Vaccinations are rolling out and in-person events are returning – at some level. Most are smaller than pre-Covid days – with a lot of focus on sanitation, airflow, and social distancing.
With a jump in virtual events in 2020, many discovered the joys of being there – without having to be there. No flights, no hotels, no days away from the rest of your life – and the coffee choices from your at-home Keurig.
Many event planners have recognized that even when life is back to the way it was, there are benefits to keeping events hybrid at some level.
According to the Event Manager Blog, “While nothing will ever completely replace an in-person gathering, virtual events represent a lifeline for events in the midst of travel restrictions and stay-at-home orders, and they will be a key component of events during the transition back to live and beyond. Incorporating virtual elements at live events will be crucial to their viability.”
This leads us to the first reason to host a hybrid event:
Hybrid Events Allow You to Reach a Larger Potential Audience
Between social distancing, stay-at-home orders, mask regulations, travel restrictions, and general concerns about returning to pre-Covid “normal,” hybrid events allow those who are comfortable going to in-person events to connect with those who are not. Plus, hybrid events aren’t solely limited by capacity restrictions.
The Event Manager Blog says hybrid events allow “for much more inclusivity and diversity at the event, which in turn can offer the potential for more interesting exchanges, a larger overall audience, and a higher ROI.”
Hybrid Events Offer a Greater ROI
You line up the speakers, book the venue, determine food and beverage options – the to-do list seems endless, but with limited capacity in every venue, your ROI for the in-person event is limited.
Expanding to a hybrid event expands your ROI potential because you can target those who are comfortable with in-person events as well as those who are not.
Not only does this help you have a larger, more successful event, but it also helps more attendees network and learn from other people.
The Event Manager Blog says, “You may even want to find ways of connecting your live attendees with the online audience in order to maximize the networking potential and minimize silos based on the privilege of attending in person.”
Hybrid events create a win-win situation for everyone.
Hybrid Events Have Data Tracking
In-person events allow for some data tracking before and after the event, but virtual and hybrid events allow for real-time data tracking. Attendees provide personal data when they register for the events, when joining a session, and when submitting surveys.
This data is easier to collect and review since it’s digital, and it makes it easier to encourage in-person attendees to complete forms and surveys online, especially during post-pandemic events.
Hybrid Events are Scalable
When you have a virtual event, the seats are practically endless. When you have a hybrid event, you have some limited in-person seating as well as a practically endless online audience.
But what about sponsors?
Hybrid events offer more sponsorship opportunities, which means you can scale your event to serve more people in more ways.
According to Aggregage, many sponsors are shifting their budgets to virtual events because of Covid-related restrictions as well as the requirement to have more data to back up their spending.
Hybrid events also offer you, as the event host, the data you need to attract sponsors. When you have more sponsors, you can put on a bigger show, have more in-demand speakers, and curate experiences for your in-person and online audiences to connect in safe, meaningful ways.
Partner With the Right Event Experts
If your organization is planning an event later this year and you’re considering expanding to a hybrid event, know that you don’t have to host a hybrid event on your own.
Hybrid events, while they have extensive benefits and opportunities, also combine the intricacies of in-person and virtual events with the added challenge of connecting both audiences in interactive and meaningful ways.
Because of the unique challenges hybrid events present, our team at Meet Me In The Cloud considers hybrid events as a unique delivery skill.
Jeff Gallagher, Head of Event Assist Productions at MMITC, says,
A mix of virtual and in-person is very likely to be the future of events. Organizations that want to approach a hybrid model need to consider how to deliver a stellar in-person experience and keep the virtual attendee engaged. Considerations need to be made for both audiences – which adds a level of complexity.
Don’t face this complexity on your own. Whether it’s a quick team meeting, family reunion, or annual corporate conference, Meet Me In The Cloud has helped many businesses like yours optimize their virtual events with Event Assist Services.