It’s 2019, the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the world is in chaos. In a matter of days, live events that had been planned months in advance were suddenly postponed or canceled. With the world in shambles, we had to find a way to execute our events. Virtual events became our only option, It had become the new normal, and we had to learn how to create effective solutions. We navigated through the storm and learned a lot of lessons along the way. One of the most important lessons we learned was that while virtual events certainly have their benefits, in-person events will always be an important part of any robust event program.
With that being said, now, it’s time to think about a different type of event, hybrid events. The pandemic has taught us that there will be situations where virtual events will be the only option as they allowed us to reach more people across geographic barriers and create new kinds of connections. Even though virtual events had a lot to offer they couldn’t reproduce the feeling of sharing physical space with people. Now, as a post-pandemic future comes into focus the iTeneri team is eager to bring back in-person events as nothing beats a good physical interaction. Hybrid events have become our solution as it gives us the opportunity to combine both in-person and virtual experiences and has become an essential part of the new normal in the events industry.
Here are Five (5) reasons why for my team, hybrid is the new model for all of our events and should be for yours as well:
- Expands participation and accessibility.
As we know, virtual events may be hard for some people because of a variety of factors such as their age group or their level of technological advancement. Hybrid allows for more inclusiveness as it opens a channel that gives presenters and attendees the opportunity to attend anywhere they are comfortable with whether virtually or in person. It also allows event organizers to attract in-demand speakers and panelists because the friction of travel and scheduling is reduced.
- Increases Your Reach
Virtual events can also be overwhelming as different people may find it difficult to communicate and form connections within a virtual environment. Therefore, hybrid events are the perfect solution for this problem. Hybrid events can help increase your reach immensely, as you won’t be limited to just your physical or virtual audience. You can attract people from all across the globe to participate in your event from the comfort of their homes.
- Unlocks deeper audience engagement
Audience engagement is one of the most important elements of an event. We want attendees to be active participants, and to help shape the conversation in real-time. Hybrid events offer a significant advantage because they allow all participants to communicate with each other, opening up a multi-directional flow of ideas and information. For example, virtual participants can reach out to and communicate with in-person participants and vice versa. iTeneri acts as a bridge between the online and in-person experiences by providing a channel where all interaction occurs.
- Increases your event ROI
The expanded reach of hybrid events comes at a significantly lower cost than if you were to increase the size of a 100% physical event. Adding a virtual aspect to in-person events helps to grow attendance dramatically and at a lower marginal cost. It removes the need to rent a larger or additional event space or spending of any additional funds. It allows an increase in a payout of an event without a proportional increase in cost. In addition, hosts, sponsors, and exhibitors can easily track visitor attendance and engagement insights. The event will record every user interaction, and help companies measure their ROI.
- Provides data-driven insights
One of the most powerful aspects of online events is analytics. Virtual events give you the opportunity to get more specific information about how your audience is engaging with event content such as virtual booths or even tuning into the live stream. Hybrid events offer that same benefit. Adding an online component to an in-person event gives you a much better view of what is actually working and what isn’t. Whether it is by measuring the number of persons who would rather attend in person versus virtually or how persons interact in both spaces. These insights have incredible value in helping to determine the true ROI on an event and optimizing future events based on audience behavior.