Hybrid events are not new to the field of event management, but despite being around for some time, they’ve gained more popularity in the last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Live events still play an important role in the event planning field, yet hybrid events have some undoubted advantages such as decreasing costs for travel, accommodation, foods and beverages, insurance, etc. People wrongly assume that to host a virtual event, it’s enough to have a laptop and an organizer. In reality, that’s not exactly the case. A hybrid event requires a team of professionals who ensure the proper functioning and integration of all steps in the process. This includes marketing and promoting of the event, communicating with the lecturers, planning and executing the program, establishing control and coordination.
What is a hybrid event?
A hybrid event combines elements of an in-person event and a virtual event. In a hybrid event there are both on-site and online participants. The two groups communicate with each other through interactive surveys and polls, and online participants ask questions in the virtual chat. A moderator is in charge of the chat, answering the questions there. Online participants join the event via the organizer’s website or another online platform.
By combining the two formats, online events take the best of both. On one hand, they bring together people with different points of view to discuss on a given topic. On the other hand, online streaming of the event makes it possible to attract more participants and organize online activities that benefit both groups.
Characteristics of hybrid events
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic there have been restrictions on the number of people who can attend an event in-person. This in turn has increased the popularity of live streaming events from a virtual platform.
Events can be broadcasted from various social media such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitch. It becomes a little more complex if you want to stream an event only for a particular audience.
Six main benefits of hybrid events:
1. Attracting more participants
An undoubted advantage of technologies is that they allow us to connect with people from different points in the world. Many find it more convenient to participate online for a number of reasons: some save on travel costs, others want to take care of their children, and third aim to decrease their carbon footprint. By live streaming the event, we give more people, especially those abroad, the opportunity to participate.
2. Increasing commitment
When organizing a hybrid event, it is crucial to engage both on-site and online participants with the content and activities of the event. We organize games, surveys, questions and answers, which help the audience participate and stay engaged throughout the event.
3. Significantly decreasing the harmful effect on the environment and expenses
Hybrid events improve the image of the client company because on one hand, they are an innovative approach to event planning, and on the other hand, they are environmentally friendly.
4. Decreasing expenses
If more people participate from home instead of being on the site of the event, the expenses for hosting it decrease significantly. Additionally, in terms of promoting the event, digital marketing is usually less expensive and gives better results.
5. Collecting data
An important aspect of organizing an event is collecting data throughout the process. From its announcement, through marketing, to eventually holding the event, you have access to information about the people interested in the content, such as their number, sex, ethnicity, engagement, etc. Thus you collect all of this useful information.
6. More flexibility
Another important benefit of the hybrid event is that it gives people the opportunity to participate at a time that’s convenient for them. If they can’t participate during the live streaming, they can get access to a recording of the event to watch at their own time. Thus, we increase the accessibility of the content.
When should you organize a hybrid event?
Despite the many advantages of hybrid events, organizing them just for the sake of it can actually cost you more efforts, time, and money. That’s why you should consider if this is the best format for your event beforehand. There are several situations in which hybrid events are the best option. For example:
Too many participants: There are too many people who want to participate in the event, but the venue can’t accommodate all of them. Reducing the number of participants lowers the budget and the carbon footprint, thus reducing the harmful effect on the environment.
Travel restrictions: If there are restrictions for travelling to a certain country because of a trade war or a pandemic for example, the hybrid format can solve this issue. You should, however, take into consideration any government-issued restrictions before deciding to organize an event abroad.
Pandemic: This reason is self-explanatory. The pandemic played a crucial role in turning hybrid events into a hit in 2020. Due to restrictions on interpersonal distance during the pandemic, it’s recommended that there is a limited number of people on the site of the event. This usually includes the technical staff, event organizer, and moderators.
Family reasons, childcare: People often have other engagements scheduled for the day of the event. They can’t participate even if they want to because of previously arranged engagements at home. In this case, they can join the event online or watch a recording of the event later.
The event organizing industry is still recovering from the crisis and restarting. New rules and innovations are introduced, the competition is stronger than ever, and only those who adapt quickly to the changes will survive.
In-person events will always exist. Still, for those who have always wanted to participate in an event from home, there is now a solution.
The event industry is constantly growing and developing. Technologies brought event organizing to a whole new level. Despite future changes, one thing for sure will remain a priority: creating a unique experience for those who participate in the event.