It seems to be the general consensus amongst the majority of event professionals that hybrid events are the future. In fact, according to a recent survey by etc.venues, 73% of event planners stated hybrid events will be more common in the upcoming months. We get why—people are always going to love meeting in person, and, at the same time, there might be situations that prevent them from doing so.
As we can see from recent times, virtual events are an easy substitute for live experiences, and a lot of people even prefer the convenience of connecting with peers from the comfort of their homes. That’s why hybrid is the perfect solution for events of the future—you let your attendees choose how they want to attend.
In this post, we talk about five ways hybrid events benefit event organizers and organizations, not to mention the larger society. Let’s dive right in.
Hybrid events help with sustainability
Did you know the carbon footprint of a 4000-attendee virtual event is pretty much the same as one person on a return flight from across the Atlantic? By giving your international attendees the option to experience your event from their homes, you ensure that the carbon footprint of your event stays low.
Then there are the various types of waste that are produced onsite—leftover food, plasticware and cups, paper, signage, and more. With hybrid events, all of this waste will also be reduced as there will be fewer people at the venue.
Hybrid events give you better reach
One of the biggest advantages of virtual events was that they erased geographical boundaries—anyone could attend an event from anywhere, all they needed was their laptop and good internet connection. For attendees, this meant attending from the convenience of their homes or offices, and they didn’t have to spend extra on travel and accommodation.
At the same time, one of the biggest complaints regarding virtual events was that people missed the feeling of networking in person. Well, hybrid takes care of this problem because you let attendees decide how they want to attend—virtually or at the venue.
Hybrid events increase ROI
According to a report by Markletic, 86% of B2B organizations see a positive ROI for their hybrid events. And that’s not really surprising. Hybrid events help event planners increase both sales and audience engagement. For example, you can create two different registration paths for attendees, one for in-person attendees and one for virtual ones. This way, people who can’t afford the in-person tickets can join virtually. Another thing you can do is limit the number of in-person tickets. This not only helps you cut down on cost (less space, staff, and resources) but also ensures that your event is more eco-friendly.
Moving on to attendee satisfaction—you can give in-demand or far-away speakers the opportunity to conduct sessions virtually. This way, you avoid scheduling conflicts and get a diverse speaker roster for your event. Also, by recording live-streamed sessions and making them available for on-demand viewing, you give attendees who couldn’t make it to those sessions the option to view them at a time of their convenience.
Hybrid events have better sponsorship value
The success of an event’s sponsorship strategy depends on how well it addresses the needs of sponsors. The best way to do that is by giving them more options and adding a digital component to your in-person event. This gives sponsors a lot of new opportunities for brand visibility and lead generation. Here are some virtual sponsorship ideas that you can add to your hybrid event.
Also, as sponsors get to connect with both your in-person and virtual attendees, they get double (or even triple) the usual exposure. Another benefit of going hybrid is that you can give sponsors a lot more analytics. Then there’s the fact that at hybrid events, in-person attendees are more likely to use the event app frequently, so sponsors have a greater chance of building a community, especially if you keep networking channels open for a few days before and after the event.
Hybrid events are flexible
There’s so much you can do when going hybrid. For one, you don’t have to just restrict yourself to virtual attendees—you can also rope in virtual speakers and sponsors. Host small gatherings in venues all over the country (spokes) that can be connected to your main venue (hub) using the hub and spoke model. Endless events has written an article on the four hybrid models—star, moon, planet, satellite—that can give you some inspiration. Also, going hybrid gives you a ready-made contingency plan. If there’s any crisis—natural disaster, damage to the venue, or other—you can move your event completely virtual in a matter of minutes.
Just because in-person events are coming back doesn’t mean you have to push virtual experiences to the side. By going hybrid with your event, you give people the best of both worlds. Just remember two things: choose a venue that supports hybrid events and go for event technology that supports you in creating a unified experience for both onsite and online attendees.
If you’ve hosted a hybrid event in recent times or have one planned for the future, let us know your experience in the comments below. We’d love to hear your thoughts. :)
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