The nature of events has changed over a period of time. Multimedia, digitalization and other innovative technologies have drastically transformed the way events are conducted now vis-a-vis 10 years ago. With the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, the cancellation ratio of face to face events has exponentially increased which also gave a rise and a jump start to the virtual events. Evaluating the year 2020, it is safe to say that it was the year of virtual events.
As corporate event planners step into 2021, the general consensus is that virtual will remain as prominent as it was in 2020. In 2021 according to consensus, corporate planners are shifting to hybrid events to enjoy the best of both worlds.
A Global DMC Partners survey of event planners worldwide presented strategies for 2020 and 2021.
The 614 corporate businesses were asked what types of events would likely occur in 2020 and 2021. In 2020, only 14% of companies agreed to host hybrid events but in 2021 there was a steep rise of 42% of companies wanting to execute the hybrid event.
What is a hybrid event?
A hybrid event is simply a combination of live and virtual events. It is a smooth integration of technology that enables the virtual participation of the audience in a live event. Hybrid events may range from simple physical events with live streaming and Q&A elements to complex multi-faceted components like live-streams with breakout sessions, exhibition booths and interactive virtual and face-to-face networking sessions and managing thousands of participants.
Why are hybrid events becoming so popular in the corporate world?
There is no denying that hybrid events have been growing rapidly in the past couple of months. Listed below are key reasons why corporate businesses are moving on from physical events to hybrid events.
1. No Geographical Limitation
Hybrid events offer a unique opportunity to reach audiences around the globe, this also encourages the audiences to engage with the event and its content as well as join the event’s community. Virtual features like live audio and video chats, networking lounge, live Q&As and live polls demolish all the geographical impediments which further enables to approach people of all regions across the world and expand targeted audiences. Travelling distance requires a disproportionate amount of time and money, many interested parties might not think it’s worth the amount of time and effort to invest day(s) to travel and attend a live event. Hybrid events cater to all the audience needs by offering both live on the venue events for the people who prefer the in-person touch and virtual events for the people who want to attend an event from the comfort of their couches
2. No Time Restriction:
Adding a virtual element to the face to face event opens up many more engagement opportunities than would be possible at a strictly live event. The hybrid event offers live streaming sessions for speakers and virtual attendees. This feature offers to record these sessions and send them out after the event. So the people who couldn’t make it to these sessions or simply just want to rewatch and learn more can now engage with the content days or even weeks after the event is over. Another amazing feature provided by virtual platforms is pre-recorded video or content which allows multiple keynote speakers from different timezones to pre-record their segments at their own convenient time and play them back during the event. These sessions and other online resources can be stored in the library and can be marketed any time, offering organizers an opportunity to capitalize from their content whenever the right chance comes along.
3. Low accommodation and cost reduction:
Hybrid events help in reducing the cost for all parties i.e. keynote speakers, attendees, organizers and sponsors. From the organizers perspective, having unlimited virtual slots and limited physical seats, organizers can host big events while staying within budget. Organizers also do not have to make accommodation or arrangements for the chief guests or keynote speakers. This implies that hybrid events can be more profitable than physical or traditional events. From the attendee perspective, attendees who live far away from the event can save some cash by not booking a flight or hotel and by tuning to the event virtually.
4. More Sponsorships:
The popularity that the sponsors are able to derive from the hybrid events is more than ever. With the hybrid event, sponsors can be showcased in front of people in the live event and on the screen with virtual events, which gives them double the exposure they had before. This also attracts more sponsors to invest in the event that further adds more value to the event.
5. Environment friendly:
If there is any positive trend the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the events industry, it is the adoption of virtual event platforms as a viable alternative to in-person events. Hosting a hybrid event is undeniably a greener and more sustainable choice than everyone showing up to a physical venue. As compared to traditional events, hybrid events have a smaller amount of on-site attendees which directly means the lesser quantity of carbon emission. With the limited on-site attendees, there will be fewer food, cutleries and other materials are thrown away. Limited people travelling to attend the event in person will also create less energy and fuel consumption which ultimately leads to fewer carbon footprints. Not to mention with fewer people attending the event from the physical venue implementing measures for maintaining social distancing and sanitation standards becomes easier.