Consumers Demand Hybrid Experiences

The functioning of events has changed over the years. Events have always been of great significance with the primary aim of bringing together people and entertaining them. However, events have changed over time and are not the same as they were a decade back.

The rate at which innovation is happening now is so fast that the technologies coming in would be something that one wouldn’t have imagined a decade ago. These technologies are now becoming an essential part of the planning and organizing an event. These technologies have changed the way one perceives an event to be.

Technologies have led to the conception of hybrid events, and we know that this has a long way to go. As newer technologies come, more will be expected from the events industry with an increase in competition amongst companies to provide their best services to their consumers.

As the name suggests, hybrid events mix the traditional set of events and a virtual setting. If you are wondering whether hybrid events are the right option for your company, below you will find tons of information about the pros and cons of hybrid events and about Consumers Demand Hybrid events today.

What are Hybrid Events?

In simple words, an event held at a physical location and is live-streamed for the audience attending the event from elsewhere is called a hybrid event. A hybrid event is a mixture of having a physical event and a virtual event. The opportunities that one can have by hosting a hybrid event are limitless.

A hybrid event can boost the rate of audience turnover more than it could by merely hosting a physical event. A hybrid event helps like-minded people from across the world connect over a virtual platform. More people can participate in virtual interactive games, quizzes, etc.

People who cannot attend the event due to location restrictions can attend the event as long as there is one device to stream the event with an excellent internet connection.

The most basic means to stream a hybrid event can be done over social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook live. However, most companies prefer a personalized platform to conduct their event. This option also allows them to customize their websites to give their audience a customized experience. It also allows them to showcase their sponsors and interact with their audience in the virtual chat section or the virtual lounges.

A hybrid events platform also allows the company to upload a recording of their event so that the audience who could not attend the event can refer to it whenever possible or use it for future reference.

Types of Hybrid Events

Hybrid events can be categorized into two groups depending upon the type of audience it is hosted for. Following are the two categories of hybrid events.

Internal Hybrid Events

Internal Hybrid events are those events that are hosted, especially for the internal members of an organization. Examples of these events are trade shows, conferences, sales kick-offs, global town halls, shareholders meetings, etc. The number of audiences attending these events is limited to the number of people within the organization.

External Hybrid Events

On the other hand, external hybrid events are hosted for people within the organization and people outside the organization. Examples of external hybrid events are webinars, product demonstrations, virtual conferences and trade shows, virtual exhibitions, etc. The limit for external hybrid events can be limited or not, depending upon the company’s preference. The number of audiences for this type of event is much more.

Examples of hybrid events

Following are five examples of existing successful hybrid events:

Apple Special Events:

Apple Special Events is a yearly event hosted by Apple to showcase the launch of their new products. Apple Special Events is a much-awaited event and has many people attending this conference.

Twitchcon: 

Twitchcon is an event hosted by Twitch where all the video game streaming lovers come together and even get a chance to meet with their favourite streamers. This event is vast within the community of gamers worldwide.

Public Health Informatics Conference: 

At this event, doctors, healthcare professionals, scholars, etc., within the healthcare industry, discuss advancements in medicine, innovation, and trends in the healthcare industry.

Social Media Marketing World: 

Social Media Marketing World is an event where some of the world’s best content creators come together and discuss everything related to social media marketing trends.

Inbound: 

Inbound is an event where entrepreneurs, business owners, marketers come together and discuss and share their experiences and stories related to marketing, selling, and helping their customers.

Why do Consumers require Hybrid Events?

Why do your consumers need a hybrid event when setting up a physical event and connecting at these events have always proved to be more beneficial? For many, traditional events have always been a comfort zone, and switching to a hybrid event can be quite risky. The following are three reasons why hybrid consumers may require a hybrid event.

Cost-Effective: 

In the case of a hybrid event, the money usually spent on arranging for travel and accommodation, food, and beverage for attendees can be reduced. A small venue can be booked and set up with equipment, lighting, and sufficient space to accommodate the speakers, and the event can then be streamed online for the live audience. Hybrid events help consumers deliver the best of their events without any much hassle at the venue. The audience can attend the event wherever it is convenient.

Environmentally Friendly: 

By hosting a hybrid event, your consumers will help their audience save on the cost of travelling and reduce the environmental impact caused due to several thousands of people travelling to the primary location. With more people opting to watch the event from home, hybrid events will reduce the carbon footprint because of limited travel and help minimize food and beverage wastage and other utilities.

Augment the attendee’s engagement: 

We are changing with time, and so is how we interact with people from miles away. While there are still people worldwide who still have pen pals, innovation and advancement of technology have helped us connect with people faster from wherever we are. Hybrid events help people connect in the same way. People can connect and chat with each other on the event’s virtual chat platform and connect with more like-minded people worldwide. Hybrid events also enable onsite and virtual attendees to participate in virtual activities, polls, and quizzes.

How do Hybrid Events help Event Planners?

While hosting a hybrid event is not an easy task; event organizers still have the advantage of not running from one place to another physically to see that things are running according to what was planned. There is a misconception that hosting a hybrid event requires only a computer and a good internet connection. Well, that is not true at all. A hybrid event requires a team to run the show, just like how a physical event requires a team. Following are the top four arguments on how a hybrid event can help event planners.

Environmentally friendly: 

Hybrid events do not require the arrangement of big extra equipment. There will be less waste of resources, time, and effort in organizing a hybrid event than hosting only a physical event. Hybrid events hence in this way, are more profitable and scalable.

Broader reach and increased turnout: 

Like how physical venues are charged based on the number of people attending the event, event companies can charge based on the number of people attending the event. Since people can attend the event anywhere, there will be a more significant number of people attending the event.

Less Hassle: 

Compared to a physical event, hybrid event planners can control the entire event from one place itself. They need to go and see if everything is working fine physically. All the members at any given time can have just one point of contact and can get their queries addressed and can get their work done.

Valuable data collection: 

It’s all about the numbers. As an event planner, you will provide your clients with factual data about how their audience engages with your event. The number of people who engaged with their ads, website visitors who converted, how many people attended, and how they engaged with your event. All these insights about the audience’s behaviour will help you serve your clients and strategize better for the next time.

The Pros and Cons of hosting a Hybrid Event

Following are the pros and cons of hosting a hybrid event

Hybrid event benefits

Following are the pros of Hybrid events.

More Accommodating: 

While physical events have always been a hit amongst people, mostly we didn’t have another option besides that. However, not every person likes to attend a physical event, while some prefer to attend a physical event over a virtual one. Hosting a hybrid event gives people the option to either attend an event physically or virtually attend it. Allowing people to choose their preferences will increase the number of people attending your event.

Safer for guests: 

Taking safety measures should continue to be a priority during the ongoing pandemic. Hosting a hybrid event can help reduce crowding at the event’s primary location. Implementing safety measures will become more comfortable with a lesser crowd at the venue.

Individuality: 

Making your audience’s time worthwhile has to be of utmost priority. By incorporating the new and advanced technology, you can make your audience’s experience worthwhile. At a hybrid event, what is more, important is your speaker. It is for your speakers that people sign up to attend your event. Hence, your speakers must be trained and deliver a good presentation. Your audience has to have the best experience. Therefore, everything from the sound quality to the event’s display has to be innovative and eye-catching.

Data Analysis: 

One of the most critical advantages of Hybrid events is the data acquired. This data helps the event management company gather data like how the audience engaged with the event, during the event, etc. The data collected here can help clients improve their content in the future. Hybrid events help acquire data that would otherwise not be possible to obtain from physical events alone.

Disadvantages of hosting a Hybrid Event

Following are the cons of hosting a Hybrid event

Network Issues: 

One of the most significant disadvantages of hosting a hybrid event is having a bad network connection. It’s been more than two decades of using the internet, and if anything, our patience for waiting for things to buffer has reduced to a considerable extent. After experiencing super-fast internet connectivity, if our network is slow or inadequate, we immediately lose our patience. Hence the need to have a good internet connection is one of the barriers faced while hosting a hybrid event.

Platforms to stream your virtual event | GEVME Live

Different set-ups: 

Planning two different types of events together can be quite a task. For a hybrid event, you will be hosting a physical event and a virtual event for your audiences. There will be a separate set of equipment needed to host both types of events. Initially, the task of setting up two different set-ups can be difficult.

Inference

Hybrid events have been in existence for a while, even before the COVID-19. However, it became more popular last year because of the increase in demand for hybrid events. While we cannot overlook the essence that a physical event can bring to an event, hosting a hybrid event in times like these makes more sense. Hybrid events are advantageous, and they are here to stay for the long haul.

Hybrid events give the audience one of the essential benefits, which is the benefit of choosing how they choose to attend an event. With the progression of technology, one thing is guaranteed for sure, and that is that the way events are conducted in the future will change as well. The whole experience at events will be oriented around, providing the audience with a memorable experience.