What is a Hybrid Event?
Hybrid events combine a “live” in-person event with a “virtual” online component, such as a tradeshow, conference, seminar or workshop. We all participate in hybrid events without even realising it, for example The Olympics, sport matches and games (Wimbledon, The US Open, The Ashes, Rugby World Cup, The FIFA World Cup, MLB World Series, NBA), music concerts such as Live Aid and news and politics coverage amongst many more.
What is the future of hybrid events?
Dreamtek have been delivering hybrid events for several years and have seen the popularity in these types of events rise in recent years. With the ongoing impact of Covid-19 hybrid events are a key focus for our clients, and we believe these will form a significant part of the future of the event industry, this is a new era of events.
Here some of the benefits our clients have seen from running hybrid events:
- Increased attendance: By lowering the barriers to entry and removing logistical challenges i.e. delegates who may not have been able to travel to a venue, perhaps because of cost or time, enables you to increase your event attendance.
- Pipeline for future events: More delegates will be willing to “give your event a try” as it demands less from them i.e. reduced travel, costs, time out of work, and boosts attendance for future events as they verify and build loyalty to your event.
- Increases your reach: Your event is broadcast to a larger audience than is ever possible “in-person”. This is particularly useful if you are trying to reach a national/global audience.
- Increased flexibility for attendees: Attendees can engage with and consume content from a hybrid event in their chosen way on their chosen device at a time that works for them.
- Increased engagement: Adding a virtual element to your live event opens up many more engagement opportunities than would be possible at a strictly live event, both during and post-event.
- Increased measurement: You can track virtual engagement and use the data to improve future events.
- More sponsorship opportunities: Increased sponsorship opportunities due to the increased reach of your event, plus there are more opportunities for sponsorship, including sponsor livestreams, real time networking rooms, Q&A sessions, event apps and more.
- Reduce impact on emissions/environment: Live events and the travel required for attendance can generate a large amount of greenhouse gas emissions, leaving behind a big carbon footprint. Hybrid events mean that content is available to a much broader audience, but with a much lower carbon footprint associated with their “attendance.”
- Create a wealth of marketing content: All the content captured and recorded can be re-used throughout the year in different ways, helping to promote future events, keeping attendees engaged between events and to keep your website and social media channels alive with fresh content.
When clients are considering pivoting to or expanding their hybrid event schedule, they often share their concerns with us. We do hope that face-to-face meetings will come back to full force in the future as nothing can truly replace them. In person events and celebrations are the cornerstone of our events industry; however, the hybrid / virtual element will no doubt be an essential component moving forward. It certainly is right now and it’s enabling our customers to continue content sharing, networking and communicating to audiences around the globe.
Some common discussions we have are:
- Does including a virtual element take away from the in-person experience?
No, and in fact it can be enhanced as there is more content accessible post-event. The experience for attendees and speakers can feel very different for a hybrid event and some clients are concerned that the physical audience may not receive the expected experience. Clearly defining both the physical and virtual offering, focusing on what’s important to your audience and ensuring both are unique will ensure all attendees’ needs are met. You can’t offer all the same opportunities to both audiences, so prioritise what matters most to them.
- Can we deliver two-way interaction? How will virtual attendees engage with the event?
Two-way interaction is at the heart of all virtual events and by including live seminars, real-time networking rooms, live chat and Q&A sessions, you can provide virtual attendees with the same opportunities as physical events.
- Will a hybrid event be more expensive?
Hybrid events are on average about 25- to 40-percent less expensive than in-person attendance, with travel and venue costs decreasing.
- How will we ensure it all works?
With hybrid events there is an increased reliance on technology. Being able to stream an event live to a global audience, with the added functionality of multiple streams, breakout rooms, live chat and Q&A sessions will require an experienced technology partner. We work with our clients throughout the entire planning process, providing the expertise and guidance to help you professionally manage the transition of physical to digital events.
The impact of Covid on hybrid events…
Covid has disrupted the events industry, changing the global landscape enormously in a matter of months. Since the onset of the epidemic, hundreds of events have been postponed and cancelled all over the world. With no clear view of when the crisis will abate, many organisations have pivoted to hybrid and fully virtual events. With a requirement to continue to share product news, update global teams, provide training and networking opportunities and to protect revenue the need to evolve has been strong. Alongside this organisations are prioritising the safety and security of their events for everyone’s benefit. All events will now need to adopt new policies and procedures to minimise physical contact and maximise the health and well-being of staff, attendees and speakers.
Dreamtek has been working with our clients to support and guide them through these challenging times, enabling them to continue to produce live events and maintain dialogue and engagement with their audience without compromising on quality.
What is the future of hybrid events beyond Covid?
The hybrid event format will form an essential role in the future of events as they offer a huge opportunity and undeniable benefits to attendees. If well managed, with the right content, platform and design, hybrid events can increase attendance levels and therefore income.
If you’d like to get in touch with the #dreamteam please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a call!
Dreamtek can capture the live elements of any event. Our specialist #dreamteam production crew will direct and film to record those essential keynote presentations, the bustling exhibition arena, the nominees and winners at the awards ceremony and the team tactics at the sporting event, needed for post match analysis. We can capture all different scenarios and film in numerous environments to provide powerful post event material.