The fate of physical events is once again threatened with the rising cases of the Omicron variant of Covid-19. There are many unresolved issues and uncertainties surrounding the event industry. Therefore, the safest route for any event organizers to go to is a hybrid event.
During these trying times, hybrid events provide a win-win situation for both event planners and participants. They’re set to become the go-to method for future get-togethers. The year 2022 will continue to show off their abilities. More than 60% of event organizers stated that they will continue to accommodate a virtual audience even after live events resume (EventMB 2022) and therefore, hybrid events will be huge in years to come.
Engagement is the essential ingredient that makes a successful hybrid event where it involves seamless integration of technology to facilitate participation between in-person and virtual events.
Benefits of Hybrid Events
Compared to virtual events and in-person events, the time and effort involved in organizing hybrid events can be doubled. It can still be worth it because you are providing your audience the best of both worlds. Some of the most significant advantages of hybrid events are listed below.
1. Increased attendance and reach
While attending an in-person event or conference is frequently the most engaging, some people lack the time or ability to travel long distances to do so. Not to mention the fact that in-person events can be quite costly at times. Both of these concerns can make people reluctant to sign up for your event. Individuals may be more inclined to attend a hybrid event if they can do so from the comfort of their own home and at a considerably lesser cost. A hybrid event can draw a lot more people than an all-in-person event.
In addition, it will be more crucial than ever to ensure that events are welcoming to all attendees from all over the world. Closed captioning and live translation, for example, will let international teams communicate despite language hurdles. A hybrid event trend that we hope will persist is bringing individuals from different cultures together in an accessible way.
2. Enhanced Engagement with Audience
You will be live streaming your speakers and sessions for virtual attendees to watch when you hold a hybrid event. This allows you to record and send out these sessions after the event. Attendees who were unable to attend certain sessions or who simply wish to review and learn more about the topic can do so days or even weeks after the event has ended. This will help to keep your event, as well as your company, in the thoughts of your attendees long after it has ended.
You may even include both live and virtual attendees in networking. You can set aside one space for in-person meetings and another for virtual meetings that are booked using business matchmaking software. You can guarantee that you can effectively implement the required interaction opportunities that make the most sense to your audience by organizing your event with them in mind.
3. Higher Sponsorship Value
Your sponsors will be able to reach both your in-person and virtual attendees now that your event is hybrid. That’s twice as much exposure as they had before. Hosting a portion of your event online opens up new possibilities for brand visibility and the potential to generate more leads. Your event will attract more sponsorship cash and even more sponsors if you provide more value to your sponsors. This can assist in helping to ease the burden of technical costs of hosting a hybrid event.
4. Better Access to Event Data and Insights
Event technology softwares such as Evenesis is readily available in the market. You can capture useful data and insights from both in-person and virtual attendees with hybrid event technology. For example, polls and surveys connected with a mobile event app allow both remote and in-person attendees to provide feedback.
Event objectives and analytics systems can provide a continual stream of data-driven insights that event managers can use to gain a deeper knowledge of their participants. Armed with this information, they can improve their events every time.
5. Lower Carbon Footprint
Your event’s carbon footprint will be reduced by minimizing the number of onsite guests. Attendees will travel less, less meals will be thrown away, and rental chairs and tables will be transported less. Your company will be known not only for its event-planning prowess, but also for its environmental sensitivity. As a supporter of the Net Zero Carbon Events, Evenesis is committed to net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050 in all the events we are involved in.
Common Mistakes in Hybrid Events
Now that you are aware of the benefits that come with organizing hybrid events, let us now highlight some of the common mistakes even seasoned event organizers may make. These are the mistakes that you need to avoid as much as possible.
1. Using only one engagement strategy for both in-person and virtual events.
Each audience presents its own set of challenges. What works for a live audience will not work for a virtual audience especially not when it comes to engagement methods. Therefore, event organizers should not make the mistake of implementing the same thing because their demands are different. Taking the easy way out will only bring you to a dead end.
2. Not setting the right pricing for the right value
It’s possible that nailing this task will be a bit of a challenge. If you do decide to charge the same for both audiences, make sure the virtual audience gets a special bundle that contains benefits that in-person attendees don’t get. Otherwise, you may need to consider charging the virtual audience less.
3. Not planning ahead on networking flow between in-person and virtual attendees.
Attendees will be eager to network with one another, leaving plenty of opportunity for the real audience to overlook the virtual one. Come up with meaningful networking techniques for virtual participants as well as between them and the in-person audience.
4. Disregard the need for rehearsals
It’s improbable that any event organizers would skip rehearsals that take place in person. However, it is rather simple to overlook the importance of rehearsals in the virtual setting. That would truly be a huge blunder. Rehearsals for virtual events are just as vital as those for in-person events, even more so for hybrid events.
Before the event day, everything including lights, sound, videos, materials, and equipments used for virtual streaming must be thoroughly checked and evaluated. Event organizers need to prepare for the worst-case scenario and have a backup plan in place. It’s the most effective method for ensuring that everything goes smoothly during the event days.
5. No broadcasting or streaming quality
Many event organizers felt that a Zoom meetings or webinars would be sufficient when virtual events initially became popular. However, screen fatigue set in shortly, demonstrating that Zoom or other similar video conferencing tools may not be up to the task over time. Storytelling and engagement tactics must be carefully applied in both virtual and hybrid events.
When organizing hybrid events, event organizers need to get creative with the tools to produce broadcast-quality content — camera angles, b-roll footage, green screens, high-quality audio, and video are all things to consider.
6. Opting for the wrong event platform
Hybrid and virtual event platforms are becoming increasingly popular, providing event organizers with a variety of possibilities. If you do not know what you are looking for, this can be a problem.
When determining which platform for your events, you will need to take some time to do some research on what is available. Make a list of everything you want and don’t stop searching until you find it. Ask for assistance from your production and event technology partners; they should be able to find the greatest match for your event’s objectives.
So how do you know if hybrid events are right for you?
There are a few considerations you need to take into accounts to decide if hybrid event is right for you:
- What is the goal of your event, both in-person and virtual?
- Who is your target audience (in-person and virtual) and what do they expect from this event?
- Will there be exhibitors at physical booths or virtual exhibitions or both?
- How about sponsorship chances for both live and virtual sponsorships, or a combination of both?
If you are still unsure, please feel free to get in touch with Evenesis team and we will advise you further.