What is a Hybrid Event?

Mathew Hance

While given an undisputed boost by the recent cataclysm, the good news is that high-quality hybrid events make sound business sense even in less turbulent times. So, you may ask, what is a Hybrid event?

‘Hybrid’ is defined as the combination of two different elements. In the context of hybrid events, it’s a physical meeting in which an online audience also participates. Essentially, both the physical as well as the online audience come together and participate in the same experience or content, usually at the same time, from different locations.

The advantages of hybrid for meeting and event planners lie in the benefits of hosting both the in-person experience as well as the virtual. So why go hybrid now and not simply wait it out until restrictions ease so we can go back to life as it used to be?

Well, the short answer is, the days of purely in-person events may be over. Restrictions in some parts of the world don’t appear to be easing anytime soon but, more importantly, event planners are starting to capitalize on the benefits that hybrid events can bring.

The fact is that the shift to hybrid reflects changing attendee behaviour and expectations. Participants are more engaged and are enjoying the new format. According to IMPACT in 2021, video (including web conferencing) is projected to account for 80% of all internet traffic.

If you’re looking for reasons to add a digital or streaming component to your in-person event – here are eight of the most compelling…

Increased Attendance

While a venue has capacity limitations for in-person attendees, hybrid events provide an opportunity to reach audiences across the world. By removing the need to travel, you’re effectively able to increase your number of registrations and appeal to a broader audience.

High Profile Thought-Leadership

well-known thought leaders and presenters help to raise media interest and attract delegates to conventional events and going hybrid can enhance these effects even further. If cost-savings leave you with a larger budget, consider reaching out to presenters who may have previously been out of reach or who are new. This creates an opportunity to build new connections, give your attendees access to new and in-demand speakers and gives presenters exposure to new audiences.

Improved Networking Opportunities

The best interactive virtual platforms are designed to facilitate engagement and networking online. Whether via text or video chat, live polling, virtual break-out rooms, or connecting via social feeds, the digital experience opens up new opportunities for presenters and attendees to engage on a more intimate level than in the past. A big benefit of a well-designed event platform is the connection created between the in-person and virtual attendees. Rather than treating them as separate audiences, the platform is designed to be all-inclusive, giving each attendee the same experience no matter where they login from.

New Revenue Streams

By taking advantage of the online environment, you can seek creative virtual event sponsorships that will bring in more revenue and ultimately increase your ROI. If you’re streaming your event live or offering it on-demand, it’s a great opportunity to drive revenue via banner ads, ticketed content, sponsored segments, digital swag bags and more.

Better Report Data

The qualitative nature of in-person events make it a challenge to determine if you’ve successfully hit your goals and targets. The benefit of a hybrid event that introduces a virtual element, is in knowing who attended, when they attended, for how long, what they watched and so much more. This gives you the ability to provide sponsors with data to justify ROI, and importantly, it provides you with invaluable insights for improvement.

On-Demand Viewing

A key benefit to adding a virtual component to your events is being able to stream it live or on-demand. This eliminates any time-zone or scheduling conflicts and means your audiences can access the content at a convenient time. Similarly, allowing attendees to view on-demand extends the life of content investment well beyond your event day.

Improved Social Connection

The most powerful and long-lasting benefits of any event flow from the personal connections we build. With travel and lifestyle restrictions impacting these, hybrid events provide the benefit of extended social connection with people around the world. Integrating social media into your virtual event platform is a great way to bring together participants and amplify the social reach of your brand.

Retaining the In-Person Experience

Humans are social by nature. We need to belong, to connect, and to share moments. We even communicate subconsciously through body language and pheromones. The beauty of the hybrid approach is that it retains the vital element of in-person physical interaction, enhanced and facilitated by the wonders of virtual and digital technologies. When executed well, hybrid events have the ability to create truly transformative experiences.

Complementing its renowned event service for trade shows and exhibitions, CDI World provides customers around the globe with fully customised hybrid options that combine physical with virtual-digital formats to create maximum impact and flexibility. Let’s talk hybrid. Contact us now to find out more.       

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