You can shop online, get groceries delivered to your doorstep, and now you can watch events live, without ever leaving your home. Midori Connolly, CEO of San Diego-based Pulse Staging and Events, says hybrid events are going to grow substantial in the next coming years. “The hybrid meeting format has become really popular; it is almost becoming the standard,” she says. “A lot of larger events are being streamed live with back channel conversations on platforms such as Twitter.”
Hybrid events incorporate elements of a traditional event and combine them with an online component so your number of attendees is unlimited. If you haven’t yet hosted your own hybrid event, consider the following information to help you become more knowledgeable about this option and tips for when you start planning a hybrid event of your own.
What Is A Hybrid Event?
A hybrid event is a combination of a traditional event such as a conference or a meeting that features a live speaker or demonstration and also combines it with a live, online presence, similar to webinars or podcasts. And anyone can do it!
The reason that this has become so popular is because of the flexibility that comes with it. Finding room in your schedule for “me time”, let alone an event can be difficult for many working professionals. Now, guests can experience an event from the venue or anywhere around the world. Going hybrid is your chance to expand your reach and opportunities.
What Are The Benefits Of A Hybrid Event?
Besides being able to diversify your event’s reach, there are several additional benefits to consider. Some top reasons to plan your own hybrid event include:
1. Larger Attendance
Hybrid events draw a larger crowd than a traditional event; but you already knew that. But did you know that after watching, about 92% of mobile video consumers or live viewers share the video with others if able to. So, not only do you have your physical attendees, then your virtual ones, and now possibly friends and/ family who the video was shared with?!
And because your event is now online, you can feature a wider variety of content from people and companies who are more relevant to the presentation topic and content by streaming their presentations as well. It is much easier to secure talent for a hybrid event than for a traditional one because the presentations can be done easily from anywhere in the world and fits well into most schedules.
You end up with a larger audience, more able guest speakers and presenters, and possible engagement you never even planned for through social sharing.
2. Good For Any Size Budget
Hosting a hybrid event works with almost any budget. Meetings Today claims that “It can help with cost because you aren’t flying people, It is also a green way to have a meeting because more and more people are getting concerned about carbon emissions. Many companies are trying to reduce their carbon footprint and this type of meeting helps to support those initiatives.”
Having limited physical tickets and unlimited virtual attendee slots gives you the ability to host a huge event for little cost. However, if you are hosting a SUPER event that requires extensive coverage in multiple spaces, your costs will go up. Some expenses you should consider when hosting a hybrid event are:
- Tech Director (camera switches, shots and coordination)
- Camera crew if applicable
- Camera/virtual hosting equipment
- Virtual Event Design Consultant
- Marketing team for launching the event
Hybrid events can be as simple or complex as you would like depending on your event needs.
3. Ability To Re-watch And Share The Presentation
We touched on this subject above, but with hybrid events you can give your audience the ability to share their social experience with others, after or during the actual event.
Live streaming allows participants to view the video presentation later, and share it to their social media platforms if set up correctly. This can also boost visibility and brand awareness for many companies who are trying to harness smart marketing efforts to effectively compete in their line of business. This option is also a great idea for organizations who are trying to spread the word about their cause or related information that can help viewers beyond their audience.
Vimeo Livestream says that viewers spend 8X longer with live video than on-demand: 5.1 minutes for on-demand vs. 42.8 minutes for live video content. As brands compete for eyeballs in the news feed, live is a key differentiator.
4. Connect To A Global Audience
No longer are you confined to a local audience or your few dedicated commuters. Now, you can allow people from all over the world to join your event and even take part through an online bridge or platform. Live streaming gives you the ability to not only allow virtual attendance, but include audience chat windows so these virtual watchers can communicate amongst each other. Speakers and presenters can even do an online Q & A for virtual participants, which can really increase brand interest.
5. Less Space Requirements
If you have a heavy online participation, you won’t need as much space at the actual physical location of the event. There should be the option to attend in person, but most people would probably opt to attend from their office or home to avoid having to commute and take time out from busy schedules. Less space requirements, means a smaller venue and lower expenses to cover.
This is the key reason as to why virtual events have taken off; Convenience! As previously mentioned, most people today have hectic schedules and are hesitant to take time out to travel to an event and then commute back. It is much easier for them to attend with flexible online interactive options. Doing so allows them to choose from where they wish to attend the event; at the actual event space, their office, their kitchen, in bed!
This option is also great for professionals with families and/or frequent travelers who wish to attend, but can‘t budge their schedule.
If you have considered hosting a hybrid event, you should take steps now to begin planning one and see how effective they truly are. Today’s professional landscape demands that companies and organizations incorporate digital aspects of connecting with a larger audience and spreading the word about the brand they represent.