The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to modify our daily routines in a variety of ways, the most significant being the way we communicate with one another.
Throughout this challenging period, we have adapted our interaction with others to include (and normalize) virtual meetings and virtual conferences.
That’s why hybrid events are the next big thing. In this article, we will explore this phenomenon further and discover the benefits of hosting this type of event.
We shall discuss the following:
- 4 reasons why hybrid events are important
- 6 different types of hybrid events
- 6 event examples to inspire you
Let’s get into it.
Table of Contents
What is a Hybrid Event?
A hybrid event combines virtual and in-person attendees, allowing them to connect with other participants, sponsors, and presenters whether they are at the venue or watching from home.
The way in which people engage is what separates a hybrid event from a live or physical event.
Your audience will not be watching your event on television; instead, they will be participating through their mobile devices or computers, allowing them to provide comments in real-time.
A hybrid event allows the following:
- A seamlessly integrated technology, offering involvement from both a live and virtual audience.
- A viewer-friendly experience that appeals to all audiences.
- Your online and live audiences to be brought up to speed.
#FinCon21 – a digital marketing event for personal finance content producers – took the hybrid stage last September in 2021, with attendees able to join the conference in person in Austin, Texas, or virtually from anywhere in the world.
Maintaining engagement with a virtual audience was one of the primary goals for the hybrid event organizers.
As a result, #FinCon went truly above and beyond to ensure that its virtual attendees got the most out of their event.
It’s self-evident that hybrid presentations should be user-friendly for both audiences.
Just as in-person participants engaged in small group conversations and meet-ups, the online audience communicated with in-person attendees through chats and video calls, enabling a seamless connection between the event’s hybrid viewers.
Next, let’s further explore what hybrid events are becoming more popular!
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4 Reasons why Hybrid Events are Popular
Virtual and in-person events can have advantages and disadvantages.
Many individuals are looking forward to the return of in-person activities and less time spent in front of a monitor.
On the other hand, some are more likely to participate remotely for a variety of reasons.
By satisfying both groups, hybrid events are shaping the style of future events.
Below, let’s check out why these events are popular.
Reason #1: Farther reach
More than 80% of marketers believe that the most significant result of their virtual transition has been increased audience reach.
The most widespread misconception about hybrid events is that participants must participate either digitally or in person, but not both.
In fact, the hybrid strategy allows your events to reach a larger audience. For example, even though an attendee would prefer to participate in person, they might be unable to due to travel limitations and restrictions.
However, if they can participate remotely, then that’s the best option.
Furthermore, there is almost no maximum limit to the number of virtual audiences you can have, while physical locations can only hold a certain number.
Reason #2: Increased attendance and engagement
While attending an event or conference in person is often the most engaging, not everyone has the time or capacity to travel great distances to participate.
Not to mention that these in-person gatherings can occasionally be rather costly.
Both of these factors might influence an individual’s decision to register for an event.
However, with a virtual element, those potential customers will likely feel more driven to attend if they can do it from the convenience of their own home and at a much-reduced cost.
Switching to a hybrid model can draw far more attendees than an all-in-person event.
Let’s see our next reason.
Reason #3: More flexibility
The harsh reality is that no one knows when the pandemic will eventually end.
Many people are looking forward to a return to the past now that a vaccine has been developed.
When it comes to attending an event in person or online, individuals ultimately choose based on their own risk tolerance.
Many people would attend a live event if it met other safety requirements that satisfied their own personal risk tolerance, such as being nearby or minimal in-person attendance.
According to Forbes, when you arrange a hybrid event, you create the framework for a virtual backup option, while still providing the option of attending in person.
When you’ve already figured out the virtual event aspects for your event, it’s simpler for attendees and organizers to switch between participating in person and online without having to entirely reimagine the event.
In the next few years, 34% of event organizers anticipate increasing their investment in hybrid events.
Also, hybrid event platforms are being purchased by 21% of marketers.
Reason #4: Cost-effectiveness
The flexibility of hybrid events allows you to have much more control over costs.
For instance, if you can provide a virtual attendance experience that is equivalent to an in-person one, more people are likely to participate remotely, resulting in lower expenses for everything from venue rent to food to travel.
If you need to cut down on the expensive costs of offering in-person encounters, hybrid events allow you to reduce the effect on your target audience.
For example, you can elect to stream specific presentations, webinars, and events online while still allowing in-person guests to attend them in the main location.
Let’s dive in and explore together the six types of hybrid events.
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6 of Types of Hybrid Events
According to a study conducted by MPI, 70% of respondents believe that hybrid events (not exclusively virtual) will be critical to the events industry’s future.
Hybrid events come in multiple different types and forms, which we’ve outlined below.
Type #1: Team meetings
A hybrid team meeting has both in-person and remote participants.
Remote attendees join the conference using a virtual meeting technology, such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom.
In-person attendees gather in a separate conference room.
Sometimes, regardless of whether or not they are physically present in the conference room, each member will participate in the meeting utilizing a personal device. In other cases, in-person guests will present using a central screen.
Since you don’t need to disrupt session rhythm even if some individuals aren’t in the office, hybrid meetings can assist in greasing the wheels of cooperation, communication, and decision-making in your company.
Health and safety are now higher on the agenda in the post-Covid office than they were before.
Hybrid team meetings are ideal for reducing the number of individuals physically present in a venue. Because you may restrict the number of persons in the meeting space, social distancing is not an issue.
With a meeting room booking process, you can guarantee that rooms are not overloaded, keep track of who is using each meeting room, and obtain a long-term perspective of prospective reservations.
The technology also offers touchless check-in through an app that combines its use with touchless door entry, reducing interaction with workspace surfaces.
Let’s check what’s next.
Type #2: Conferences
A hybrid conference is described as a gathering of individuals who meet both in person and virtually.
Hybrid conferences combine on-site live attendance with virtual participants.
A hybrid conference is held in a physical space and includes a virtual component.
Understanding this, however, is just the beginning since the variety of options available to produce a hybrid event is vast, as is the variety of budgets!
As a result, it’s critical that you know precisely what you want from a hybrid conference or event, as well as your budget. It’s all in the preparation!
The goal of a hybrid event should always be to provide a great deal of experiences and value for both in-person and online guests.
Much of this is made possible by the production company’s thorough preparation (and talent) in establishing a platform and experience that allows for involvement and an engaging virtual experience for everybody.
When planning and organizing a hybrid event, some important questions to consider are:
- How many of your attendees are remote, and how many are present?
- Is your material appropriate for both settings? If not, how might it be modified to do so?
- Can you guarantee that you will be able to accept live questions from delegates in the room as well as remote delegates?
- Do you have speakers who can successfully engage both types of audiences?
- Do you have a production business who have the skills and competence to guarantee that the audio-visual equipment performs two functions without issue?
- Will you be offering event swag to all attendees?
Type #3: Trade shows
The hybrid trade show aims to bridge the gap between online and offline by guaranteeing that your trade show is available to people from all over the world.
A virtual trade show is an online environment with a 3-dimensional configuration that includes event interaction technologies which mimic the concept of a real trade fair.
Visitors and exhibitors may connect and engage through any virtual event venue at the virtual trade exhibition.
The popularity of hybrid trade exhibitions has been steadily increasing.
In the next few years, 34% of event organizers anticipate increasing their investment in hybrid events to become the new normal.
It is the ideal option for resolving the chaotic and never-ending challenges that real and virtual events encounter separately.
Trade show organizers quickly introduced several adjustments to the way their events were run.
It was never going to be possible just to end the world of trade exhibitions.
The only way ahead was to adapt to a new manner of doing trade exhibitions. It has occurred, and hybrid trade shows are now the ideal solution for all trade show possibilities.
Maintaining the attention of both those in attendance and those viewing from the comfort of their own home is critical to the trade show’s success.
Polls, quizzes, and active moments should be included in the hybrid trade fair to motivate both sides to stay involved.
If you offer a break-out option in the face-to-face presentation, you should also have a virtual breakout room option.
Live chats allow users to communicate with others in attendance while also providing a chance for people to contribute information, which may serve as a springboard for future conversation.
Sometimes, just penning a few lines to answer a question will provide attendee engagement, and the attendee experience they need to open up.
Using the simple checklist below, you can easily manage and organize your hybrid trade show for a great event experience:
- Use social media advertising with eye-catching teasers to entice both exhibitors and guests with event marketing.
- Create a systematic follow-up strategy for your hybrid trade exhibit.
- Don’t pass up on sponsorship opportunities.
- Plan engaging networking activities for exhibitors and guests.
- Provide consistent and proactive technical help.
Type #4: Product demos and launches
A hybrid product launch or demo enables businesses to introduce new products to the market.
Hosting a hybrid virtual product launch event can be a challenging metric at first.
One of the most frequent keynotes that organizers encounter is keeping the audience interested.
Organizers are often unable to concentrate on both the virtual and actual participants.
This causes unneeded confusion during hybrid events and disrupts the presenters.
As a result, it is critical to have a solid event strategy to keep both your virtual and real audiences interested, happy, and engaged.
Another critical component for successful event planning is analyzing the participation limit.
You must concentrate on the wider audience participation to avoid any problems throughout your hybrid event.
For example, you could wish to incorporate a small gathering for your hybrid event’s in-person meetings.
Your business should place a greater emphasis on virtual engagement in order to secure the safety of each and every member.
Defining your target audience can undoubtedly benefit you in a variety of ways when it comes to product sales and your marketing strategy.
In order to correctly assess your audience, you need to thoroughly investigate their target audience’s age as well as career to get their demographic and psychographic information.
You can’t create a solid product marketing plan until you understand your target consumers’ needs.
Conduct user surveys and market research to determine which elements of your product will be appealing to consumers.
In this manner, you’ll have a better understanding of your competitors, as well as the demands of your consumers, and you’ll be able to develop a proper plan for your product. You must examine your audience in light of your organization’s goals.
Let’s see our next type of hybrid event.
Type #5: Local events with limited number of attendees
This sort of hybrid experience enables participants to expand their networks inside their local areas.
It enables people to enjoy the magic of live events without having to go too far or spend too much.
It does take more preparation on the part of the event planners, but it is doable by putting important attendees and exhibitors from various areas on a planning committee for local events.
This hybrid event format also necessitates an all-in-one, customizable online platform for all attendees and exhibitors to connect and engage in real-time.
This approach is easily adaptable to include virtual attendees who are alone at home or at their workspace on-site.
People can dine together and meet face-to-face while using technology to view the main event’s content and connect with the principal speakers.
Our next hybrid event is seminars, and it’s the last type on our list!
Type #6: Seminars
A hybrid seminar fosters involvement and dialogue rather than merely broadcasting your event for guests at home to passively attend.
This means that your at-home audience can participate in real-time while still getting the same encounter as those in the live audience.
Managed virtual event software makes hybrid lectures practical.
This means you’ll need a virtual event platform with interactive features like controlled Q&A sessions, live polls, and the option to submit comments digitally.
When you add a digital component to an event, it becomes simpler and more accurate to collect critical data and measure performance.
This isn’t only beneficial for your own brand management insights; prospective sponsors are also looking for important data that will encourage them to invest in your event.
You’ll be able to do the following with the proper managed virtual seminar platform:
- Keep track of audience numbers
- Examine session participation
- Determine drop-off places
- Send event follow-up reports
- Increase audience participation
A decent virtual seminar platform will have plenty of other features aimed at increasing audience participation.
This is critical for establishing an atmosphere in which your online audience feels as invested as those in person.
Some people – particularly millennials – prefer to participate online, thus many organizations find that by providing both modes of contact, engagement increases dramatically when compared to just in-person events.
Look for the following audience engagement features:
- Question-and-answer sessions
- Polling in real time
- A professional observer or host
Want to see some examples? Keep reading.
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6 Examples of Hybrid Events to Inspire You
The hybrid event space gives event planners limitless chances to broaden their reach and foster even deeper relationships between guests, partners, and exhibitors.
Below, you’ll find six different hybrid events that were run by various organizers.
Example #1: INBOUND
INBOUND is a three-day conference held annually in August by HubSpot.
Firm experts, as well as comedians and performers, are asked to speak to a big audience of professionals seeking to learn about marketing and best practices to help their business.
The greatest thing is that all of the sessions are recorded and made available online for participants to view on their own time.
This is especially useful for company owners who wish to communicate critical information with their staff after the event.
INBOUND 2021 was a wholly virtual experience, although their 2022 event is expected to revert to its hybrid state.
Example #2: Apple Product Launch Event
In terms of technology, Apple is always one step ahead of the competition, and their events are much the same.
So, when a trillion-dollar corporation such as Apple holds a hybrid event to unveil a new device, it becomes the most anticipated event for customers, rival companies, and gadget lovers.
More specifically, Apple conferences create a lot of buzz around new product launches.
Their excellent production value distinguishes them as a genuine pioneer in creating hybrid events to boost their branding.
It was a spectacular event in which CEO Tim Cook demonstrated the newest products and developments, while the virtual attendees and in-person audience were enthralled by the proceedings.
Example #3: Webinar World
Webinar World, a marketing activity event and webinar, is hosted by ON24.
Its purpose is to enhance revenue and engagement by employing online experiences.
This event is well known for employing a hybrid format that includes an in-person audience, a virtual audience, and a variety of shareable material.
Webinar World’s hybrid methodology dramatically widens its audience’s reach.
Because of its large viewership, this event often attracts enticing sponsorships.
Sponsors may have their sessions throughout the event and have their logos featured in promotional mailers and downloadable Webinar World materials.
Let’s move forward.
Example #4: Junction
Junction began as a single hackathon held in Helsinki, Finland.
Finns would flock to Helsinki to experiment with technology and show off their newest innovations.
Junction established regional centers all around the globe over the years, and its main event grew in popularity.
In 2019, 1,500 developers and illustrators from all around the globe gathered in San Francisco for a three-day hackathon.
Junction 2020 was meant to be considerably greater, but the COVID-19 epidemic pushed this feat back.
A global community of hackers, on the other hand, would not be held down for long.
Junction’s team quickly started organizing a hybrid event that would bring together a global network of hackathons to recreate the in-person experience.
They gave 30 local hubs the authority to hold their own hackathons, who then participated in 14 worldwide contests.
Even though the guests were separated by hundreds or thousands of kilometers, they felt a familiar feeling of connection and togetherness.
Example #5: UEG Week
UEG Week, one of the world’s most important gastroenterology meetings, blended virtual and physical in 2016 to widen its reach.
All of the events – including live endoscopic surgery – were broadcast live from the Austria Center Vienna, but some of the most unique components came from the interactive capabilities accessible to on-site and virtual attendees.
These featured exclusive access to an independent study, which was provided via an e-poster lounge at the location as well as through the digital platform.
Moving on to our last example.
Example #6: Milan’s Salone del Mobile Supersalone Trade Show
Following the pandemic, Milan’s Salone del Mobile presented a hybrid trade show.
Instead of separating the different industries into their own pavilions, all sorts of brands were mingled together to provide a dynamic experience for the visitor.
Rather than walk-up booths, exhibitors displayed their art in a gallery-style of long rows, which helped the flow of visitor traffic while also encouraging social separation.
Exhibitor booths also had fewer support structures and were substituted with display walls draped with items to allow for air circulation.
This design choice was also related to the event’s emphasis on sustainability, as well as the ideas of reusing, recycling, and circularity.
More than 60,000 individuals attended the five-day event, with 30% coming from outside Italy, representing 113 nations.
It was also open to the public for the first time, and many of the objects available for sale, which was also a first.
Thanks to the new Salone del Mobile Milano digital platform, the revamped exhibition was likewise built for both in-person and virtual guests.
It allowed in-person visitors to browse merchandise online by scanning QR codes displayed at the fair, while online viewers could virtually tour the displays and watch live streams of the event programming.
This made the overall experience a successful hybrid event.
Our article has come to an end!
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Now Over to You
So, there you have it.
You now know everything about hybrid events and how they can assist businesses expand their audience, increase their event profitability, and gather useful information.
Thank you for reading!