As restrictions and security measures are loosened, new possibilities open up for us to go back to attending and organising “traditional” events. However, international events often have to deal with varying standards in different countries or with the fact that many potential attendees still do not feel fully confident about attending events in person. Furthermore, we need to consider everything we have learned over the past two years: digital and virtual events offer advantages in terms of engagement and measurability of results that we do not want to give up. So how do we keep the best of both formats? Hybrid events, of course, are the solution. Here’s how to organise them effectively.
What are hybrid events?
The term hybrid event refers to the integration of technological and virtual elements in the context of a traditional event, with the aim of improving participant involvement. A hybrid event will therefore involve the physical gathering of a group of attendees in a specific location at a specific time, but will also allow remote participation for those who do not wish to or cannot take part in the event in person. In this way, participation experiences are multiplied and the organisation takes on a completely new form.
The advantages of hybrid events
One of the main advantages driving the growing popularity of this format is the ability to greatly expand the audience of each event by combining in-person attendees with those who choose to connect remotely. This increases the ROI and engagement possibilities for both organisers and attendees, making each event much more versatile and enriching the experience for all parties involved. Those who choose to attend will enjoy the benefits and satisfaction of face-to-face interaction, while those using the virtual platform can expect to save considerably on travel and logistics expenses. For organisers, this is an ideal arrangement, combining the measurability of online events with the possibilities for interaction and lead generation that are created in traditional ones. In addition, the higher costs incurred because of social distancing measures are balanced out. If, for instance, the venue can only be filled to 25% of its capacity, it becomes much harder for organisers to break even. Allowing remote participation helps bridge this gap.
How to organise a successful hybrid event
The key to organising a truly effective hybrid event is to leave no one behind. This undoubtedly requires additional effort, but it pays off in the short term. Both experiences – in-person and remote – need to be treated with equal care and to learn about the different types of target audience that will choose them, in order to respond to their particular needs. In-person attendees will need to be provided with the opportunity to measure the results and benefits of live participation, while for those connecting remotely it will be important to ensure a level of interaction as close as possible to that of a real-life event. To achieve these goals it is essential to work with experienced professionals on the “traditional” event side, but also to choose a virtual event platform that guarantees quality, efficiency, and interactivity at the highest level, on the digital event side.