COVID-19 may have temporarily stopped live events and productions from happening but companies and event organizers are finding new ways to go around it. We saw a huge spike in online activity this past year, with Zoom conferences and live events held online. However, one must also note that virtual events can only do so much. Some events are better off if experienced in person while others can be done virtually.
Even though virtual events became the new normal, organizers and planners have found a way to incorporate both elements in the form of hybrid events.
What is a hybrid event?
A hybrid event is a combination of the live aspect of events and its virtual counterpart. It marries the two together to create a more impactful experience amid a pandemic where physical distancing is highly encouraged.
Doing this allows companies and organizers to still maximize their reach without putting people at high risk of viral exposure.
When should they be done?
When planning for an event, organizers need to figure out if it can be done strictly o a virtual level or if in-person attendance will be better and more beneficial to all involved. They need to ask if it makes sense to do a hybrid event or leave it online. Live events are mostly frowned upon at this time and even if they go down that route, the attendance will still be limited to a mere fraction of the venue’s capacity.
Hybrid events are a great way of getting more people involved without risking much. Of course, COVID protocols need to be strictly observed. The venue should be prepared beforehand and set up to promote social distancing. Custom tour buses can be used to shuttle people back and forth to lessen the need for a public commute.
Those who aren’t comfortable in being around people but want to participate can join the event online. It would be best to send out pre-event surveys and RSVPs to find out how many people are interested in participating in in-person and those who prefer to do it remotely.
What are the advantages of holding hybrid events?
While both live and online events have their own advantages, hybrid events offer benefits that make them a better choice for companies, organizers, and planners.
One of the common misconceptions about hybrid events is that it splits the attendance into only a mere fraction of what could be. The truth is they have a greater capacity for reaching more people. Hybrid events lower the barrier for attendance by doubling the chances of people attending, whether they choose to go the traditional way of being there in person or in the comfort of their homes.
Content Engagement Enhancement
Both virtual and hybrid events have a great positive environmental impact. Hybrid events also have a higher engagement rate among both sets of audiences. You get to have more engagement opportunities with hybrid events in pre-event, event proper, and post-event with both your live and online attendees.
Reduced Carbon Footprint
With fewer people on the road going to conferences, workshops, seminars, and other similar functions, carbon emissions are brought down significantly.
According to some reports, energy usage is predicted to drop by 6% globally because of hybrid events. 6% might not seem a lot but it is basically equivalent to the entire country of India going powerless.
Greater Value for Sponsorship
More and more companies are willing to sponsor hybrid events as their avenues for advertising and promotions have significantly decreased when live events were halted. They recognize that hybrid events have a wider reach compared to ordinary live events, thus giving them more mileage in terms of their exposure product placements.
Minimal Travel Costs
Companies no longer need to spend as much on conferences and seminars because of the travel restrictions brought about by COVID. Hybrid events allow employees to participate in events remotely on their digital devices. Business owners only need to send a select few to join the live events, at least only those who really need to be there. This applies not just to participants but to the sponsors and organizing teams as well.
Greater Investment Returns
Investment returns are harder to calculate when it comes to events because of all the different variables and moving pieces. However, to compensate for all of these, hybrid events offer greater ROI because of their scalability and wider reach.
With the way things are going now, live events won’t be coming back in full swing any time soon. Hybrid events are the short-term solution to our events’ concerns and problems today. Whether it’s here to stay is something we’ll find out eventually.