Understanding the Basics of Hybrid Events

Hybrid events seems to be the ‘buzz’ phrase of 2020, but what exactly are they?

As the name suggests, they’re a mix between a live event and a virtual event. For example, a product launch might be held at a venue, with the innovators leading the session and a (socially distanced) live audience also in the space, but the event is recorded and live-streamed to participants located elsewhere, all over the world perhaps.

Other events suited to hybrid programs include trade shows, conferences, large meetings, AGMs, team building, product demonstrations and sales kick-offs. Hybrid events are not a new phenomenon, but they’ve grown in popularity in 2020 due to the pandemic and the need for the industry to adapt and diversify.

What are the benefits of hybrid events?

Aside from the obvious and important health implications in current circumstances, five key benefits of hybrid events are:

  1. Increased reach and attendance – you’re no longer limited by the capacity of a venue after all! It also allows for people who would usually be unable to attend due to other commitments or distance.
  2. Higher engagement – your audience consuming via mobile device or computer can watch, like, share, comment, vote and so much more at the click of a button.
  3. Reduced costs – you can reach more people without the added overheads such as large venue hire, catering, staffing, travel and so on.
  4. Increased sponsorship opportunities – with your improved reach through in-person and virtual attendees, your sponsors will get double the exposure, making it a more desirable opportunity. More sponsors will also help to offset the technical costs of running a hybrid event.
  5. Data, data, data – you have access to a great deal of trackable information and data which you simply couldn’t measure offline. This includes matchmaking data and session interaction, all of which serves to help you refine and improve later content creation efforts.

Is the future of events hybrid?

Nothing will compare to in-person events but if we can’t all physically meet in the same space due to restrictions; hybrid events provide a bridge between live and virtual events. They also offer valuable insurance that your event could still go ahead in some form if another global pandemic or natural disaster occurs. Covid-19 has changed how we use technology in our daily lives – it has become even more prevalent and accessible. So, for these reasons – along with reduced environmental impact – it seems that elements of digital and hybrid events will be seen more often from here-on-out.

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