While virtual events certainly have their benefits, live events offer an element of human connection crucial for fueling passion and innovation, regardless of the topic or trade.
The great news is that hybrid events are becoming the new normal, bridging the gap between the physical and virtual world in new and exciting ways. This is a necessary step in getting back to normal and regaining the human connection we all have been missing.
Here is how you can use the hybrid approach to take your event strategy to a whole new level with results that will blow your mind!
What Is a Hybrid Event and how does it provide human connection?
A hybrid event is a tradeshow, conference, seminar, or workshop with both a live and a virtual audience participating in the same experience simultaneously.
The format of a hybrid event varies. But most are made up of a smaller group of in-person attendees with an unlimited number of virtual participants. This opens your messaging, branding, and content up to a much larger audience where you may bridge the human connection and share your information.
Related: What is the Difference Between a Hybrid Event and a Virtual Event?
Types of Hybrid Events
To host a successful hybrid event, you first need to define your audience to establish what type of hybrid event you will be planning. But first, let’s establish the difference between internal and external hybrid events.
Internal events are meant to benefit your organization’s internal stakeholders, mainly your employees, partners, and leadership. For larger companies, internal events are a great way to hold a sales kickoff or team-building event when you can’t get everyone in the same room.
You can still harness the energy of a live group setting while including off-site members via a streaming platform.
External events target clients, customers, partners, and prospects in larger group settings such as conferences and trade shows. Hybrid settings are an excellent option for these types of events, as well. They allow you to expand your audience and attract more sponsorships while lowering your costs and carbon footprint.
Check out this article from Van Wagner to learn more about how hybrid events work.
Advantages of Hybrid Events
Now that you’ve established your audience, it’s time to get clear on your motivation for holding an event and what goals you want to achieve. Below are some of the advantages you’ll want to consider for taking your event hybrid.
There’s no question; hybrid events will attract more participants than strictly live events. Travel and cost have always been two significant hindrances preventing people from attending live events.
But when people have the option to spend less time and money on travel and accommodations, they can enjoy the event from the convenience of their home or office.
More Sponsorship Exposure
Adding a virtual component to your event presents unlimited potential for increasing brand awareness and lead generation, which is a huge incentive for your potential sponsors.
Giving sponsors access to your in-person participants and your virtual attendees increases exposure and value for them. In return, it increases credibility and sponsorship dollars for your event.
The Ability to Record and Rewatch
Recorded content is an invaluable perk of hybrid events for both your brand and your attendees. Providing participants with access to recorded sessions allows them to watch desired content they might have missed or want to re-engage with after the event. Be sure to have a connection method for post event where your audience knows how to contact you for more support and information.
This is not only convenient for them, but it also extends the life of your event well into the future. Even better, you can package your recorded content to sell online, adding a potential source of income.
Related: 7 Mind-Blowing Virtual and Hybrid Events and Why They’re Successful
Hybrid Events and Millenials
Few can deny the influence Millennials have on shaping business and marketing trends. That’s why hybrid events are proving to be a perfect fit for this social, tech-savvy crowd. This enables all of your audience to connect on the level they feel comfortable. Some of us need face to face and others prefer screen to screen to feel the human connection we share when meeting in this type of venue.
Digital Technology Expertise
Millennials have no concept of the world without the internet. So leaving the digital world out of an event would seem primitive and incomplete to the average millennial.
But, by merging physical and virtual realities with the latest technology, you are speaking a language millennials can understand and provide the added stimulation needed to hold their attention.
Preference of Experiences over Belongings
Getting their hands on the latest gadget isn’t what all millennials are after. They want an epic experience they can capture with their device to share with all their friends.
Hybrid events offer the unique, interactive experience millennials crave, weaving in invaluable real-time connection with the vast reach and dynamic features that technology offers. Plus, there are endless opportunities and features to capture shareable moments for those watching on the social sidelines.
Millennials are not a generation that throws their money around in excess, which is another reason hybrid events speak to them. Opting to participate online usually means a reduced registration fee and eliminates travel costs.
Plus, online participants can access content and pieces of training after the event, which stretches the millennials’ dollars even further!
Learn how to plan for your next hybrid event by following these tips from Van Wagner!
Examples of Problems that Hybrid Events Solve
It can be challenging to generate the same level of excitement we experience face-to-face when interacting online. With hybrid events, you can create the best of both worlds – a space where the vast virtual audience can join in on the dynamic energy of the live experience.
One of the main incentives for holding live events is to bring the best and brightest together. But the cost and time constraints of live events prevent many hidden gems from participating.
Hybrid events remove many of these obstacles, making global participation possible for almost anyone, including expert speakers and professionals with demanding schedules.
Hybrid Events Are the Way Forward
Live, in-person events will never lose their value for sparking growth and innovation. But the added virtual component of hybrid events will allow you to cast a wider net.
You’ll be able to attract more cutting-edge perspectives, mutually beneficial partnerships, and other opportunities that will be essential for advancing your organization’s goals.
Related: 10 Ways To Differentiate Your Hybrid Event & Keep Virtual Event Engagement