With the right event objectives, budget, audience, and platform—hybrid events deliver on more than just eyeballs.
Hybrid events can expand the global audience of an event without commensurately expanding the budget. In other words, if you want to add more attendees to your live event, it typically costs more in physical infrastructure (meeting space, transportation, food, and beverage) than it costs to add the same number of attendees virtually.
Hybrid events can provide your organization with visibility into pockets of people who may never attend in person. And these virtual attendees could become customers, members, influencers, or buyers of your exhibitors’ and sponsors’ products without ever having to set foot at your live event.
Increasing the size of your audience can increase your chances of attracting more overall exhibitors, sponsors, and revenue. More eyeballs in more audience segments translate into more types of exhibitors and sponsors interested in participating in your event. More attendees can help raise the value and price of booth space and sponsorship.
Hybrids offer many more branding and promotional opportunities than in-person-only events. There is more real estate online than onsite. Plus, your organization, exhibitors, and sponsors can offer more immersive experiences at a lower cost online.
Presenting hybrids increases the value of your brand and event holdings. Potential investors, sponsors, and customers will increasingly lean toward event organizers that can work successfully across multiple channels and event formats.
Hybrid events provide your stakeholders with participation options beyond yes or no. Some attendees, exhibitors, and sponsors may choose to go live one year and virtual the next. Hybrid events in which the live and virtual components are asynchronous (one before or after the other) give stakeholders the option of participating in both live and virtual at different times during the same event.
Hybrids can deliver an influx of ideas, information, and data that in-person-only events can’t. People, research, conversations, and light bulb moments are limited in physical events because not everyone can come. You can bring in more brilliance if you allow some of it to come in virtually.
Hybrids are more flexible than in-person-only events because they allow you to modulate the number of attendees in the physical and virtual spaces to accommodate changing conditions. In the future, it may be more effective for some organizations to intentionally scale down in-person audiences (power buyers, CEOs, vaccinated persons) but scale up virtual audiences.
Hybrid events can create FOMO for the virtual audience and convert them to in-person participants in the future. Free samples, low-cost introductory offers, and test drives have one thing in common. They have a way of convincing people to take the next step. It works for Costco, and it can work for events.
Even if you choose not to live stream content from your in-person event to a remote audience during your hybrid, standalone virtual event content can be archived and re-purposed for marketing, education, and promotion.
In the early days of hybrid events, when the virtual component was a live stream of content that was simultaneously presented at the live event, transforming an in-person event into a hybrid came with fewer benefits. Today, hybrid events are becoming more sophisticated, and the cross-pollination of people, ideas, and buyer-seller opportunities has created many more opportunities for organizations to advance their event objectives.