In retrospect, the hosting of events was through in-person sessions involving participants availing into conference halls and meeting rooms. Today, it’s only become an option, with the new and convenient virtual conferencing becoming the norm. Better yet, it’s still possible to have both happening concurrently, constituting hybrid events.
According to studies, meeting planning experts estimate that hybrid events now constitute more than 47% of all meetings held over the decade. Key to this popularity is due to the escalated need to digitise event hosting, which bids well with most millennials and the generation. Besides, recent events brought the need for hybrid event hosting to the forefront. This article provides insight into the benefits of hybrid events and how they’re likely to impact future meetings.
Understanding hybrid events and their impact on future meetings
Hybrid event hosting is only a recent idea that’s racked up massive popularity due to its versatility and flexibility recently. It’s helped work against busy schedules and counter inconvenience for participants who cannot physically show up in meetings. It merges both in-person and virtual conferencing, allowing remote audiences to follow live events from wherever they are.
However, it’d be biassing not to acknowledge the hand of technology in driving the massive hybrid events’ success over the years. According to statistics, marginally above 70% of event organisers will potentially turn to hybrid events from 2022 and beyond. That stamps their downright importance and their overall impact on future meetings.
Benefits of Hybrid Events
Although all forms of meetings have varied benefits, hybrid meetings carry the day. Given the hybrid events’ incredible versatility and convenience, it’s now become less of a problem missing out on in-person meetings. Participants can still tag along virtually, which works best when access and reach are short. Here are the benefits of hybrid events.
1. Enhanced flexibility
As an event organiser, it’s pretty straightforward setting up an in-person meeting and getting people to attend. However, that can present a fair share of challenges to attendees, given the numerous disruptions or unavoidable circumstances they’re likely to face. The pandemic that’s already happened recently is one reason, yet other disruptive events or personal circumstances can still play a part. Hybrid events give your participants the freedom to choose which best suits them, offering much-needed flexibility. This flexibility, therefore, makes it more convenient and more possible for participants to attend your meeting regardless of their position.
2. Increased attendance and reach
The idea of hosting a virtual event alone might lock out participants who don’t have access to the internet or are way back with the grips of technology. Conversely, exclusive in-house events can be inconvenient to some people due to physical disruptions or inevitable circumstances. Therefore, having both options available provides a perfect combo to fall back to, which allows every participant to attend. In addition, in-person meetings have a limited attendance capacity that locks out other attendees intending to participate or contribute. A hybrid event would, without a doubt, fill your house to the brim since the incorporated virtual conferencing can hold a larger capacity.
3. Less expensive
Imagine splashing out cash for all meetings miscellaneous, including drinks, entertainment, and lunch? If you’re working on a budget, a perfect in-person meeting can be challenging to come by, and besides, you may end up having a less productive event. If your event requires a venue, finding a low capacity and less expensive one for the few in-person attendees can work best for you. That’ll save you the extra costs and perhaps, the time and effort required to host a hybrid event. Virtual attendees can tag along remotely, which can waiver the costs you’re mandated to cater for if it’s a massive capacity.
4. Easy data collection
Data collection is an integral part of getting essential feedback, suggestions, or insights into topics in event hosting. And while it’s entirely achievable in in-person and virtual events separately, it’d be much more efficient when you had a perfect combo of both. Direct interactions with event participants may not yield much fruit since some may hold back vital information. And while virtual exchanges offer the participants the freedom to express themselves boldly, some may still find physical interactions much better. Therefore, hybrid events provide a ‘jack of all trades’ option, allowing everyone to find their ideal avenue of expression.
5. Sponsorship opportunities
Event sponsors are becoming more endeared to hybrid events since it allows them to participate remotely, offering them the ‘in-person’ feeling. Besides, these events usually amass a large following and rack up huge attendances, reaching out to more significant audiences. Sponsors love swimming in such vast pools and can offer leeway for them to partner with you.
6. Safety and peace of mind
The future is always uncertain, and the past has shown its darker glimpses of doubt as far as in-person meetings are concerned. And while the dust seems to be settling now, it’s provided valuable insight into how safe and peaceful hosting hybrid events are. Although in-person events are regaining their traction, their stark importance and reliability are slowly fading away. Therefore, fusing them with virtual conferencing guarantees the most concerned participants’ safety and peace of mind.
7. Improves return on investment
If you’re in the event marketing business, reaching out to larger audiences and sponsors should be a no-brainer. Remember, events require vast stacks of cash to plan and organise, and there should have an intrinsic value attached to its output. If it’s about relaying a themed message to participants, it’ll help if the event reaches the maximum targeted audience. Also, if it’s an event to market a product or company at a trade fair, reaching wider audiences should be the most significant aim. That’ll help counter the event planning costs and guarantee higher investment returns.
Hybrid event hosting is a recent realisation that seeks to shape the event hosting space. Its flexibility and convenience have led to it swooning massive popularity worldwide and is sure to remain a long-standing option into the future. Furthermore, its utmost benefits are unbounded, from providing umpteen sponsorship opportunities and improved audience engagement to offering a much-needed peace of mind. Hopefully, more event organisers will adopt it and make it more popular worldwide.