Have you ever organised a hybrid event? In light of recent developments regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, event organisers, and businesses have turned to the virtual space to explore safe, practical alternatives to physical events.
Keep reading to learn what hybrid events are, what are their benefits, and how best to run them effectively in 2021 and beyond.
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The simplest definition of a hybrid event is “a mix of live and virtual events”. Some authors have extended the meaning by describing it as a “physical meeting in which both the physical and the online audience come together and participate in the same experience or content at the same time, but from different locations”. *
A hybrid event is any event that can effectively be held both onsite and virtually. Examples of hybrid event programs include training workshops, trade shows, conferences, congresses, seminars, or exhibitions.
What separates your hybrid event from those live events with technical elements is the audience engagement. The attendees will take part via their mobile devices or their computer, meaning they can offer feedback in real time. That’s why hybrid events require a seamless integration of technology to facilitate participation between a live and virtual audience.
Running a successful hybrid event requires the same level of planning and organising as with any one-off live or virtual event. It involves choosing a topic, agenda, speakers, timings, technology and so on. However, with hybrid events you need to also take time to carefully plan both the physical and virtual aspects of your event, so they merge to achieve a cohesive synchronised event.
To achieve this, you need to select a platform with the right capabilities, so your virtual audience share the event experience as closely as possible with live participants in real time. The complexity of your hybrid event would also require having a multi-functional capacity to accommodate variety of registration options with tiered pricing, multiple live streams, concurrent sessions, on-demand video or synchronised video sessions, and reliable analytics. A good example is the OnAIR platform and you can find out more about it here.
Virtual events provide an opportunity to reach audiences across the world without the limitations of the venue’s capacity. When you eliminate travel and environmental costs as well as time-zone limitations, your event’s ROI becomes more appealing to event organisers and participants alike.
The virtual aspect of the hybrid event opens up new opportunities between attendees and speakers, which allows them to engage and interact on a more intimate level. This is because your virtual audience is actively participating from their mobile devices or desktop computer, meaning they can talk, share, like, comment and much more.
Hybrid events are extremely valuable for sponsors and some of the main reasons are: increased reach, expanded flexibility in your sponsorship prospectus and reportable metrics. A hybrid event can report on many relevant metrics, proving your sponsors that they spent their money well. If you’re streaming your event live or offering on-demand, it’s a great opportunity to drive revenue via banner ads, ticketed content, sponsored content or segments, digital swag bags and more.
Following the enormous success of their virtual events, many organisers are eager to create and host hybrid events in the future. By following these simple steps, you will be on the right track of creating a highly successful hybrid event.
If you are hosting an online event and wish to learn about the most common pitfalls, you can read our blog: 5 Reasons Why People Are Not Attending Your Online Event