By Kate Healy, founder of Virtually Together.
During the pandemic virtual events have given everyone a chance to socialise with loved ones during difficult times. It has also helped work events continue in a new dynamic, with many employees favouring the virtual experience over in-person events. But now, in a post ‘Freedom Day’ world, there is a strong desire to return to physical events.
However, hybrid events are a mix of both, a combination of virtual and in-person attendance in one. They are set to take the lead in many sectors and create wider scale opportunities for event marketing teams. Hybrid events allow you to reach a large-scale audience and provides you with the opportunity to have international speakers present at your event.
Here’s how I believe hybrid events will evolve going forward and remain an important part of the events portfolio.
1 Cost reduction
Physical events have significant costs, the entertainment, venue size and food are required on a larger scale. Hybrid events reduce the number of in-person attendees which helps to decrease the overall costings. It’s important to understand the costs of virtual additions such as the screens, connectivity and cameras that allow for a live stream to include remote attendees.
However, these will be lower than in person add-ons as the number of participants joining online can be indefinite.
2 Increased audience engagement
Having a virtual audience allows for greater engagement. During the build-up and the event itself, guests can participate from their devices and interact with other guests. The platform creates a space for questions, shares, and likes. This can be extended for the in-person guests too, the most cost-effective way is through an event app which allows all users to network in once place.
3 Improved ROI
For any event, ROI is hard to calculate but hybrid events offer increased return on investment due to the increased reach and scalability. As these events offer more attendance you will have additional sponsor views and sign on after the event. You can also obtain enough data to translate into an accurate report on your performance. In terms of virtual scalability, technology needs to be set up once, after which it’s easy to replicate for future events. Plus, virtual platforms don’t require crews for set-up and removal. To boost your margin even further, you can scale down your in-person event and have a larger online presence.
4 Reduced impact on the environment
During the pandemic, we’ve seen the positive impact that reduce travel has had on the environment. Pollution and emissions have decreased due to people spending more time indoors. Hybrid events accommodate those who wish to continue reducing their personal carbon footprint. A drop in a headcount will mean less plastic use for catering, promotions, and less food wastage.
5 Authoritative speakers
With hybrid events, your event can reach larger numbers. A combination of both in person and virtual eliminates travel and time zone limitations. It also provides your attendees with access to international and in demand speakers. With more budget on the table, you can consider reaching out to previously out of budget industry leaders.
6 Data driven insights
At a soley live event, it be can be hard to do a accurate count and manage the engagement level. With hybrid events, you will know exact particpant numbers and also if, at any point, they drop out of the session. For sponsors they can gain essential information on traffic and interest, helping with their ROI.
7 Allows your business to address changing needs
The COVID-19 crisis has changed the way everything operates in the world. Technology and the way we work has been greatly impacted with many people now working from home indefinitely. As all businesses are adjusting their methods, they will be enticed to sponsor your hybrid event if you can guarantee and tract audience engagement. There is also no need to search the internet for event ideas when all the work has been done for you. At Virtually Together we host events from wine tasting to murder mystery parties. Keeping your events 100% in person is a risk and can leave your business behind.
Hybrid events allow you to cater to all audience members regardless of their preference and location.