The pandemic has shaken up the conference industry as we know it. Many companies are now looking for more flexible ways to convene, which is why we’ve seen a surge in hybrid events that provide attendees with both virtual and in-person event experiences.
Hybrid events take a lot of the best features of both face-to-face and virtual events and combine them into one. They’re accessible to a much larger audience, they’re significantly cheaper to execute, and they allow you to have an on-demand library of videos for people who missed your live event. It also makes it possible for more people to communicate with each other and form communities without ever having to meet one another face-to-face. While there are still benefits to in-person events, a lot of those benefits can now be achieved by using hybrid events.
1. They’re accessible to a much larger audience
If you’re hosting an event, there is no better way to reach a larger audience than hybrid events. This is due to the fact that people who would not otherwise be able to attend will have more of a chance to participate and view your content. For instance, if you are hosting a major conference in Washington, D.C., chances are that many people from smaller cities or countries want to see your content but cannot make the trek (or afford it).
The advantages of hybrid events include:
- The ability to reach a much larger audience who cannot otherwise attend
- You can reach people who might not be able to travel, for whatever reason—be it financial, health-related or personal preference.
- One of the biggest advantages of virtual events is that they can give you access to a much larger audience than in-person events. This includes people who simply would not be able to attend an in-person event.
- You also reach people who are too busy for travel. Let’s face it, many of us would love to attend more events if only we had the time and money to do so!
- And finally, with hybrid events you can access people who simply don’t want to travel. For example, the nature of your event may appeal only to a specific group of people in your region…but other attendees could be from across the country (or world).
2. It’s easier to engage with speakers or panelists over email, Twitter, or another social platform
How can you engage with speakers and panelists at an in-person event? You have to wait until they’re done talking, then ask your question before someone else gets the chance. And because of time limitations, there’s only so much interaction that can happen in person.
With a hybrid event, engaging with the speakers is easier—because it’s not limited to certain moments in time. It’s happening throughout the live-stream with comments on social media and emails being sent directly to speakers. People are actively engaged online while attending the virtual conference versus being passively engaged by simply watching a video of the recorded event.
3. Attendees are not limited by geographical boundaries
When you go hybrid, you’re not limited by geographical boundaries. You can have an audience of almost any size you want and your audience can be anywhere in the world, with no travel budget.
Imagine being able to offer your event to executives working in multiple countries and time zones all over the world! Or imagine being able to reach out to more people in your local market without needing a bigger venue.
This is especially important as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. There are concerns that many attendees may feel uncomfortable traveling or gathering in large crowds for a long time, if ever again.
4. Attendees are not limited by travel budgets
The fourth advantage of hybrid events over face-to-face events is that you aren’t limited by travel budgets.
Face-to-face events, such as conferences and trade shows, are expensive. You have to budget for the ticket price, accommodation if you’re travelling to attend it, food and drink while at the event, travel expenses and perhaps even a babysitter if you have kids.
Then there’s the matter of business downtime – when you take time away from your business so that you can attend an event. If your business earns money while you spend time away from it, then attending an event or conference could end up costing thousands of dollars in lost profits too!
In comparison, hosting or attending a hybrid event doesn’t incur any costs for travel or accommodation and in most cases food isn’t involved either. You need only cover the cost of your ticket and possibly a babysitter (if required). With hybrid events being much cheaper than face-to-face ones, people can now afford to attend more of them than ever before!
5. You can broadcast your content live and monetize them later as on-demand
One clear advantage of virtual events is that they can be accessed anywhere at any time, so attendees don’t feel like they’re missing out on anything or having to choose between two different sessions or topics to attend. Hybrid events allow your attendees to access recordings of your in-person sessions from anywhere, which means you can reach a much larger and more diverse audience than if you were having an in-person event. Your content will be on demand, so attendees can watch it whenever they want, and as many times as they want, after the event is over. This also means that people who miss out on your event can go back and watch everything they missed so they don’t feel like they missed out! Those who could not attend the live conference, can pay a reduced fee later and access these on-demand contents (recordings).
6. You can still have face-to-face interactions
While hybrid events allow you to reach more people and make it easier for them to attend, they also let you enjoy all the perks of face-to-face interactions with your attendees. You wouldn’t want to completely eliminate the in-person component of an event, would you? Hybrid events allow for both in-person and virtual attendance, so that no one is left out.
7. Your audience will appreciate the flexibility
Many people are not able to take time off of work or travel far distances in order to attend events, but hybrid events allow them to participate without having these constraints. This means that you don’t have to choose between having an event at all versus having one that will only reach a small number of people who are able to travel; instead, your audience size can be as large or small as you want it to be!
Hybrid events are the best of both worlds
Hybrid events are an ideal solution because they combine the best of both worlds.
It’s no longer a case of either/or, but rather choosing a combination that works for your company, your employees, your customers and your budget. You can have the benefits of a live event when you need them (including face-to-face networking, excitement and drama), but also extend the reach to people who can’t attend live by streaming it online for remote attendees.
This is especially useful if you want to engage with customers who are geographically dispersed or if budget restrictions prevent some from being able to attend in person.
Lastly, hybrid events are greener. When you host an in-person event, people must travel and stay in hotels — this wreaks havoc on the environment. By going digital, you’re cutting down on all of those transportation emissions and unnecessary waste created by the hotels and other physical elements of the event.