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?

Source – Created by Canva. Data from – Markletic, 6CONNEX, Exploding Topics, Thrive My Way & The Drum

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…

Why Hybrid?

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

Source: Surface from Unsplash

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:

Source – Created by Canva

Where Next?

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? 


Holly Foster says:

I really enjoyed reading this Blog! I think hybrid events is very interesting as it is something we have had to get used to during the Covid-19 pandemic, but is now more popular than ever. I think hybrid events will stick around for the future and will perhaps advance further in technology. Maybe a remote VR experience event for example? Really interesting, and I think it is important for event managers to stay up to date with the relevance of hybrid events.

s1910165 says:

Thank you for your comment Holly, we are glad you enjoyed reading the blog. We agree technology similar to VR will be integral for keeping hybrid interesting and engaging for the future and maybe there will be even more tech invented to aid with this!

Charlotte says:

This is a really well thought out post, and very interesting!
From my perspective working in events in a chain hotel, I am starting to see hybrid events more so, but I think many find them daunting, or difficult to carry out and get people to engage in.
How would you encourage your audience to attend if motivation was low?

s1910165 says:

Thanks for your comment, Charlotte. We are seeing hybrid events popping up more and in all kinds of event environments. We agree it may be daunting as it is still new to some people and the technology can seem scary. However, by embracing this change we can move forward together as an industry. There are benefits to attending hybrid events both in-personal or virtually, we would highlight the benefits of each and importantly let the attendee choose which works best for them.
Would you prefer to attend a hybrid event in-person or virtually?

Cassie says:

Nowadays, I think that hybrid events are more comfortable because we can get access to almost every event in the world we are interested in and our only limitation is wifi connection. During the pandemic, I attended few events online, mostly concerts, and it was amazing experience because I could join these concerts, where in reality I wouldn’t due to the location of a concert and tickets – both price and amount of them. But thanks to online event I was able to see it and experience it on my own. Hybrid events are great solution to minimalizing the costs of events and are more eco-friendly which is, for me, one of the most important thing now.

s1910165 says:

Thank you so much for your comment Cassie. It is so great to hear that you have engaged in the virtual aspect of hybrid events in the past. The great thing about hybrid, like you say, is you can access it from anywhere in the world as long as you have wifi! You can enjoy your favourite bands from the comfort of your own sofa! We agree that one of the major positives for hybrid is the sustainability, with less traffic congestion at event venues and less travelling to and from.
In your opinion what more could be done in the future to keep hybrid events interesting? What would you like to see at hybrid events in the future?

Cassie says:

I think maybe more interaction with an audience, of course as long as the connection is good and stable. It leads to the point that events should have the best possible technological facilities to run things smoothly and to have constant contact with audience. Personally I would like to see some kind of Q&A with for example the cast of a movie. The event like COMIC-CON, something like that.

s1910165 says:

Hi Cassie,
Yes, technology working well is so important for hybrid events and this can be a big limitation of going hybrid. But a stable connection and plenty of interaction can make people feel like they are in the same room. Another way we have seen of increasing interaction and engagement is gamification of these events. Breaking up the content by introducing games which can test the recall or application of the content and which can be played by both people in the room and online will make it more engaging and interesting.
Big events like COMIC-CON should be leaders in making the move towards hybrid events. They attract large audiences from all over the world and some may benefit from joining virtually as it would be cheaper. Also, the panels that already take place can easily be made hybrid by bringing questions in from the virtual audience as well as the in-person one.

s4007671 says:

Absolutely loved reading this, quite surprised at some of the statistics for the hybrid events! After having some experience with hybrid events, I feel that organisations don’t spend enough time on developing their virtual side to the event in terms of connection with their audience, always feel quite lackluster

s1910165 says:

Thank you for your comment. We are glad you enjoyed reading our blog. We agree that some organisations do not spend enough time on the virtual side of their hybrid events, which can be due to a lack of knowledge on how to engage the audience. We hope that our blog can help them learn/understand more about running hybrid events to gain the best virtual interaction possible. What experience have you had with Hybrid events and how do you think they can be made to feel less ‘lackluster’?

Cat says:

Really interesting blog!

Hybrid is a sustainable and cost-effective way to keep the events industry thriving

s1910165 says:

Hi Cat, many thanks for your comment on the blog. We agree that hybrid is both a sustainable and cost effective way of attending events and to keep them thriving.
What would encourage you to attend a hybrid event?

Lucy says:

As someone who works in events, hybrid is such a great option going forward! It allows greater flexibility for illness, personal circumstances and general personal preferences. I think there needs to be a greater focus on the platforms used during hybrid events, we have had some issues with our platform and feel that a sturdy and effective virtual platform is the best way to make an event engaging and interactive. Really enjoyed reading this blog and it certainly made me have a think about our progresses!

s1910165 says:

Hello Lucy, thank you for your comment and for taking the time to read our blog. It is amazing to hear from someone working in events that they agree hybrid is a great option going forward and that it has helped you in your work. There are so many positives to hybrid events as you mentioned. You make a good point about the need for a greater focus on the platforms used. As someone working in events, do you feel that some platforms work better than others for hybrid? Is this due to the platform itself or the effort that the event organisers put into it?

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