5 reasons why hybrid events are key to your growth strategy.
Hybrid events are the perfect combination of the traditional onsite event and the more recent online format. Find out why everyone can benefit from it.
Although the concepts of online and hybrid meetings and conferences already existed and worked for a few years, with platforms such as Webex, Citrix and Adobe Connect, with the pandemic, we saw the event world go entirely online. New platforms we had never heard of became part of our daily lives. Zoom, Microsoft Teams and many others were our new way to meet and gather on a personal and business level.
In many ways, this opened our minds to the fact that some things could be simpler, cheaper and greener than what we had been using until then, but, on the other hand, online meetings and webinars had their limitations. Networking seemed to have died – we no longer had physical interactions. The buzz and focus we feel when physically present in a room specifically produced for an audiovisual show and the energy experienced by simply being there had been taken away from us.
However, things started to shift again with the pandemic’s end. And, as many had predicted, in-person events have made a comeback. But having learned from our 2-year immersion in online events, we have been smart enough to keep or even improve some of the good elements of virtual events. We have learned that combining the beneficial aspects of in-person events with online events and having the best of both worlds is possible.
1. Hybrid events can quadruplicate your reach
There are undeniable benefits to physically attending an event. Handshakes, business cards exchange, tea and biscuits moments, watching a speaker deliver a presentation on a big screen, or simply the energy you get from attending an event in person.
However, only some can attend an onsite event for several reasons. Travel restrictions, health issues, family or other work commitments – you name it. But when given the possibility of attending an event online and watching the same content the onsite audience will watch, many participants will happily take that option. And that number often outnumbers the total number of participants.
That is why hybrid events will considerably increase your reach and can triplicate or even quadruplicate the number of participants in your event.
2. Hybrid events are highly inclusive
Parents unable to find child care, speakers from remote locations that require a travel visa to attend an event, financial restrictions, family commitments, attendees without the economic possibility of travelling or with a war in their home country – everyone can take part.
Hybrid events are genuinely inclusive, literally for everyone – speakers, participants, technicians, and interpreters. They can all attend and work in person or remotely with the proper planning and expertise.
3. Hybrid events are sustainable
The fact that a small or a significant portion of speakers and/or participants attend the event remotely helps the environment. Speakers and participants online contribute to reducing carbon footprint and fighting climate change.
Conference interpreters, who in the past always worked in soundproof booths and had to travel for work constantly, can now work remotely on platforms such as Zoom, and the interpretation is transmitted to the onsite and online audience, which means excellent cost and energy savings. So yes, hybrid events are greener than traditional in-person events.
4. Hybrid events promote networking
Networking is a vital part of any event. With the rise of online events, it was the most missed part for some time.
With hybrid, networking is back in many forms. The in-person component of the event can still engage in the traditional ways. Still, other ideas have been implemented to help online attendees interact with other attendees, and that includes virtual networking lounges, online breakout sessions with small groups, a dedicated post-event online green room with the presence of speakers and interactive games and quizzes that encourage participants to interact with each other.
5. Hybrid events do not need to be expensive
Combining many elements in a single event may sound complicated and expensive. But with the right expert advice and thorough planning, you can run a smooth and professional event that fits your budget.
In some aspects, a hybrid format can reduce costs compared to an in-person event. Massive savings will be generated if interpreters do not need to be flown, accommodated, and heavy interpretation booths do not need to be transported and hired. The same will apply to speakers who will not travel.
Could things go wrong with a hybrid
Yes, but not if you follow these tips:
Ensure an early visit is conducted to the venue where the event will take place to check how the room is furnished regarding audiovisual equipment. With that, you will be able to have the proper planning.
Online speakers should have excellent video and audio quality. Make sure they are duly instructed and tested beforehand.
Onsite speakers should be seen and heard well by those attending the event online (including attendees, online speakers and interpreters). With that, you will have real engagement.
Make sure speakers share their notes with interpreters ahead of time.
Create the possibility of networking for those attending the event virtually – e.g., provide everyone with the link to a green room for spontaneous engagement during breaks or after the event.
Added benefits and real-life stories
If the event is recorded, anyone who has missed it live can watch it afterwards in their own time.
If interpretation is done remotely rather than onsite, this will bring costs down and ensure the event is more sustainable.
If a speaker is not sure they will be able to be present, whether onsite or online, for any reason, they may record their participation and presentation in advance, and the video can be easily played to the entire audience on the day.
In one of our events, one of the speakers, who lives in Ukraine, was afraid her live presentation could be interrupted as her region was being heavily bombarded at the time. She recorded her participation in advance, with good video and sound quality, and it was played on the day. Fortunately, she managed to be virtually present at the event, and after her presentation was played, she took part in the Q&A session along with other professionals and answered questions from the audience.
In some of our events, much-anticipated speakers had to cancel their in-person participation due to a last-minute problem, flight cancellation, family illness or other unexpected issues. That did not prevent them from still delivering their presentation remotely or engaging with the audience and other speakers.
Curious about hybrid event production?
Discover how you could you get your online guests as involved as your in-person participants in a very inclusive experience with great reach.