HYBRID EVENTS: TO BE OR NOT TO BE?
18th November 2022
If you’re interested in going hybrid, we can tell you how!
The covid-19 pandemic shut down the live events industry making virtual events the new normal. When Government restrictions were slowly lifting, but there was still a need to hold events, going hybrid became more important than ever. Now, hybrid events are taking over the industry and are thriving. So why isn’t everyone making their event’s hybrid?
Let’s start with the basics:
What is a Hybrid event?
Hybrid events offer both a virtual and in-person element. They are events which are played to a live audience as well as being streamed online to a virtual audience, with the idea that they can interact as much as the people in the room. Technological advances have helped the development of virtual events with equipment being able to produce high-quality video and sound for both types of audiences.
What does the industry think?
Hybrid events were crucial post-pandemic to keep the event industry alive but their presence in the industry still suggests there are more benefits to this type of event than we first thought…
It could be said hybrid events are the best of both worlds. They merge strengths from both in-person events and virtual events and if done well can have many positive impacts on an audience. Technology is advancing, companies are finding ways to be more efficient, and the world is becoming more sustainable. Most importantly, the mindset of people is changing.
Here are some of the positive impacts of making your next event hybrid:
+ Inclusivity – hybrid events can be accessed by all regardless of disability/need
+ Wider audience reach – they have the potential of sharing to the whole world
+ Eco-friendly – fewer in-person attendees will reduce travel emissions and carbon footprint
+ Reduced Costs for consumer – e.g. travel costs, ticket price, amenities etc.
+ Technology – technology opens potential for hybrid events – incorporating VR or AR can make the event engaging for both audiences
+ Flexible – almost 39% of workers saying they would rather leave their job if it didn’t offer a flexible work environment – hybrid events are the perfect solution for this
To make the decision to go hybrid, of course you need to look at the whole picture and consider the negatives as well.
Limitations of Hybrid
– Reliance on technology – A Markeltic survey revealed that 32.9% of event organisers faced connectivity issues during a hybrid event
– Too much screen time – aren’t we done with sitting watching a screen all day?
– Can technology create the same experience someone attending in-person would get?
– Do the consumers actually want hybrid?
These limitations are not complete restrictions and can be faced in any type of event. What makes hybrid so appealing is its innovative nature. Investing more time and resources into hybrid events will overcome these limitations.
We’ve given you the pros and cons, now to help make your decision, here’s when hybrid may work best:
When to be Hybrid?
Considering the attendee
If the attendee experience is at the heart of your event, you should think about how they may feel about attending? People have different needs and requirements (travel, childcare, disability etc.) and your event should be accessible to them all.
Considering the cost
Hybrid events can be a more cost-effective way of hosting. If you have a lower budget this may be a suitable option. You can half the in-person audience, reducing the costs of service and focus on the content of the main event.
Considering the venue
Your ideal venue may have capacity limitations but by going hybrid your audience size is not limited to this. You can reach a wider audience without compromising on your venue.
When deciding whether hybrid would work for your event, a pre-event survey can be sent out to attendees to gather their thoughts. It could be that one of these factors affects your decision, or could be a combination of all.
Still unsure? See our top tips below:
With creativity and innovation, the potential for hybrid is endless. So many businesses are already exploring this as a new avenue and introducing more of this in their events. For example the Somerset-based festival, Glastonbury, was streamed online in 2022 with more than 35 hours of online footage. In sport, matches and competitions are streamed live online all of the time. Plus, venues are offering hybrid options for events.
Is this the start of the movement to a more hybrid future for events? Where do you think hybrid events are headed? What may they look like?