Hesitation and the Hybrid Event
A hybrid event is a term only now being explored as a solution to the impact of the Covid pandemic. The possibility of an event being held in a physical location, but also offering the option to attend virtually, is being discussed as the strategic benefits are being discovered. Returning to a certain level of normalcy, whilst keeping aspects of the digital world, is steering us towards a pivotal change within the events industry’s recovery. Yet there is still hesitation from event planners towards the idea of considering hybrid as part of future events strategies.
Whilst the hesitation stems from the uncertainty of new change, many organisers are also wary of tackling the challenge of essentially planning two events in one. The virtual component has to be a production in its own right, with both options providing different event experiences. Whilst it can’t be argued that the complexity to deliver is much greater, it must be emphasised how much the effort will pay off venturing into this new change.
Further audience reach
Often there are certain barriers for people when considering attending in-person events such as financial, travel or support restrictions. Providing that option to still attend virtually will allow your event to reach more people than what a venue could hold. We also have to face the reality that people will not be ready to attend in-person events for a very long time. Even though restrictions will be eased in social gatherings, it does not mean your participants will feel safe enough to attend. We must be mindful that we can’t immediately dive back into physical events and the decision to go hybrid will offer that gradual easing.
Budgets go further
Certain expenses can be greatly reduced when you allow virtual participation rather than the only option of all meeting physically. The expense of renting larger venues to accommodate numbers, booking transportation and long hotel stays can all be taken out of the budget. Scaling down your in-person event whilst still maintaining participant numbers will allow you to spend less of your budget on physical expenses and instead invest more in new technology and resources.
Increase in sustainability
Sustainability is becoming a more important factor within the event planning process and providing a hybrid approach will considerably reduce carbon footprint. Offering the chance to have attendees tune in digitally rather than making the long journey in-person will be a big step towards an eco-friendly event. Having fewer people attending physically will also assist in the sustainable venture as less single-use plastic and paper is used. You still have a large number of event participants, but unsustainable measures are being reduced, with most assets now being shared digitally.
The digital element of hybrid allows those looking to measure attendee engagement to get insight on what content was most stimulating or how many took part in most sessions. Having this data can let you really tune in to what your audience enjoys and adapt future events to better meet their needs. When digital options allow for a more diverse audience, your data is only going to be more varied and you can therefore develop your future events to be more inclusive.
With a slow journey back to normalcy, event professionals are needing to consider a hybrid alternative as we move out of lockdown. While it is understood that people prefer physical events, there are many benefits to even remaining hybrid long after.
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