Hybrid events have become a crucial tool in event planners’ arsenal lately. While these types of events have been around for some time, the pandemic propelled them into newfound popularity. They’ve allowed event planners to adapt to the ever-changing COVID-19 conditions effectively.
Due to hybrid events’ powerful utility:
- Roughly 75% of event planners said they planned to host a hybrid event in 2020
- 97% of marketers are confident that hybrid events are here to stay
Hybrid events should not be confused with virtual events; both events offer different yet beneficial experiences. If you want to succeed in the current event industry, you need to know how to put on a show-stopping hybrid event. Below, we’ve compiled some examples of successful hybrid events to spark your inspiration.
What Are Hybrid Events?
A hybrid event is a blend of an in-person event and a virtual event. While in-person events take place at a physical location, virtual events take place online; a hybrid event does both.
During a hybrid event, in-person guests mingle, explore the venue, and listen to speakers. Meanwhile, virtual attendees do the same—just from a virtual event platform. Such platforms enable the virtual attendee to participate in nearly every kind of activity that a live attendee would, including networking, Q&As, gamification, and more.
Due to this unique setup, hybrid events offer many advantages over their separate in-person and virtual counterparts.
What Are the Benefits of Hybrid Events?
Hybrid events offer many benefits. Here are a few of their most notable advantages:
- Increased reach – Most in-person events are restricted to their venue’s capacity. You can only invite as many people as your venue will allow. By going hybrid and adding a virtual audience to your guest list, you can increase your reach exponentially.
- Enhanced convenience for attendees – These days, business is more globalized than ever before. If your target audience is dispersed across the country or the globe, bringing them together in person can be a challenge. Travel costs and scheduling conflicts may stand in their way.
Fortunately, virtual audience members can attend from anywhere in the world, as long as they have an internet connection. Due to this enhanced convenience, your faraway guests will be more inclined to attend your next event.
- Detailed data collection – Analyzing your event’s data is an essential step if you want to evaluate its success and improve future events. However, the data from a physical event is generally limited to foot traffic and optional survey responses.
By hosting a hybrid event, you can take advantage of this detailed virtual data and glean valuable insights from your audiences’ watch time, click rates, poll submissions, real-time chat feedback, and more.
- Increased ROI – Optimizing an event’s return on investment (ROI) is a goal for many event planners. By choosing a hybrid event style, this task becomes a lot easier. Here’s why:
- Hybrid events increase ticket revenues – With a hybrid event, you can sell tickets to both in-person and virtual attendees. The addition of your virtual ticket revenue can make a significant difference in your overall ROI.
It’s usually a good idea to make virtual tickets more cost-effective than in-person tickets, since your online attendees won’t be able to participate in the in-person experience. However, by charging them a fair price and offering them added value in the form of exclusive digital content, you can multiply your revenue with minimal effort.
- Hybrid events allow for additional sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities – Hybrid events allow for lucrative sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities. By utilizing a virtual platform, you can give your sponsors and exhibitors access to a much larger audience, enabling them to expand their reach.
Likewise, your sponsors and exhibitors will appreciate the added bonus of your detailed virtual analytics. They can use this data to find out exactly what your virtual attendees clicked on and how long they stayed in their “booths” to learn more.
- COVID-19 safety – Hybrid events offer all event participants more safety, comfort, and flexibility. With fewer in-person guests, it’s easier to space people out and adhere to social distancing. Hybrid events also give your guests the option to attend virtually if health concerns or travel restrictions prevent their in-person attendance.
5 Hybrid Event Examples
With these benefits in mind, let’s take a look at five examples of successful hybrid events:
1. Webinar World
Webinar World is an annual marketing conference hosted by ON24. Its mission is to drive revenue and engagement through digital experiences. During the event, speakers and guests explore the topic of webinars and discuss how they can be used as a powerful marketing tool. This event famously employs a hybrid model, featuring:
- An in-person audience — Webinar World’s breakout sessions feature in-person keynote speakers, special guests, and a physical audience. In-person attendees get the chance to ask speakers questions during the Q&A and network with each other throughout the event.
- A virtual audience — Webinar World also welcomes virtual attendees to tune into these sessions online.
- A wealth of sharable content — Each of Webinar World’s sessions are recorded and archived online, allowing both in-person and virtual audiences to rewatch them after the fact.
Webinar World’s hybrid model significantly increases the scope of its attendance. Due to its expansive audience, this event attracts enticing sponsorships with ease. Sponsors get the chance to host their own sessions within the event and add their logos to Webinar World’s promotional emails and downloadable content.
Due to these valuable marketing opportunities, Webinar World rakes in impressive revenues from their sponsorships alone. By emulating its hybrid style, you can also secure profitable sponsorships and share your event’s message far and wide.
DigiMarCon is a two-day digital marketing, media, and advertising conference. As the largest conference and exhibition series of its kind, it attracts droves of marketers from across the world.
Keeping in line with its mission of embracing the latest digital marketing strategies, DigiMarCon has chosen a hybrid style for its event. Going on its seventh year, this event is open to both:
- In-person attendees — During this event, attendees listen to thought-provoking speakers, attend enlightening strategy sessions, and discuss the latest trends in digital marketing. Guests on location also get the chance to participate in exclusive networking luncheons, dinner receptions, and farewell cocktail receptions.
- Online attendees — For a discounted ticket price, online attendees can tune in to a live stream of all the event’s general sessions and masterclasses. They can also join DigiMarCon’s social media groups to connect with other online attendees.
Since DigiMarCon offers a worthwhile experience to both in-person and virtual attendees, it continues to grow in an ever-changing event environment. If you want to embody the same resiliency and reach, a hybrid model may be perfect for your next event.
3. Yellow Conference
Another event that went hybrid in 2020 was the Yellow Conference. Since 2014, this annual event has brought women together who are passionate about doing meaningful work, growing their businesses, and pursuing personal development. Each year, this event features exciting:
- Breakout sessions
- Interactive activities
While COVID-19 took some of these activities off the table, the Yellow Conference adapted quickly and decided to try something new. Rather than canceling or postponing, the event planners organized two entirely separate events—one for a limited in-person audience and one for a virtual audience.
While many hybrid events cater to both audiences simultaneously, this strategy enabled the Yellow Conference to tailor each event to its audience’s unique needs with greater precision. By following this strategy, you can optimize engagement for everyone involved.
4. Apple Special Events
If there’s one company that’s known for its innovative spirit, it’s Apple. Thus, it should come as no surprise that Apple has been putting on hybrid events for years. Apple’s highly-anticipated technology conferences give tech enthusiasts a chance to check out the latest and greatest Apple products.
- In-person — Attendees get to hear from special keynote speakers and observe enlightening product demonstrations. Tim Cook often kicks off these events, giving in-person guests the exciting and exclusive opportunity to hear from one of the world’s most well-known CEOs.
- Virtual — Apple events are also live-streamed to virtual audiences worldwide, allowing the company to promote its new products worldwide. These events are then recorded and uploaded to Apple’s online archives. Virtual attendees appreciate these events for their captivating camera shots and high production value.
From Apple’s perspective, sharing this event virtually is a powerful marketing strategy. After one of these events, you’ll often notice lines out the door at their stores. If you want your products to fly off the shelves, too, just take a note from Apple and use the impressive reach of hybrid events to your advantage.
5. Growth Marketing Conference
As event planners worldwide have learned, the long-term impact of COVID-19 on the event industry is still uncertain. For example, the Growth Marketing Conference organizers hoped to host an in-person event in December 2020. The team behind this conference also had the foresight to cover their bases.
- They added a Virtual Access Pass to their ticket offerings – By creating a Virtual Access pass, Growth Marketing Conference attendees enjoyed more security. No matter what new travel restrictions, lockdowns, or health concerns arose leading up to the event, they still had a reliable way to attend.
- They offered exclusive bonus content – To make their Virtual Access Pass even more enticing, the Growth Marketing Conference bestowed their virtual attendees with special bonus content, including 250 webinars.
By offering your virtual audience exclusive content, you can give them more value and level out the event experience for in-person and virtual attendees. Going hybrid also gives all parties involved a buffer of protection against unexpected cancelations.
Vario: Hybrid Event Experts at Your Service
As you can see, hybrid events have a lot to offer. By employing a hybrid model for your next event, you’ll benefit from a broader reach, a better ROI, and valuable droves of engagement data. Your event will also be more resilient in the face of these uncertain times.
If you want to organize a hybrid event of your own, watch our webinar on how to turn your virtual meeting into a hybrid meeting and the questions you need to be asking when planning your event. We would love to help you put on a hybrid event that delights your attendees and boosts your bottom line.
To learn more about our services, contact us today.
- Business Travel News. Nearly Three in Four Polled Planners Anticipate Running Hybrid Events in 2020. https://www.businesstravelnews.com/Meetings/Nearly-Three-in-Four-Polled-Planners-Anticipate-Running-Hybrid-Events-in-2020
- The Bizzabo Blog. 4 Stats That Point to How Events Will Evolve in 2020 and 2021. https://blog.bizzabo.com/future-of-event-marketing-stats