Hybrid Events: Introduction, Benefits and Examples
What are hybrid events?
Hybrid events are, as the name might suggest, a mix between a live event and a virtual event. Essentially, you take your audience, exclusive content, and experiential set pieces, and meld them together to provide an immersive online experience.
To help you begin planning your hybrid event, we’ve put together the following guide.
Ideas & Benefits Of Hybrid Events
Hybrid events became an increasingly important and successful method of hosting events way before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold.
They are most commonly used to good effect when large corporations are looking to bring employees or their key audiences together for an event, but it isn’t possible for everyone to meet in person.
This could be the case for numerous reasons; however, it’s usually because there isn’t a space big enough to accommodate every participant, or the organisation is present in several different locations, often internationally.
Due to our current situation, the spotlight is increasingly turning to hybrid events as a means for organisations to hold an event while still adhering to the social distancing rules around the pandemic.
But, aside from the obvious and important health implications, what more are the benefits of Hybrid Events?
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Increased Reach & Attendance
Hybrid events allow you to increase your reach and capture more attendees. In fact, a recent study showed that 96% of virtual attendees polled at a recent event, were never intended to attend the live event in person.
It is usually for two reasons. Firstly, because they’re unsure about the benefits of attending the event in person, and secondly, geographical restrictions don’t allow them to travel.
As the event host, a hybrid event platform presents an excellent opportunity to capture new and engaged audiences. It gives you the chance to reach the kinds of people that ordinarily wouldn’t have been interested in the event, simply because they had no intention of attending in person.
According to statistics from BizBash.com, 23% of respondents who hosted a hybrid event reported that they saw an increase in physical attendance at future events.
Engagement is the most crucial ingredient to create successful hybrid events. It’s essentially what distinguishes your event from watching a video on YouTube.
Your audience isn’t there to become basic viewers; they’ll be taking part on their mobile devices or computer, which means they can react to your content and offer feedback all in real-time.
Combining virtual elements to your live events opens up a great deal of opportunity to increase engagement, both during and after the event itself. It is down to the fact that your audience participating using a mobile device or computer can consume content, talk, watch, like, share, comment, and much more with the literal click of a button. For instance, you might choose to host polls with your live and virtual audiences. Or, you can set up a guest speaker to perform a live talk with your in-person audience, and then organise a more intimate live Q&A session for afterwards with those online.
You can also encourage engagement between audience members by setting up a specialised meeting area at the in-person event, where delegates can go to network with other attendees or set up online meetings with virtual delegates using event AI matchmaking software.
Leverage virtual event engagement tools like Taggbox Display Social Wall to help you increase your audience engagement & scale up the reach by integrating social media with virtual events & live streams. This tool allows social media integration to access wider audience, better audience engagement, social promotion, and delightful overall experience.
Significant Reduction in Environmental Impact & Costs
We’ve already seen the positive impacts that reduced travel is having on the environment. During lockdowns, streets were empty, and even some of the busiest cities in the world were completely deserted, which meant that the emissions plummeted.
Some reports have even suggested that overall global emissions dropped by around 6% at the height of the pandemic. While there will never be a replacement for the face-to-face meeting, going hybrid is a great way to associate the encouragement of green thinking and the personal carbon footprints reduction with your brand.
While there will never be a replacement for the face-to-face meeting, going hybrid is a great way to associate the encouragement of green thinking and the reduction of personal carbon footprints with your brand.
Reduction of Costs
Hybrid events can significantly reduce costs for every party involved. Working from home is now a common thing for businesses and their employees around the world.
Hiring a plug-and-play studio that you can take to any location of your choice means that you can broadcast and manage the virtual portion of your event on-site. It means you don’t need a whole team of experts and technological solutions to achieve your goals.
When budgets are tight, as they are for many businesses at the moment, hybrid events marketing platforms are a great way to bridge the gap between costs and results.
One of the very most significant benefits of a hybrid event comes from the data and insight you can collect. For instance, at an exclusively in-person event, all you can really do is estimate how many attendees participated in a session, such as a Q&A. On the other hand, hybrid events give event organisers all the data they need to know how many people participated in an event, how engaged they were and who may have dropped out of the session and why.
Because of the online nature of a hybrid event platform, you have access to a great deal of trackable information and data. You could not measure this data offline, such as AI matchmaking data and session interaction, all of which serve to help you refine and improve later content creation efforts.
If you’re still unsure about the validity of a hybrid event, consider the possible outcomes if your travel arrangements were disrupted due to some reasons, it can be natural, financial, or physical.
Without including hybrid elements to fall back on, your event would have to be cancelled, which could mean your audience will look for alternative events, not to mention the burden of wasting your own time and resources. The benefit of a hybrid event is that it has flexibility and it is suitable for the needs of all your audience members.
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Successful Hybrid Events Examples
There are numerous examples of companies that have taken the hybrid event concept and used it to create incredible experiences for the hybrid event audience, for example:
It’s probably no great shock that the world’s leading live gaming streaming platform is capable of pulling off an incredible hybrid event.
Every year the site hosts a huge event that brings together live streamers and fans from all corners of the globe, in both a virtual and in-person capacity.
Riot Games Esports Operations
Riot games lead the way when it comes to hosting events, such as their eSport series League of Legends World Championship. And just as you’d expect from the nature of an event like this, it does pose an incredibly complicated set of challenges.
Their biggest challenges are networking, broadcasting and hardware, however as the event has grown, more sophisticated remote and local elements have been implemented to ensure these challenges are met.
Apple Special Events
Apple Special Events are some of the biggest tech events going, with interest hosting eventsfrom delegates in countries all over the world.
That is why Apple choose hybrid events, to ensure that new releases, announcements and demonstrations are accessible via a live-stream all over the globe.
The Future of the Events Industry
Even though our world has recovered from the grips of the pandemic, there’s a good chance – given how prevalent and accessible online technology is – that more event organizers will continue to rely on hybrid elements for their events for the long term.
Hybrid events can offer valuable insurance fallback since there will always be a means to host your event in some form or another if your attendance availability is severely reduced, this is among the major benefits of hybrid events.
Also, the investment and infrastructure that you’ve placed into your hybrid event elements mean that you’re already prepared to take the event to an exclusively virtual plane if necessary.
Essentially this all means that instead of placing all of your eggs into the live event basket, you can diversify your offering to ensure that your event will be successful no matter what.
The world looks like a different place after the COVID-19 crisis. While half of the world doesn’t want to go back to the physical world, the other half is dying to be out there.
The hybrid events have become the ideal solution that has changed the scene of how the events world works.
It means that your audiences have changed, and you need to ensure that you are adapting to their needs.
Live events can never be replaced, but by incorporating some hybrid elements, you can ensure that unforeseen circumstances will never derail your events again.