Virtual and hybrid events are more successful than physical events
Greener, cheaper and more accessible.
Physical events and how they have changed in the past year
Physical events have had the advantage of being a powerful way to connect with your audience and with your customers for many years. In 2018, the global events industry was valued at over $1,100 billion. However, the COVID-19 tested the resilience and the adaptability of many companies who relied on these types of events. While it has been impossible most of the time to host in-person events, companies have shifted their focus towards the digital medium. As many people embrace working and networking from their homes, it is quite certain that digital or even hybrid events are here to stay, even if the world goes back to normal and face to face meetings will be permitted. The question arising is how do you host a successful virtual or hybrid event?
How To Host A Successful Virtual/Hybrid Event
As COVID-19 has disrupted the events calendar for many companies, they were forced to adapt to the changes. This meant moving everything on various digital platforms.
Successful digital events are hosted on dedicated websites and platforms, with guests being able to register for tickets (either paid or free). In many cases the places are limited, as a constraint of the platform. For example, Zoom allows a maximum of 1000 participants in one meeting, with the ‘Large Meeting’ add-on.. This can be seen as a downside or can be used to create a scarcity mindset for the attendants. If the places are limited, people should make a priority from attending. Just as with physical events which had a limited number of tickets, the same applies to virtual/hybrid ones. However, if you decide you would like to have an unlimited number of participants, YouTube and similar platforms offer an unconstrained number of viewers.
Hybrid events on the other hand feature a physical location with attendees while livestreaming the speakers and presentations online. There are many varieties of hybrid events. The most popular one, employed by 62% of companies, is the broadcast format where one main event is streamed online to a remote audience.
These types of events allow you to increase reach and gain more attendees. One study found that 98% of participants at a hybrid event were not planning to attend in person. Additionally, 23% of event organisers of a hybrid event reported that more attendees participated in future events and 65% said this has not impacted the in person attendance for the events. This suggests that offering both in person and digital options for attending the event can increase attendance, not split your audience as previously thought.
By having a hybrid event, you facilitate the participation of those who attend but can’t and those who are not sure it would be worth it. There is less commitment on the participant’s part as the event is hosted digitally and they can opt in for that. However, a successful hybrid event is more likely to be successful when the decision to make it hybrid is made in the early planning stages. This allows for better planning and allocation of resources.
Better engagement can be achieved by having polls during sessions which can include both the online and live audience. Additionally, having Q&As with a speaker live first and then inviting them for another session with the online audience in a broadcasting studio.
No geographical constraints
Virtual and hybrid events allow for companies to easily and effectively reach more people as there are no longer geographical constraints. Attendees can take part without the travel or commute, providing easier access.
Amplifying brand engagement and awareness.
In the digital event you can include speaker livestreams, virtual product demonstrations and many more, while the attendees are in the comfort of their own home.
Should you keep virtual events as part of your strategy?
The return to in-person activities has definitely started, but it is hard to estimate when things would go back to normal or if there will still be people reluctant to join face to face. Just as working from home seems to stay more prevalent than before, people might be happy to keep attending virtual and hybrid events.
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