The event industry has spent most of 2020 and 2021 in a state of flux. During the time most of the world was under some form of stay-at-home order, event organizers and planners made a hard shift to online and virtual events. But, as things slowly crawl towards a new normal, it is becoming clear that large-scale, in-person events are still a ways away. That said, we are seeing hybrid event formats where events are featuring both physical and virtual elements, allowing you to respect gathering restrictions and allow virtual attendees to make the choice to join from home. If you are on the fence or feeling uncertain, here’s a short list of reasons why your event needs to be hybrid![embed]https://youtu.be/l0U3S7Ym5YE[/embed]
You might be under the impression that a hybrid event will split your audience. The truth is, it allows you to grow your audience! In fact, one of the biggest benefits attached to a hybrid event is the ability to reach a much wider audience. Sometimes your event will generate a lot of interest from people who would not be able to attend in person. Maybe they are too far away, the travel costs aren’t manageable, or they can’t devote multiple days to your conference or trade show. Or perhaps they're not ready to get out and mingle live and in person just yet. By adding a virtual element, these interested parties can attend without having to deal with travel and time restrictions. They can attend the sessions that are most valuable to them and then aren’t committed to being present at a physical location for the duration.
Hybrid events are very valuable to event sponsors. And according to data collected from the International Conference Partnership, 72% of corporate sponsors are interested in participating in hybrid events. The greater reach and attendance that is seen by hybrid events means that sponsors can get their brand in front of more people. What’s more, they will be able to use the data collected at registration to better qualify the online audience and hone their sponsorship activities post-event accordingly. When selling event sponsorships, make it clear just how many opportunities a hybrid event can present. There are more traditional sponsorship opportunities, like branding the event space, the trade show floor, or conference segments -- but there are substantial opportunities for sponsorships with your online audience as well. Sponsors can put their names on virtual breakout sessions, live streams, event gamification, virtual waiting rooms, and networking sessions. There are lots of unique digital opportunities sponsors can take advantage of. And for event planners, hybrid events allow for more options with regards to sponsorship packages. You can offer packages for the physical space, the digital space, or both!
Of course, hybrid events represent reduced travel costs for attendees. Virtual event elements mean that remote attendees do not have to worry about flights, car rentals, hotel accommodations, meals, and other incidental costs associated with travel. But these savings do not end there. Your speakers, vendors, sponsors, and event staff may also be able to save. The reason for this is that hybrid events allow for virtual participation. This means that you can potentially land a speaker that lives on the other side of the world without having to worry about flying that speaker to your venue. Moreover, with virtual participation, sponsors will not have to send as many people to work a booth at your event. They will have an onsite team, but they can have a crew working remotely to capture and qualify leads, ultimately saving costs.
Every event organizer knows how important event attendee data collection can be, to both your organization and your sponsors. Registration at a physical event will provide you with good information. You can learn about attendee demographics and their profession, but once they are inside the venue, their behavior and reactions to various sessions are hard to gauge. That said, if you are hosting a hybrid conference or trade show, you can gain even more information from each virtual attendee. Using event technology like a proper hybrid event platform can help you collect this data. With digital event elements, you can not only see how many people participated in a session, but you can also see when they dropped out, when and how they engaged with the session, and where the virtual attendee spent the bulk of their time between sessions. Did they engage with sponsored materials? Did they hang out in the virtual lobby? The virtual cocktail lounge? Or did they attend networking and breakout sessions? You can also see how many sessions they participated in, and exactly which ones they were, helping you better gauge what individual attendees were most interested in. Knowing how attendees moved through the virtual space can help you improve future event strategy by giving people more of what they liked most. This data can also be supplied to speakers, vendors, and sponsors to help them understand how to improve their audience interactions and products/services.
Do not let your event fall by the wayside -- consider adopting a hybrid approach. When you are ready to move forward with your plans, we hope you will reach out to Accelevents for event hosting and support with registration and ticketing!