Hybrid events are not something new, since they have existed for more than a decade, nor are they a simple anecdote, because their future is undeniable. They were discussed by all event professionals when the covid-19 pandemic changed the rules of the MICE sector. But what are hybrid events and what opportunities do they offer?
It is important first that we are clear about what hybrid events are NOT. They do not refer to the mere broadcasting of a face-to-face event so that other people can follow it online. Nor is it an event that takes place in different places simultaneously (multi-site event). A hybrid event is one that takes place in a physical venue with a limited number of in-person attendees and another part of the audience that participates and interacts virtually.
The fundamental thing, therefore, to determine if an event is really hybrid, is that online attendees must have the opportunity to participate in the event in a way that is as close as possible to that of face-to-face attendees. It is true that they will hardly participate in the catering of the event, for example, but technology advances so that there are more and more possibilities for them to interact just as any other attendee. In other words, the line between face-to-face and online attendees is much more blurred in these types of events.
In a hybrid event, all attendees can ask questions, vote, play games, arrange meetings, visit stands, read communications, complete tests, make a presentation, take part in a debate, etc., regardless of whether they are at the venue itself, at its home or in an office. The organizer is, therefore, with the great challenge of engagement: how to keep the online attendee equally hooked?
The key, of course, is in the content, which must be designed for both types of audience as if it were only one. It is true that there are events in which the experience provided by actual contact is difficult to substitute. However, video calling and other event technologies pave the way for audiences to receive digital interactions in a more natural and receptive way.
Finally, hybrid events provide further depth and opportunities to the organizer. They will achieve a much greater reach, with a global and potentially unlimited audience at a much lower cost per attendee. In addition, the hybrid event will see its ROI boosted with new revenue and sponsorship possibilities for the online format. n top of that, it is much easier to collect and measure event data and makes it easier to promote activity on social networks.
Traditionally, the hybrid event has been residual in large part because the technology was not so accessible yet. However, more and more event organizers are choosing all-in-one platforms such as evenTwo, which combine technology for face-to-face events with virtual tools that allow any attendee, regardless of whether it is in person or online, to share the same experience in the event.