The Benefits and Possible Challenges of Hybrid Events
2020 turned the events industry upside down, and we all found ourselves asking a lot of questions.
So if you’re reading this, you may be wondering things like:
- How are others navigating this new environment?
- How can we ensure we throw safe events?
- What is a hybrid event, and will it work for me?
The Rise of Hybrid Events:
Before diving in further, let’s define some terms.
What is a hybrid event?
Hybrid events combine both in-person and virtual experiences and are an essential part of the new normal in the events industry.
In our new world, they are growing in popularity. 63% of organizations plan on hosting hybrid events post-pandemic.
While hybrid events offer many benefits—-including the ability to deliver both the best of virtual and in-person experiences—they are not without complexities and trade-offs.
Benefits of Hybrid Events
Extended reach- Hybrid events offer a huge opportunity for reach—you can reach customers, prospects, and attendees that you may not have otherwise been able to access were it only an in-person event. This further reach also gives more opportunities to spread your message. In fact, “some hybrid events are seeing 3-6x the reach of in-person only events!” explains our Rachel Andrews.
Increased accessibility and inclusivity- Hybrid events increase accessibility and inclusivity. This includes the ability for a larger audience to join who otherwise may not have been able to due to budget, travel restrictions, or other reasons. Additionally, our tech team and hybrid event platform can enhance the attendee experience by adding closed captioning for all presentations and can provide more holistic attendee profiles (e.g., the ability to include pronouns).
Community feels. Hybrid events make our customer/attendee base feel more community-like. With event app discussion boards, virtual and in-person networking and exhibitor booths, and the ability for in-depth group discussions, attendees can continue the conversation in a variety of formats and places.
Accommodating varying comfort levels. Hybrid events accommodate attendees’ varying comfort levels for attending an event. From health and safety concerns to personal scheduling conflicts, thermostat settings to social distancing preferences, we’re able to adjust to nearly everyone’s needs with a hybrid event.
Addressing different levels of interest. Hybrid events address different levels of attendee interest. For example, passively interested people can pick and choose what to attend virtually—an attendee has the ability to learn about one topic in-depth online. While on the flip side, a deeply invested attendee can be all-in and attend in person to take advantage of programming offered at all levels. With hybrid events, different levels of interest are all addressed, and attendees can access content on-demand as well as in person.
Comfort and safety concerns. We’ve all experienced a world-changing pandemic, and that has created physical and emotional challenges for all of us. We want to address comfort and safety levels for those attending in-person events—and these are frequently changing.
Event fatigue. There is a “firehose effect” from the recent surge of events—a flood of live events coming back AND people are still doing virtual events on top of those. We don’t want to contribute to event fatigue.