The Covid-19 pandemic changed the course of the event industry, creating a new kind of event. Hybrid events are the future of the event industry, and many event professionals are using this platform to generate revenue and give people amazing experiences. This article will look at hybrid events, their opportunities for your company, and how you can use the hybrid format to plan your events. We will also explore the importance of hybrid events and how audience engagement is really important for your event.
A hybrid event combines in-person and virtual events where live elements such as in-person guests and online participation are done together. They take the form of an in-person event for people at the host location and a virtual event for those joining online. Hybrid events include trade shows, conferences, product exhibitions, and seminars. Rather than merely livestreaming an in-person event, when done right, a hybrid event provides an immersive platform that allows online participants and those attending physically to have a great event experience. Hybrid events bridge the gap between the virtual and the physical event. As of 2022, 34% of event organizers will invest in hybrid events for the next few years. Most organizations are now adapting hybrid events to their portfolios are their clients prefer this method of event hosting. Marketers and event professionals are yet to tap into the full potential of hybrid events.
Companies and organizations can use the hybrid format to host their events in different ways. These are in the form of the following:
Hybrid events can be used to host conferences easily. Especially when an organization wants to reach a global audience, and most of their guests can't be present physically. Hybrid events save you the stress of booking venues and planning logistics for getting people to your conference venue. You can have an online and physical panel with which everyone can see and interact.
Presentation of your products to clients can be done using the hybrid event format. With this, you can set up a virtual exhibition booth for your online audience that is very similar to the ones the in-person attendees will get to see. With a hybrid format, you can also have live polls and auction sessions to sell your products.
As an event planner, you should host a trade show involving companies worldwide. Hybrid events help you to do this without struggling to get your vendors to your physical location. You can have your online and in-person vendors that attendees get to patronize. In-person attendees can experience the products of online vendors as there are apps provided by the hybrid format that will give them access to such products.
Hosting hybrid events can be tedious because it involves a lot of technicalities. You have to consider those attending in person and those that will be online, so they can all have the same experience. Here, we will guide you on how you can plan a successful hybrid event:
A 2015 study at the Dominican University of California showed that about 76% of people who put down their goals on paper and sent progress reports weekly to an accountability partner met their objectives. The first step to achieving success in hybrid event planning is to map out the goals and objectives you want to meet as an event professional.
Laying out the strategy for your event is good as it gives you and your team a similar direction. Create SMART goals that are tailored toward your target audience. This way, you achieve the objectives you set for yourself and simultaneously give your attendees an immersive experience.
There are different formats for hybrid events. One of them is "live-stream," where in-person and virtual attendees watch the event live. There is also the option of actively engaging your in-person audience with Q&A sessions and interactive exhibits while your Virtual attendees watch the live stream of speeches and panel sessions. You can also actively host in-person events and make them available on-demand to your virtual audience. This way, they can enjoy it any day at their leisure. As an event professional, you should be able to choose the format that will best suit your needs and help you meet your target audience, and set out goals. Look through each format and decide on the one that will be easy to handle and boost your reach to different people.
Going from one lecture to another by different speakers can become quite boring as the event proceeds. Sometimes you can lose the attention of your audience that way. To host a successful hybrid event, you should provide a space for interactions and breakout sessions. Between lectures, have people break out into groups and talk within themselves. You can allow them to talk about whatever they want, but you can also guide the conversation toward what they have learned. You can have virtual surveys, quizzes, polls, and question-and-answer sessions. You can also present them with the option of meeting the speakers and sponsors of your event. All these keep the audience engaged and excited for the next set of upcoming lectures.
Your ultimate priority is ensuring that both in-person and online guests have a great experience during and after your event. That is how you know that your event was successful. If the experience of the in-person audience were better than that of the online attendees, then the feedback would be different. To ensure satisfaction for both audiences, ensure activities are tailored to meet each audiencce’s peculiarities. Everything done for the in-person audience should be done for your online audience or close to it. When attendees have the same great and immersive experience, they give positive feedback that can help boost the size of your audience organically.
About 63% of event professionals have agreed to have hybrid events as part of their future event format, according to a report from Skift Meetings. It doesn't come as a surprise, considering how the industry has benefitted from incorporating hybrid events. Here are some benefits of having hybrid events as part of your hosting format:
If you want to reach an audience globally, then hosting a hybrid event is the right choice. It gives you leverage and an opportunity to connect your event with many people across continents. In-person events have a disadvantage when it comes to reaching more people. In a situation where your guests cannot have access to the physical event venue, should they miss out on a great experience? This is one of the many benefits of hybrid events. Those that cannot make it to the physical venue can attend from the comfort of wherever they are, and they would be able to enjoy the same content and experience as those who attend physically.
Another advantage or benefit of hybrid events is that you can tailor specific experiences for attendees. Since you have both an in-person and online presence, you can add special features to your event that would be for a particular set of your audience. For your online audience, you can create a section where they interact with other people from another part of the world. This way, you are helping them grow their network, and they are gaining new insight simultaneously. For your in-person audience, you can have game sessions or a photo-booth section where attendees can create memories. These activities are tailored specifically for your location as an attendee.
Hybrid events have greatly helped to reduce events' carbon footprints. They have reduced the negative impact that physical events often have on the environment. It is because many people do not have to travel to event venues, reducing waste generation and general pollution of the atmosphere. Because there is a reduced need for printing, paper waste is also reduced. In-person meetings will always be important. Hosting events with a smaller in-person presence will help reduce your impact on the environment. People get to attend events without generating waste that is harmful to our surroundings.
As an event professional, using the hybrid format to host your event gives you improved flexibility. You have both an in-person audience and a virtual audience. If in a situation where you have an emergency, and your physical venue will no longer be available, your event can still go on as it can still be hosted online. This way, no one loses out on anything. Hybrid events are like a built-in contingency plan; if there is a fault, the event's format helps cushion it.
Before a brand, company, or organization agrees to sponsor an event, they look at the event's reach. If your event doesn't have a strong reach, they won't sponsor it. But if your event has a greater reach, they are more interested because of the visibility that it gives them. One of the advantages of hybrid events is that it gives your event a greater reach which means more sponsors. In addition, with hybrid events, you can create tailored sponsor benefits for virtual and in-person audiences. For example, one sponsor may brand your in-person event tickets, while another will be displayed on your event website. Having more ways to promote your sponsors makes your event more attractive to them.
Keeping an audience engaged can be difficult, but it is even more difficult when trying to do that for two audience types. Creating creative ways to keep your in-person and online audience participating in your event can be quite tasking. For your event to be a success, though, the audience has to be engaged. In this section, we will tell you how you can keep an engaged audience:
Sometimes, midway through presentations, people might have questions for the panelists, and because they cannot interrupt the session, they have to wait. You can prevent this by creating a channel for them to ask questions during the sessions. The event hosting platform can have an app where people attending in person can send their questions to be answered. Those online can also have a live chat section to ask questions. And then, in-between sessions, you have a live Q&A where all these questions are answered appropriately.
Another way to keep your audience engaged is by having workshops. You can design workshops for your attendees to participate in, learn new skills and make new connections. You can tailor this for both your in-person and online audiences. Create virtual breakout sessions for the workshop for your online audience. After everyone is done, they can all come together and share what they learned. High-tech equipment is needed to share the online attendees' feedback, which is why you need to use a good hybrid event hosting platform.
Everyone likes a good reward that is enough motivation to participate in an event. As an event professional, you can get your audience active by using a reward system. Let everyone know that those who actively participate will get a package at the end of the day. Let the package be something that will interest them, like discounts on your products or a free item from your catalog. You can also hand out souvenirs at the beginning of the event as physical guests arrive, and for those who are online, you can have their souvenirs shipped to them.
Interactive sessions are a way to bring people closer together and to share their ideas and views on the event. It also keeps the attendees active and excited and reduces the chances of boredom arising. During the breakout session, you can have people play games and ask questions based on the sessions attended.
Networking is a good way to get new information about an industry, connect with new people and grow your circle. Networking also helps people discover new opportunities they might have yet to learn about. This is why you should set up networking sessions for your attendees. To make things more interesting, you have to make it a lunch event or a cocktail party. That way, people are relaxed while also learning.
Hybrid events are the industry's future, making event planning easy and stress-free. They give you a wider reach and open your business to the entire world. Performedia is an event hosting platform that gives you all the tools necessary to execute your hybrid event seamlessly and successfully.