Virtual events defined 2020 after the pandemic hit and events and meetings were cancelled, indefinitely postponed, or held online. The pandemic has revolutionized the meetings and events industry and innovation is about to take over with hybrid events. Hybrid is going to define 2021 and beyond. Below we will talk in more detail about post pandemic event production.
What is a Hybrid Event?
A hybrid event is live in-person meeting with a virtual component. All the keynotes and general sessions can be streamed live with select breakouts, or the entire program can be made available online at the same time it’s happening live on site. Hybrid is the future for all meetings and events moving forward. There will be an expectation for hybrid meetings now that we have all survived the virtual tidal wave of 2020. Attendees want options and hosting a hybrid event is the perfect way to satisfy their eagerness.
Related: Event Planning Guide: Hybrid Style
What are the Benefits of Hybrid Events?
There are remarkable benefits with a hybrid event. For one, you can expect the best attendance you have ever had at one of your events. With the hybrid option, your attendees can choose to travel or not, they can stream the event live from the comforts of their home or office. If they already have a conflict with the dates or are still weary of Covid, they can register for the virtual component. You can have an array of sponsors and perhaps even a speaker that maybe never had availability. The opportunities to make your event a true success is endless once you go hybrid.
Related: 10 Tips for Professional Broadcasting From Home
Increased Reach and Attendance
Depending on what time zone you decide to host your hybrid event, you can expect a global audience, if that is your goal.
With a virtual component, your attendees can stream from anywhere in the world. Geography is no longer a barrier in your potential attendees.
Just make sure you have a platform and professional production company that can stream the event to multiple attendees at the same time. You might also want to provide an option for your attendees in person or virtual to stream the content after the event, for days, weeks maybe you want to keep the videos on your website for years to reflect on, the choice is yours!
Maybe your CEO or CMO was never available to attend this event in person, but you know your attendees would love to hear an update from them.
With a hybrid event, anything is possible! You can pre-record content and play it live for everyone to watch at the same time, or you can hire a professional production team to stream live from your CEO’s location direct to the online platform for all your attendees to watch.
The ROI you will receive will be sizeable. You will have more attendees, which will result in more sponsors. More sponsors equal more revenue for you and overall the more people you have attending, whether in person or virtually the bigger success your hybrid event will be.
Related: Expand Your Revenue Source: Live Stream and Engage Globally
Reduced Travel Costs
Virtually attendees will be saving big time, no hotels, no ubers or flights and for you, a major cost savings of no food and beverage among others. You can still charge for registration for your virtual attendees, but maybe at a lower cost.
So those that always wanted to attend your event but maybe couldn’t afford to, now they have an affordable option that will make them feel like they are in the room with the in-person attendees.
Better Sponsorship Opportunities
Having a hybrid event opens the door to a different level of sponsorship. Now you can promote companies digitally, even set up a digital tradeshow.
The company doesn’t even need to spend money on travel costs as they can have their representatives attend virtually and answer all questions, or they can do both, send someone to the in-person event and have someone attend virtually to take advantage of both opportunities.
Valuable Data and Metrics
After the conclusion of your hybrid event, you will know who attended what breakout, for how long, how engaged they were and so on. The amount of data you will receive from hosting a hybrid event is endless. But all of it is so important so that you can continue to craft the perfect event. You can even get a temperature check with polls during the in-person and virtual stream just to make sure your attendees are happy and if there are any last-minute changes that need to be made. You will be in control of all the content and using live polling will help you get a good idea of what your attendees are sensing.
Reduced Environmental Costs
With the component of a virtual event, that is one less attendee flying across the air and ultimately going virtual will help reduce the carbon footprint. Now while there are some events that need to be in person and make enough business sense to attend, those that want to attend virtually due to a sustainability reason now have that option.
Explore past events that Van Wagner helped bring to life to see what we can do for you.
How to Host a Hybrid Event
Hybrid events sound complicated, but really, they aren’t. The first thing you will want to do is partner with the right production company. You will want professionals that have experienced this type of work. You may even want to consider choosing someone who specializes in the virtual component since that will be the most important factor. You will want advanced technology to stream all your live sessions and not have any issues with buffering or disconnected streams. Once you start having technical difficulties you’ve lost your audience. This would be the one priority you will want to invest most of your budget. Make sure you have engaging graphics and personalized content. Rehearsals are vital when you are going to stream live. Involving the virtual audience in Q&A sessions as much as the in-person audience. Keeping the virtual attendees engaged will be tricky, but with the right help your hybrid event can be a huge success and one of many in your future.
If you decide to go hybrid for your next event, it’s a clever way to go. You never know when the next pandemic will hit, or weather, or another crisis that could prevent you from gathering in person. With the virtual component lined up, you have basically taken an insurance policy out on all the hard work you’ve done to create a thriving hybrid event.
Bottom line, in-person meetings are always great and there is a networking and relationship building aspect that will be hard to duplicate in a virtual space but give your attendees the option. They will thank you for it!
Is your event struggling without a partner? Our team can help make it successful! We have the resources that will work with you and give you what is best for your project. Reach out today, and learn how we can improve any upcoming events.