5 benefits of hybrid events
The world has changed. There has been a greater shift towards conducting business online since the beginning of the pandemic. Many realised how much they enjoyed working more flexibly, but we can’t live like this all the time. Humans are inherently social creatures who need face-to-face interaction in order to maintain good mental health.
If you’re an event organiser or PCO, what’s the answer? Do you give your attendees a fully digital experience that won’t cost them anything in travel or accommodation, or do you give them that real human element they may have been missing over the past year?
A hybrid event can not only solve this problem, but boasts major benefits too.
1. Better attendance
Many event organisers are worried that hosting a hybrid event will cut their audience in half, or at least keep it exactly the same, with all their usual attendees choosing either the live event or the virtual one. Evidence shows that the opposite is true, and that it’s possible to almost double event attendance by going hybrid.
Research conducted over 13 000 webinars by The Streaming Network found that 98% of virtual event attendees weren’t going to attend the live event. This means that regular customers will still attend the in-person event for the most part, and organisers can tap into a whole new audience for the virtual experience.
Having a virtual version of your event to mirror your in-person event also allows those regular attendees to take part, no matter what. Between getting sick suddenly or not being able to afford travel and accommodation costs, there are countless reasons why an attendee may need to change plans. Hosting a hybrid event ensures that no one has to miss out on their favourite trade shows and conferences. You could even offer virtual tickets in exchange for live tickets, depending on any changes in your attendees’ needs or external factors that could affect your physical event.
2. Additional sponsorship opportunities
The bottom line is that the more people you have attending your event, the happier your sponsors will be, and more sponsors will be interested in getting involved. A virtual event gives them the opportunity to reach new audiences. For example, certain age demographics (like millennials) prefer to interact online. A hybrid event will give your sponsors the opening they need to reach such demographics.
Hybrid events also give both you and your sponsors greater flexibility. Not only can they interact with new leads and customers in person and at their virtual booths, but you could also offer them the option of either-or. Many brands don’t have or want an online presence, and would prefer exposure at the live event only. Others only want to interact and advertise virtually, whether due to the nature of their product or a smaller budget. You could offer the same space to one sponsor in person and to another virtually, potentially doubling the amount of event sponsorships in certain areas.
3. Reduce your environmental impact
Massive multiple-day trade shows or conferences can be very taxing on our environment. Many attendees fly in, or drive to the event from far away. They need accommodation, which comes with energy consumption, not to mention the energy consumption of the event itself. One also has to consider the amount of waste that can be accumulated at an event, from thrown-away food to information leaflets and flyers that aren’t recycled. Hybrid events afford the opportunity to host smaller physical events with a lower carbon footprint and less waste.
Even at a live in-person event, environmentally-friendly digital solutions are becoming more and more important. For example, green vendors and exhibitors offer to send mailers of their products and services to interested customers, rather than handing out thousands of flyers.
4. Boost your social media
With live speakers being recorded to be streamed virtually and many people sending in questions to and about speakers and exhibitions online, it’s easy to save and access content.
You can break up speeches, Q&As and talks into bite-sized chunks, posting them to your social media channels. You can create posts that answer frequently asked industry questions, or use these questions to determine what your audience is interested in, gearing your content more in that direction in future. Your analytics will also be able to tell you which speakers or exhibitions your audience enjoyed and interacted with the most, giving you a well-based content direction.
5. Gain valuable insights
Virtuworx has powerful analytics capabilities. You can not only see exactly how many people are attending your event, but also which sessions were the best attended, when people dropped out of sessions and how much engagement even the tiniest booth got online. While these metrics mostly apply to your online audience, you can still use them to curate an even more successful event next time.
This valuable data can be offered to sponsors, letting them know exactly how much traffic they got and which of their products their customers were engaging with the most positively, helping them gain a positive return of investment for current and future campaigns. This is likely to encourage them to want to work with you again in future.
Neither the PCO nor their sponsors will have to rely on looking out for high foot traffic to gauge the success of an event or a booth. Virtuworx can tell you exactly how much traffic, who downloaded your information and how long they engaged for.
Get started with Virtuworx
With Virtuworx, your customers can choose the event experience of their preference, meaning you’ll have something for everyone. Virtuworx can give you and your customers all of the above and more with their fully immersive platform. For more information or to request a demo, click here.