Hybrid Events

Eight Misconceptions and Truths about Hybrid Events

Eventually Learning Team

We know that 2020 was the turning point for virtual events because of the pandemic raging across the globe. As marketers, we all leaned towards organizing virtual events to promote our brands, services and goods, and we also strived to propagate relevant knowledge to our audiences.

Although virtual events were popular, hot on the tail of virtual events are hybrid events. Moving forward from virtual events, it is right to say that a new era is being born, and we are shifting to an age of hybrid events.

Since the global economy began trying to get back on track, we must accept that our situations will be slow to recover and innovations are the only way to get ahead.

Throughout 2020, many industry experts predicted the rise of hybrid events, but only a handful of hybrid events took place in the past few months. However, there is great hope for hybrid events as vaccine roll-outs have started in various countries. Citing this, we can definitely expect a rise in in-person and hybrid events.

The major challenge with hybrid events is that since attendees, organizers, sponsors, speakers and clients are relatively new to the concept of hybrid events, they don’t have a clear picture of what to expect. Thus, the organizer fails to execute the vision. This problem can only be eliminated when we get down to the core of all problems, as most of us have different preconceptions about hybrid events and how they are different. Let’s try to shake off all the misconceptions about hybrid events and attempt to understand the truth and myths about them.

1.Misconception about Hybrid Events

If you are an event marketer and don’t seem entirely convinced with the idea of hybrid events, then let us tell you that 86% of B2B organizations see a positive ROI from their hybrid events every seven months after the event is completed (Source: Markletic). This shows that all you need is a little patience and clarity.

Let’s bust some myths about hybrid events.

1.1 The Virtual Aspect Will Become Redundant Once Live Events Return

Let’s explain it with a simple analogy. In a similar way that retro styles, rock music and social media have stayed around and evolved, the same will happen in the virtual aspects of the events.

One of the long-lasting factors of the pandemic will be the feeling of uncertainty. The coming generations, along with the existing population, will move forward with the same feeling. In order to minimize risks and uncertainties, organizers and marketers will keep both options open for event attendees.

The choice of attending the event in-person or virtually will solely lie with the attendee. Incorporating and enabling the virtual element in hybrid events will also allow audiences to attend the event from all over the world.

Also, the risk of losing the entire event due to unavoidable circumstances or uncertainties diminishes if you always keep the virtual aspect ready.

For an event marketer and organizer, preparing infrastructure and cost of expenditure reduces when only a few percentage points of attendees attend the event in-person and the rest of the crowd is present virtually.

1.2 Hybrid Events are Just In-person Events with a Live-Streaming Option

When an event organizer, marketer or attendee thinks of a hybrid event just as an in-person event with a live stream, they can never be more wrong. Hybrid events go way beyond in-person events and are a beautiful integration of in-person and virtual events.

A hybrid event cannot be reduced to the level of being compared with just a Facebook, YouTube or Instagram live stream. The hybrid event has multiple aspects to it, which involve engaging the virtual audience with the live audience and enabling the networking of virtual, in-person event attendees and speakers with one another. This is done while facilitating knowledge exchange and sharing and treating all attendees and speakers equally. These aspects involve a lot of effort in terms of execution.

A hybrid event requires the distribution of content, ideas and materials across the live audience as well as the virtual one. Therefore, the sponsorship opportunities for hybrid events are specially tailored to suit the in-person and virtual events.

1.3 Attendees Cannot Be Engaged As Efficiently As in a Live Event

When hosting a hybrid event, as an organizer, have you ever questioned the efficiency of virtual events? Well, it’s only natural if you have asked this question.

Let’s bust this myth about hybrid events.

For the past year, engaging an audience has been a challenge for almost every industry. In some virtual events or live streams, engaging the audience, or in some extreme cases, keeping them logged in until the end of the event has been a difficult task. In addition, in the new era of virtual event production and management, organizers find it challenging to battle what we now call “Zoom Fatigue,"""" or boredom, in virtual events.

Fortunately, this problem can be tackled effectively. As an experienced event marketer, you should make the best professional choices. Finding the right equipment, leveraging tools efficiently and analyzing what interests your audience are all extremely important. If these tasks are not performed diligently, audience engagement cannot arise in any event.

In hybrid events, engaging in-person and virtual audiences can be a tough nut to crack. Still, with the multitude of virtual tools like Q&A, polls, live chat, debates, networking opportunities, live chat options and other gamification techniques, the audience can be efficiently engaged in hybrid conferences and events.

1.4 Attendees Will Not Come to the In-person Event if it is Available Online

Due to the pandemic, maximum interactions, activities and communication have shifted online. Therefore, uncertainty in these situations has been a boon and a peril - a boon because we have learned to be flexible in all aspects of life and peril because we have lost the human touch.

A human is a social animal, and we thrive on interactions and experiences. Even though our audiences have become comfortable virtually, given the option of attending the event in person, a considerable percentage of your audience would choose to show up for your in-person event. The attendees would prefer to experience the whole phenomenon in person.

Therefore, we know that “Attendees will not attend the in-person event if the virtual option is available"""" is one of the biggest misconceptions about hybrid events. The biggest advantages you have in a hybrid event are that people close by can physically attend the event. Your global audience will not miss the event because they can attend it virtually.

2.Truths about Hybrid Events

Like there are multiple misconceptions about hybrid events, there are certain truths to them, too. Let’s dive into the topic right away in order to understand the factual aspects of hybrid events.

2.1 Events Will Never Be the Same As Before

If there is anything we have learned from the past few months, we must not rely on or get comfortable in certain surroundings or situations. Times are frequently changing, and uncertain situations can arise anytime. Therefore, for B2B and B2C businesses and events, risk management is the need of the hour.

As an event marketer, you must be prepared for all scenarios. Even in-person events can get canceled at any point in time, and the same can happen with hybrid events. Therefore, you must always be ready with a backup plan for hosting your event virtually.

Risk management also involves:

  • Following all health and safety guidelines
  • Ensuring hygiene at your venue
  • Arranging medical help if required

These possibilities should be on your agenda to address as an event planner.

2.2 Professional Hybrid Events are Complex to Produce

As much as we want to include this as a misconception, it’s true. From planning to producing and delivering, all aspects of hybrid events are complex and challenging.

We all know that carrying out an in-person event requires a lot of professional planning, budgeting, promoting and execution. The same is the case for hybrid events. As an event marketer, you have to plan a hybrid event, keeping in mind that the in-person and the virtual factors are synched together.

To minimize errors in technicalities, execution, production, etc., you can partner with a professional event management company and strategize the whole event together. We are not trying to shoo you away from hybrid events. In fact, holding a hybrid event will leave a positive, long-lasting effect on your event attendees and speakers.

You can tackle risks by engaging a professional technology provider and executing dry runs of the whole event before the final day. In addition, rehearsing your strategies right from start to finish and discussing these challenges with your entire team will also help. By sticking to these dos and don’ts, you can successfully host a hybrid event.

2.3 Creative Ideas are the Key to Success for Hybrid Events

Since hybrid events are multi-faceted experiences, only creative ideas can take the train forward.

In order to keep the in-person and the virtual audiences engaged, you, as an event planner, must be creative in coming up with activities or anecdotes to keep the audience engaged.

You can enable live chat rooms during breaks to propel interaction, and you can even think about organizing fun activities like games to maximize audience participation. In case of any gap, you should be able to come up with spontaneous activities while keeping in mind the multiple aspects of a hybrid event.

You should also keep the energy high amongst both types of audiences before another speaker hits the stage. Therefore, your mind, ideas, and budget are the deciding factors for what you can do for your hybrid events.

2.4 Any Kind of an Event Can be Converted Into a Hybrid One

In Industry 4.0, technology is dominating almost all sectors of the world. So, thanks to technology, you can make any event into a hybrid event. This is not a misconception about hybrid events.

If you possess the best tools and knowledge, you can transform it into a hybrid one regardless of the size, location or production of the event.

If you plan to launch a new product or service, open a new outlet, present a comedy or a musical act or premier in a movie or a series, everything can be showcased in a hybrid event style.

If you are a small-scale business, maybe you can outsource your hybrid event to professional event management and production firm. Also, suppose you are a well-established company with all kinds of tools and professionals at your disposal. In that case, you can organize or convert your in-person or virtual event into a hybrid event to be more inclusive of different types of audiences globally.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What do you need to know about hybrid events?

In simple terms, a hybrid event means a live or an in-person event combined with a virtual one. You have to integrate your content, audience, speakers and activities and engage with your live audience along with your virtual one.

In a hybrid event, you can engage with your audience no matter where they are or who they are.

2. What is an advantage of hosting a hybrid event?

The biggest advantage of hosting hybrid events is that you can gain many attendees in terms of live and virtual audiences.

Hosting a hybrid event leaves a different impression of your company, and you are sure to gain new prospects by hosting such an event.

According to a survey by Markletic, 47% of event organizers think that hybrid events are a great way to connect internationally dispersed audiences, and 34% of event organizers are planning to invest in hybrid events in the future.

3. How are hybrid events the future of the event industry?

The hybrid model of organizing events allows businesses to soar past the point of live event venues and drastically increase the capacity for event attendees by in-person and virtual means. This factor simply means that they can market the event for a larger audience frame, thereby finding more ROI and prospects. Therefore, hybrid events will lead the event industry in the near future.

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