Hybrid Events: Definition, Benefits And Ideas for a Successful Event

*Article contributed by DREAMCAST GLOBAL

Hybrid events are events that have a virtual element along with a traditional physical event. They are different from virtual events in the sense that they are not completely virtual. Instead, a hybrid event leverages technology to provide an additional virtual experience that is integrated with the physical event. In this blog, we’re going to take a deeper look at what a hybrid event actually, what are some good hybrid event ideas, and finally some tips on hosting the perfect hybrid event.

So, what are Hybrid Events?
A hybrid event, like its name implies, is a hybrid between a physical event and a virtual event. Hybrid events combine the elements of both to create an experience for both the physically present audience and a virtual audience. The key point to note here is that a hybrid event is an online “experience” for the virtual attendees. A hybrid event platform can help in creating a virtual experience with features like live chat, polls, and Q/A.
Initially, a “hybrid event” could just mean that the event is being live-streamed but due to the competition and advancements in technology, hosting a hybrid event means providing more than just a live video stream.
The reason why hybrid events have been trending steadily over the years is that they come with a number of benefits when compared to traditional physical events.

Hybrid Event Benefits:

There are several benefits to hosting a hybrid event. Considering the low costs of hosting a hybrid event such as the cost of equipment, or the cost of a hybrid event platform, the potential return on investment for a hybrid event is massive!
Here are some of the most important hybrid event benefits that you should consider:
● By converting a physical event into a hybrid event, the attendance and reach of the event can actually be increased. According to research, a person who has attended an event virtually, there is a very high chance that they’ll attend the in-person event at some point in the future. Additionally, a hybrid event platform can help you increase the capacity of your event significantly by allowing your attendees to attend the event virtually.
● As mentioned previously, hosting a hybrid event is very cost-effective. If you’re already hosting a physical event, you only need to increase the budget by a tiny fraction to convert it into a hybrid event and take advantage of the benefits.
● Additionally, you also have the option of archiving all the content created during the event. The content can later be used for various uses such as marketing, promotions, and providing on-demand services to attendees who couldn’t attend the live event.
● Lastly, a hybrid event lets you be flexible. Since attendees only have to visit a website to attend the event, they can step in at any time and do not require physically travelling. The content of the hybrid event can also be made available to be viewed on-demand which makes the event more flexible for the attendees.

Best Hybrid Event Ideas

Now that we have taken a look at what a hybrid event is, let’s take a look at some of the best hybrid event examples to see what’s possible.
One of the best examples of a hybrid event is ON24’s Webinar World. The annual event based on webinars and marketing has been hosted in a hybrid format for many years. All the content created at the event is available to be viewed on-demand on the website and virtual attendees have the option of interacting with the keynote speakers if they attended the event live.
Number two on the list of the best hybrid event ideas is Apple Special Events. Apple was an early adopter of the hybrid event format and almost every major event hosted by Apple has been live-streamed to a massive global audience.
While Apple’s events do not offer much when it comes to interactivity, it’s a great example of how to reach a massive audience online while hosting the physical event in a small venue. This way, Apple saves a lot of resources when it comes to hosting the event but significantly increases the reach of the events.
The last of the hybrid event examples that we will cover in this article is the “Agents of Change Digital Marketing Conference”. The yearly conference invites business owners, marketing experts, and entrepreneurs to share their best ideas. The entire conference is streamed live on the website and also available on-demand.
What’s notable here is that all the previous editions of the conferences are available to be viewed on-demand if you buy a digital pass. This shows how a hybrid event can be used to create content that can later be monetized, increasing the potential revenue generated by the event one-time.

Tips for hosting great hybrid events

So, are you ready to host your next hybrid event or virtual event? Here are some tips that you should keep in mind when it comes to hosting a hybrid event:

● Focus on creating a true virtual experience that is intuitive. When it comes to hosting hybrid events, a lot of brands and event organizers treat the virtual experience as an afterthought. However, due to the competition these days, it is important to create a virtual experience that feels great for every virtual attendee.
● Allow virtual registrations to be as flexible as possible. Ideally, a virtual attendee should be able to register for the event at any point during the event or even after.
● Engagement still remains the key metric for success. A hybrid event should not only be engaging for the in-person audience but also for the virtual audience. Make the virtual aspects engaging with features like live chat, polls, and Q/A.


Virtual and hybrid is the future

2020 has been a game-changing year for virtual events as most events had to be pivoted into virtual events due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While it is likely that virtual events will lose the popularity they enjoy right now, hybrid events will definitely be a very important aspect of the
event industry in the future.

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