The pandemic has changed the way we work and interact with people. The new normal has displaced networking as we know it. As we embrace the unlock phase, it is important to leverage safety and smartness. Hybrid events – a mix of physical and virtual will shape the future of networking.
Post-Covid hybrid events have gone beyond simple live streaming. These events enable on-demand experiences. It also demands two-way interactions between physical and virtual attendees. Unlock protocols suggest only a fragment of the audience to attend closed to door events. With a hybrid event, we choose in-person and virtual attendees as per requirements.
A fragment of the event organisers, guest speakers can leverage the best of in-venue systems. The live-stream can then be shared with all the intended attendees, without any restrictions. This combines the networking and engagement opportunities of a live, in-person event with the reach and accessibility of a virtual one.
The fluidity of hybrid events have convinced event managers worldwide. It has been established that hybrid events are the future of events in the years to come.
Nine reasons why hybrid events are here to stay:
Reason #1 – A suitable event-format for the post-covid world
Closed door venues have strict protocols and guest list restrictions. The most important attendees can be in the physical event. Hybrids enable event managers to focus on reaching a wider audience. Small-scale startups, SMEs, and Enterprises – all businesses are choosing to incorporate hybrid events into their marketing strategy. They capitalize on the benefits of engaging in-person and remote attendees simultaneously. Organizations are quickly realizing that hybrid events are the perfect solution.
Imagine this – temperature checks, vaccination certification, maintain bio-bubbles and ensuring attendee traceability. Sounds tiring doesn’t it? Especially if the attendance is large. This makes it nearly impossible to complete a successful event without extra-ordinary man power.
With a hybrid event, it’s very easy to sort the important attendees to a physical venue and keep a tab on them. Virtual attendees can harness the same experience from the comfort of their homes.
Reason #2 – Overcoming geographical constraints
Reach a wider global audience and overcome geographical barriers. Take your business across the globe in just a click.
It also offers your organization:
- Increased brand awareness and brand affinity.
- Larger number of qualified leads.
- Networking opportunities at a global scale.
With hybrid events, brands can conduct events throughout the year. They no longer have to worry about the season or large venue availability. Businesses with employees across the globe can save costs on travel and add to employee safety.
Reason #3 – Increased participation & inclusion
One of the biggest challenges while planning an event is to plan speaker availability. Along with this, you must also map it to the venue availability. With hybrid events, certain speakers can even join remotely. This makes organising events hassle-free.
Another challenge is venue suitability and accessibility for different age groups. Invite only the core committee at the physical venue. Along with this, one can enable attendees with challenges in commuting to effortlessly join the event online.
Speakers now have to only be present for the duration of the event. This enables brands and businesses to engage an increased pool of renowned speakers from different countries. Due to this, the audience receives a well-curated, high-quality event that has immense value and informational pay-off. This helps enrich the overall event experience for attendees. It incorporates a diversity of perspectives & learnings that the speakers offer.
Reason #4 – Increased Audience Engagement
As an event organizer, we want two-way engagement with the spectators and the speakers. At any event, the goal is always to encourage active participation. As well as shaping conversations in real time. Overall, you want to create a rewarding experience for attendees. The success of an event can be measured by the opportunities created for audience involvement, and the level of engagement that is recorded during the event.
Hybrid events offer a significant advantage to event organizers by enabling cross-platform interactions. There is interaction between online participants on the virtual event platform. As well as, between the in-person attendees at the event venue. Hybrid events allow in-person attendees to engage, interact and network with remote attendees as well!
Event organizers can leverage features such as speed networking, physical & virtual exhibitor booths, and AR-interactions via the event app. They can provide a plethora of engagement opportunities for event attendees.
Reason #5 – Promoting Community-Building
By leveraging the best of a physical and virtual event brands can foster excellent community engagement. A business can build evangelists and advocates for their growth. A hybrid event can easily transition into a community of event attendees. Here, they can continue engaging with the brand and with one-another.
One can leverage features such as a ‘virtual briefcase’ and keep the event page live after the event. This will help to continue engaging with the event’s audience even after the event is over.
Enabling conversations in exhibitor booths after the event is another way to provide value to your event attendees. This will also drive the growth of a community that is centred around your brand idea. Additionally, it is also a way for you to assist event sponsors in building communities of their own.
A post-event email marketing strategy is another way of maintaining sustained engagement. If you’re game for such ideas, why not go the extra mile? Create a microsite to grow and foster your community of brand advocates. Such engagement ideas help build a business pipeline to contribute to your brand’s eventual growth.
Reason #6 – Develop a Year-long Content Pipeline
Pre-covid era, brands had to host event multiple times to accommodate requests. With hybrid events, businesses can record certain parts of the event to develop a content repository. This can be repurposed based on the target audience and business needs.
All this content can be repurposed in the form of short clips, highlight reels, or paid content for months after the event. Hybrid events serve as an excellent source of content for your businesses’ marketing efforts in the long run.
This can be utilized for those who expressed interest to attend and weren’t able to. We can reach out to them through these recordings. Thus, hybrid events maximize attendee reach.
A content repository can be hosted on the brand website and be used as a source of lead-generation. It also provides SEO value when the content is leveraged as pulse articles and blogs on the brand website. A typical, in-person event is bound by time limitations. Thus, hybrid events have a positive impact on all areas of a businesses’ marketing strategy.
Reason #7 – Benefit from Data-Driven Insights
Hybrid events are a mine of data, and can offer a wide range of insights that are gleaned by analyzing different data points. For instance, with audience interaction at multiple touch points, brands can understand segments that were well received. We have the ability to track attendance for all sessions. We can also map the best time to host events. Additionally, we can also determine the nature of the content and fine tune it for the future.
The education sector for instance has several benefits of adopting a hybrid event technology. For example- College virtual tours with a touch of a physical walk-through, tutors demonstrating science experiments for students or academic fairs. All of these can add value to learning. While the children learn from the comfort of their homes, teachers can leverage the potential of on-campus tutoring.
Advanced analytics offered by Nunify enable you to capture every key aspect of virtual event data. Followed by analyzing it accurately. Finally, you can create comprehensive reports to improve event experience and optimize content, marketing, and business strategies. You can offer information about the most important pain points that an audience wants addressed. More importantly, you can also determine the most popular topics & ideas among attendees.
Reason #8 – Increased Scope of Sponsorship
There are various avenues that open up for monetization of the content, as well as monetization of the event spaces. From sponsor spaces on your event page, ads on your event stream, and exhibitor booths. All of these can help generate a significant amount of revenue.
72% of corporate sponsors are interested in participating in a hybrid event, because hybrid events offer a wide range of benefits to them, such as:
- Increased reach.
- Ability to communicate 1:1 with in-person and online attendees via virtual booths, personal meeting rooms, etc.
- Ability to showcase sponsorship material & collateral live, and virtually.
- Detailed attendee insights and reportable metrics.
Hybrid events enable organizations to tap into an array of sponsorship opportunities – both live and virtual. The various benefits listed above make the hybrid event format incredibly attractive for sponsors.
Reason #9 – Is an Environment-friendly Event Format
The world is a global village with hybrid events. With less, we reach a wider audience, driving better impact on the business and on the environment. Hybrid events are eco-friendly with minimal physical attendees and a larger virtual audience. One is able to create a sustainable event that consumes fewer resources and has a smaller carbon footprint.
It’s important to note that hybrid events require intricate planning and execution. Therefore, it is advisable to trust in a capable hybrid events platform. It must have the capability of developing white-labelled event apps for your event requirements. A next-generation hybrid event platform like Nunify has a lot to offer. Planning assistance, detailed post-event reports, engagement features such as live polls, personal meeting rooms, speed-networking, enterprise-grade security, and 24×7 customer support- are just some of its features.
Innovative technology is continuously evolving and transforming the event industry. Thus, Hybrid events will certainly be the future of events.