What are Hybrid Events?

Hybrid events are events where in-person and virtual aspects are combined. Hybrid events are a mix of live and online participants who get to experience the event in its entirety. As the world navigates the return to in person events, many people will still look for an alternative that allows them to participate in the events without having to be physically present.

That’s why hybrid events are such a fantastic opportunity for businesses looking to provide adequate support and options when it comes to their events. Hybrid events are inclusive of participants who wish to attend without travel as well as those who seek a more personal touch. Read on to learn about the ins and outs of hybrid events and they can take your event to the next level.

What makes an event a hybrid event?

A key factor of hybrid events is that both in-person and virtual participants get to experience every aspect of the event. Hybrid events are not just streamed video of the live events, hybrid events allow virtual participants to engage with the material as well, ensuring that everyone can participate in the material and engage with one another.

If you’re developing an event and hoping to make it hybrid, be sure that both parties feel they received equal attention and importance. If in-person participants experience a virtual event that has snacks they will feel their money and travel time was wasted. On the other hand, virtual participants who experience what is essentially a live stream will wonder why the event was called hybrid when they were treated more as viewers than participants.

The key to making your event truly hybrid is to provide value to both sides. Ensure that virtual participants can still ask questions, network, and peruse content, and make sure that in-person participation is viewed as valuable and worthwhile by giving them the VIP treatment. Make sure your audience is engaged with the content and with each other so your event feels worthwhile, regardless of being virtual or in-person. 

What are the advantages of hybrid events?

There are many advantages to hybrid events. The key advantages of a hybrid event are:

  1. Higher audience participation and engagement
  2. Reduced Costs
  3. Environmentally Friendly
  4. Increased Sponsorship Opportunities

One of the primary advantages of hybrid events is that anyone can participate in the event regardless of where they are and what their travel budget is. Many people bow out of conferences or trade shows simply because they don’t have the time or budget to travel. Hybrid events allow these people to enjoy the event and experience all the benefits without having to sacrifice multiple days to travel or the additional expenses.

The same goes for those who don’t enjoy virtual events and find face to face contact far more meaningful. These people can engage with the content and others in a way that is more beneficial to them, and vice versa for virtual participants. 

Hybrid events are less expensive to run, as with half your audience virtual you don’t need to rent as large of a space, provide the same kind of refreshments, or subsidize tickets and travel. This reduction of travel and event space is also better for the environment, which can be viewed as a huge benefit especially for largely corporate sponsored events.

Finally, hybrid events have a lot of sponsorship opportunities. With hybrid events, your sponsors will be able to record messages or directly engage with all your audience members. This is a fantastic opportunity for sponsors as the event will have a larger audience and can participate directly in parts of the event they wish.

Are there disadvantages to hybrid events?

As with all event styles, there’s never going to be a perfect option. Three disadvantages to hybrid events you should be aware of are:

  1. Technology Issues
  2. Extra coordination needs
  3. Struggling with change

WIth hybrid events, technology is your friend, but it can also pose a challenge. When half your event is relying on steady internet connections, power, lighting, and other technology, if something goes wrong the entire virtual side of the event can be impacted. Replying so heavily on internet and power connections (for both the event planners and participants) can be difficult and lead to problems. Extra testing and preparation is needed when it comes to utilizing the technological side of a hybrid event to its full potential. From a planning and coordination standpoint, hybrid events do tend to take more work.

This is because rather than having all your audience on one side, they tend to be split down the middle. You’ll need coordinators for both in-person and online participants, as well as someone ensuring the two groups can engage with each other as well. The extra coordination needs of hybrid events can be difficult, especially if you’re a small operation. 

The final disadvantage of hybrid events comes down to businesses and participants who don’t enjoy the change towards a focus on virtual. Many people have loved in-person conferences and events for years, and the idea of switching to a virtual or hybrid event is daunting and difficult to accept. Some people will never have an interest in virtual networking, that is why if you are hosting a hybrid event you’ll need to encourage your audience that their preferences will be catered to, and this isn’t always an easy task.

Is my event a good fit for a hybrid event?

Most event types can easily be converted to hybrid events. Networking events, trade shows, conferences, product launches, or global town halls are all events that can be adapted into hybrid events with little to no hiccups.

Large scale events are the type of events that can find great value in the power of hybrid. Small scale events like client meet and greets, team bonding activities, or awards ceremonies are best suited to remain entirely virtual or entirely in-person. This is because when there are only a few people participating, it is often the virtual side who gets excluded and doesn’t receive the same kind of value from the event. 

If you have more questions about virtual and hybrid events, please contact us! Intelligo provides world class technology to facilitate your virtual and hybrid experiences. Increase your audience engagement and get the most out of your next event with Intelligo!

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