What is a Hybrid Event? All You Need to Know
After two years of remote working, the event organizers have adapted. They have become aware that their sector, among other things among the most affected by the pandemic, has not only changed its nature but have discovered that hybrid and virtual events have some advantages that the body alone fails to promote.
Hybrid or virtual event?
Despite all the advantages of virtual events, there is still great value in organizing physical events: the connections that occur with physical contact promote a very deep involvement. But it is not necessary to choose one approach and give up the advantages of the other: you can consider the idea of hosting a hybrid event.
A hybrid event gives you the best of both worlds: the benefits of a virtual event and an in-person event.
What does a hybrid event mean?
A hybrid event is a combined meeting both in person and in virtual mode. This allows for live dialogue between speakers and attendees, whether they join in person or online.
Two key components make an event hybrid:
- the event includes aspects related to the real and virtual world;
- A hybrid event includes an in-person experience in a physical location and an online experience hosted on a hybrid events platform such as Expertshare.
What is the difference between a hybrid event and a virtual event?
A virtual event takes place entirely online and does not include a physical location: it is hosted within a 3D virtual area. The event and the topics covered take the form of video, both live and pre-recorded. All speakers and attendees meet remotely.
Conversely, a hybrid event takes place online and in a physical location chosen by the organizers. Speakers and attendees can choose to participate remotely or in person.
What’s the benefit of hosting a hybrid event?
A hybrid event offers you the best of both worlds, combining the benefits of a physical event and a virtual event.
Reasons for hosting a hybrid event include:
- The possibility of expanding participation to users who are not physically present;
- The opportunity to increase revenue and monetize through online ticket sales or to use the hybrid event as a vehicle for generating leads. The expanded audience and new experiential level also create more opportunities to increase sponsorship revenue;
- Reduction of expenses: virtual events generally cost less (in terms of time, money, and effort) than in-person events, both for event organizers and attendees (who can avoid travel and accommodation);
- The increase in networking opportunities: the main advantage of hybrid events is that it allows all participants, in-person and online, to communicate with each other and with the speakers.
Hybrid events open a multidirectional flow of ideas and information that improves the audience experience by making event content more relevant and fostering connections.
Within a hybrid event, all participants can communicate with the speakers via video, chat, questions and answers, and other interactive levers. Moderators can screen questions and contributions from the audience for speakers to respond.
Furthermore, this kind of event allows you to access and connect your speakers to a scattered audience in different geographical areas of the world. This helps enrich the content of events and conversations with various perspectives. Other advantages of hybrid events include sustainability (relatively smaller environmental footprint) and flexibility (linked to connecting to the event in a virtual version at any time and from any location).
When to host a hybrid event?
If you plan an in-person event or meeting, consider a hybrid approach as virtual events are less expensive to plan and run (in terms of time, money, and effort). In some situations, a fully online event may be preferable to a webinar.
What events in person could benefit from a hybrid option? Here are some possible circumstances:
- you have a potentially large online audience for your event and are interested in attracting that audience;
- one purpose of your event is to drive business leads;
- one of the main objectives to be achieved through the event is to increase brand awareness;
The possible variations of a hybrid event
Here are some sectors for which it is useful to organize hybrid events.
- Marketing (large conferences, summits, exhibitions, trade shows, product launches, panels)
- Entertainment (festivals, competitions, awards ceremonies)
- Hybrid teams and internal communications (hybrid offsite/onsite, quarterly kickoffs, sales kickoffs, training courses, workshops / continuing education)
- Education (hybrid courses, academic conferences, beginners, administration)
- Recruitment (job fairs, information sessions, panels, networking)
- Non-profit organizations / NGOs (galas, fundraisers)
- Associations/groups of members-only (conferences, meetings, networking)
- Social gatherings (weddings, important parties)
The virtual event platform is your online location
However, a central element of all successful hybrid events is a virtual event platform. The hybrid event involves more than the simple live streaming of a physical event: it unlocks the interaction between all the participants, those who join in person and remotely.