. Physical events allow you to have the data of the registered attendees and a rough estimate of the attendees who participated in polls or Q & A sessions. Whereas hybrid events provide organizers with the accurate data right from the registration process through when the attendee disconnects and even after that. Data can be collected about logins, rooms and booths visited, interactions, chats, shares, downloads, participation, etc. every move of the attendees are easily track able. Hybrid events enable organizers to have the complete collection of data of how many attendees attended the virtual event, how many dropped, and how they are engaged.

How do you know if hybrid events are right for you?

The best way to make this determination is to think about your organization and how a hybrid event might look:

  • What is the objective for your event — in-person and virtually?
  • Who is your audience (for in-person and virtual) and what do they need from this event?
  • Will you include an exhibitor expo with booths or mostly just the sessions?
  • What budget, time, and resources do you have to allocate to producing the event for both audience types?

Which type of hybrid event should I choose?

The answer depends on the organizations goals, resources and budget. A concurrent hybrid event will require the most budget and staffing resources to produce two events at the same time (catered to each audience). Alternatively, organizations can choose a lite hybrid or sequential hybrid model in order to extend a portion, or all, of the components of an event to remote attendees.

Hybrid events offer endless possibilities and opportunities to marketers, event planners, sponsors, and attendees. It offers many advantages far beyond the capacity of conventional in-person events. With increased reach, attendance, engagement, and return on investment, it has become increasingly valuable for event organizers.

Fortunately, today’s hybrid event platforms makes it much easier to create a hybrid event that’s as immersive and engaging online as it is in the physical event space.

If you need help navigating requirements for your virtual or hybrid event, please get in touch – we are happy to help.