Our world is changing. And so are events.
In-person events have typically been the go-to approach for organizations to generate revenue and provide learning and networking opportunities for attendees. In recent years, virtual events became more popular as a convenient way for organizations to offer learning opportunities to attendees who could not attend in person due to budget or schedule constraints. Then, virtual events became essential as many organizations used them to replace planned in-person events that were not possible due to global health concerns.
Today, many organizations are combining the best of in-person and virtual worlds by offering hybrid events.
Here are three great reasons for your organization to offer hybrid events:
- Event attendee preferences and expectations are shifting. People recognize the benefits of in-person events: the high energy, the face-to-face networking opportunities, and the opportunity to unplug from daily work to focus on learning. At the same time, virtual events have become attractive to attendees because they offer the chance to learn and network when budgets and schedules won’t allow for in-person attendance. This paradigm is showing up in attendee preferences and expectations. For example, an association industry study from Community Brands shows that a majority of members of professional membership associations have been engaging with their organization virtually and expect to continue. Members who have become more involved have done so because their organization is offering more online resources. Even members who used to engage more or entirely in person now say they will be moving toward a balance of in-person and virtual engagement.
The bottom line is that not everyone in your target market will be able to attend your in-person events due to scheduling conflicts, budget restrictions, and/or health concerns. By offering an online option to attend your events, you remove these barriers and reach more people.
- Hybrid events offer a greater return on investment and potential cost savings. Just because someone can't attend your in-person gathering doesn't mean they won’t value the content you've prepared. You can sell virtual access to your conferences for a discounted price, boosting event return on investment along the way. You can also use recorded keynote and session recordings as paid content offerings in the future, which can help you get more mileage out of dollars spent on content generation. Plus, expanding your reach to more attendees gives your sponsors more exposure, making them happier and more likely to return for future events. Hybrid events offer potential cost savings, too. With fewer in-person attendees, expenses such as food and space rental fees drop. You can use those savings to accommodate the cost of a hybrid event platform and in-person technology.
- Hybrid events give you actionable data. An important aspect of hosting events is being able to understand what works and what needs improvement. By successfully tracking the attendance of in-person guests, as well as seeing the interactions, interests, and behavior of virtual attendees, you can plan future events with the knowledge of what works best in both worlds. It’s a highly valuable tool to help your organization continue to boost engagement and give attendees an overall great experience.
While hybrid events offer tremendous potential value for organizations, they do take a different kind of planning and approach than all-onsite or all-online events. The good news is that with the right tools and strategies, you can host successful hybrid events.
Pathable by Community Brands offers a comprehensive event management platform to help you deliver effective hybrid events – from beginning to end. The platform supports a rich, interactive experience for attendees, speakers, and sponsors. As a partner, Pathable provides multiple solutions for your organization’s specific needs. With tech assistance every step of the way, you’ll be able to focus more on planning and promoting your hybrid events so you can deliver an engaging experience that delights attendees.
Learn more about how to create effective hybrid events: Read The 4 Key Elements for Hosting a Hybrid Event, a downloadable guide that breaks down the vital components to keep your audience engaged.