The best of two worlds

People love to mingle. Afterall, we are social beings by definition.

Recent world’s developments have shed dark clouds over us, but as a proverb say: Every cloud has a silver lining. 

As the sun is coming out again, we strive to return to our regular, normal life. But, while there sure are some things we will try to forget, there are also things that have given us new perspective and new options.

One of them are hybrid events. Even though they are not new to the event organizers, their full potential is yet to be seen.

So, let’s start from the beginning.

What is a hybrid event?

A hybrid event is any event — conference, training, seminar, trade fair, etc. – that combines live, in-person elements with digital, online components.

Hybrid events – a hidden jewel

Hybrid events have grown in popularity over the past decade or so because they allow event organizers to reach a wider audience, reduce their logistics costs, and give companies access to information they could not have been able to gather any other way.

It isn’t always black & white

It is not true that situation is black or white and that audience can either take part virtually or in person – and that there is nothing in between. Hybrid events allow you to increase your reach and gainmore attendees.

What matter is the choice and option. Many people love events but don’t enjoy in crowd, small talks and travelling. Also, there will always be attendees who would love to attend an event, but cannot for one reason or another.

With a hybrid event those who want to attend in – person but can’t, have option.

This increases your reach immensely, as you make available your event to a larger audience than ever could be possible in person.

How to increase engagement with your audience?

Adding a virtual element to your live event offers more engagement opportunities than would be possible at a strictly live event, before, during and after the event.

This is because your virtual audience is actively participating from their mobile devices or desktop computer, meaning they can talk, share, like, comment and much more.

For example, you can host polls during sessions that include both the live and online audience.

Or, you could have a Q&A session with a speaker live, then invite them to have a Q&A with your online audience.

Live and virtual attendees can network with each other with no difference – share opinion, arrange a meeting, exchange options and expertise.  

Are you a sponsor? This is good news for you

Hybrid events are incredibly valuable for sponsors.

72% of corporate sponsors are interested in participating in a hybrid event, as long as they can effectively reach both audiences.

Reason one is the increased reach. More attendees at your event means a larger potential leads for them, which is the #1 reason for sponsorship.

They can communicate one-on-one with their target group while at the same time they can also interact online with virtual attendees, which may lead to increased interest in their virtual booth.

There is also increased opportunities for sponsorship that can include sponsorship of live streams, event apps and more.

We also need to take into account that a lot of companies had to cut down their budgets during COVID crisis, which means they are looking for new, more financially acceptable opportunities. And as those budgets shift to increasingly digital areas, sponsors shall require the data to justify their expenditures.

A hybrid event can provide many relevant metrics, which gives your sponsors a clear picture that they spent their money well.

Down with costs

Hybrid events can significantly reduce travel costs for everyone involved.

While attendees saving money is obvious, hybrid events can also decrease travel costs for your sponsors.

And even as live events are taking their place again, there’s still room for virtual experience. For example, there are many awesome platforms in virtual broadcasting that can save you money on costs.

When budgets are tight, hybrid events are excellent for bridging the gap between cost and results, for both attendees and sponsors.

Reach everyone by his majesty – streaming

Instead of keeping your event exclusive, you can share digital content to increase your reach and involve much extensive audience.

For example, you can share a part or the entire livestream and promote your next event. Sharing your livestream also ensures constant visibility for sponsors who are a part of the stream.

You can also focus your future marketing campaigns based on your previous content. What were the highpoint of your event? Use this point to build your marketing activities around it.

Or, you can analyze the questions received at different sessions and identify the common question. That can help you provide content to answer the questions of your audience.

Data, data, data who?

An enormous benefit of hybrid events comes from the data.

Unlike, live events where most data are estimated, like the number of attendees, with hybrid events you know the exact number of attendees, as well as how they engaged, when they left the session, how they behaved, etc.

You also gain information on your attendees’ interests through matchmaking data and session participation, which can help you improve your future content.

And for sponsors, they gain essential info on booth traffic and attendee engagement, helping them plan their future campaigns.

Because of the online nature of hybrid events, you gain a lot of trackable metrics that will help you learn more about your event and improve it in the future, metrics that you simply can’t measure offline.

A good event platform can help you here a lot and give you all important insights.  

Adapt to the changing world – one amazing ride

If anything that the COVID-19 crisis has shown us is that the future is unpredictable, so keeping only live events in your portfolio isn’t wise anymore since you can encounter a closed door anytime.

We have also been faced with a new perspective on how we use technology in our daily lives – your audience has shifted their needs, and your event strategy needs to keep up with that.

Hybrid events allow you to have the best of both worlds and engage both those who wish to participate live, and those who want to participate in their own way.

Give people the option and they’ll give you their trust.

So, what’s important?

Hybrid is a new thing. A new modern thing. There are no opposites between hybrid and live events. Organizations are often thinking that live (and also hybrid) events will kill each fragment of physical events including quality, audience and atmosphere that are typical for live socializing. Don’t be afraid to step into something that is already accepted and desirable in modern business.

What do you think?

Event organization – Your comfort zone will kill you

Meet Filip! Filip was a successful event organizer, well recognized in the event organization industry. You ask yourself why „was“? Well…. Let us tell you a story.

How did all start

It all began after Filip graduated. He was young, smart and full of energy. He was working in a very perspective industry and one day a brilliant idea occurred to him. He noticed that his industry needs one big central event which will gather experts from the whole industry and also spread knowledge and trends from all around the world. 

Filip made a team from a few colleagues who he knew to be very committed and trustful people. He made a plan and strategy. He brought the best speakers, he rented a very popular Event venue, he made great Agenda and they started with an aggressive marketing campaign.

The star was born

The response was more than good! In a short period, a big part of the community heard about his event. It was recognized as a conference with great content and not so expensive tickets.

Every year the event had more and more participants. Year after year popularity got higher, as well as the income. He attracted many companies and the number of sponsors and exhibitors was increasing. Filip was thrilled! After some time, he made a mechanism that started to work by itself. Income was always great, and he didn’t need any innovations. 

Is it less always more?

This was working for a long time, but then Filip noticed some changes. The conference started to be less important to one part of his business niche. Other events started to attract more attention than his. He started to ask himself what went wrong? He had a perfect organization, good content, great cocktail dinners, and awesome sponsors’ packages (with a lot of traditional benefits). He knew this was a proven concept of event organization and he didn’t want to change anything. Even though some of his team members had some suggestions he didn’t want to accept them. In his opinion, digital innovations were monkey business and just a waste of money.

Something was missing out, but he couldn’t tell what. What could go wrong when a recipe was good?

Your comfort zone will kill you

The real truth was that he was afraid to change his well-beaten path. In his opinion, it will just give him an unnecessarily headache and he was sure that he can overcome this crisis. Unfortunately, that wasn’t a case. After a few years, the number of visitors was too low for any profit, and after falling into debt, Filip decided to officially close the story about his event.

After some time of researching, some of his conclusions were:

  • Many people didn’t see the value in one-day networking anymore. They wanted to know who they would meet at the event, what kind of material should they prepared, who will be their target. In the era of Facebook and LinkedIn, they don’t want to be limited to only physical connections.
  • People were sick of standing in the registration line and waiting for accreditation they anyway didn’t need. After online ticket purchases, this was a step backward.
  • This was one more annoying thing for all participants: tons of paper material. Brochures, leaflets, agenda, presentations – this is all nice, but the download button is much nicer.

Filip asked himself, (how) can he solve these problems.

You can(‘t) teach an old dog new tricks

In attempt to regain old glory of his conference, he started visiting new conferences, hoping he can see what to change or upgrade, or to find someone who will. He was surprised at how everything has changed. Starting with live streaming, online live sessions and event managing apps. Everything was digitized – question and answers, surveys, agenda, announcements, even networking. He wanted to find new partners and he started approaching. He didn’t have a lot of success because, during the coffee break, everybody was busy talking on their phones and checking their emails.

After a few tries, he finally succeeded in starting a small talk with a young businessman and he finally got the first answer: – “Hey bro, thanks, but just find me on the app”.