Table of Contents

Virtual vs. Hybrid Events
Benefits of Hybrid Events
How Do You Run a Hybrid Event?
How Do You Promote Your Hybrid Event?
Hybrid Event – Pros & Cons 

We’re done with more than half of 2021. You’re probably thinking of hosting a hybrid event by now. But one of your colleagues is not convinced (preposterous, we know). They ask you “why?”. Why are you going for a hybrid event? This is where you show them this and tell them about the benefits of hybrid events and all the opportunities they open up for your organization. 

Before we completely mesmerize you with the benefits of hybrid events let’s discuss how hybrid events are different from virtual events. 

Virtual vs. Hybrid Events

Virtual Events 

Virtual events are held completely online. They help you reach a global audience, plus provide an innovative and immersive experience to the incoming audience. All that is possible in a physical venue is easily made available in a virtual setting. For example: 

  • Webinars, presentations, and breakout sessions 
  • All networking activities and conversations between attendees and exhibitors 
  • Product displays

However, they do offer more than an in-person event. Since the event is online, a ton of resources, videos and other content is easily available to the attendees. This content is accessible for a longer period of time and can be saved and downloaded by participants for later use. 

Hybrid Events 

Hybrid events, on the other hand, are the best of both worlds. Some aspects of the event are hosted in a physical location and are broadcast out to a virtual audience. However, the online environment allows you to:

  • host more exhibitors and attendees than the physical space would allow
  • gamify your events through digital scavenger hunts, leaderboards, trivia, and more 
  • offer greater flexibility for the audience, and
  • invite top-tier speakers to present remotely.

Additionally, with the flexibility of hybrid events, in-person and virtual events can take place at the same time or even sequentially. The choice is up to you as the organizer and host. There is even more flexibility in terms of how you want the audience to connect, how you want exhibitors to participate and how your attendees can network with one another in addition to how the content will be made available. Hybrid events have many dimensions and all are there to help you choose the best fit for your organization. 

How do they benefit your organization? And again, circling back to your colleagues’ question: “why host hybrid events?”. Here is where you will commit the following to memory and tell them exactly why your organization should be hosting hybrid events. 

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Benefits of Hybrid Events

1. Best of Both Worlds 

Hybrid events offer the best of both in-person and virtual events. With both these worlds combined, audiences can experience social interaction while also accessing the virtual platform where you can host even more content, conduct games and activities in addition to creating cross-networking opportunities. 

2. Extended Reach 

The onsite event has audiences coming in already, however, there is a greater influx of audiences which are joining in from various parts of the world in the virtual event. Their geographical location no longer hinders them from participating.  

Those comfortable with the physical event can participate on-ground while those unable to travel to the physical location, or prefer to attend from their homes can participate virtually. 

Moreover, not everyone will be able to attend the event due to venue capacity, scheduling conflicts, or budget restrictions. In such cases, the virtual event comes to their rescue. 

All this contributes to increasing the reach of your hybrid event. 

3. Increased Exposure for Sponsors 

With the increased reach promised by a hybrid event, sponsors will also benefit. They get extra exposure for their brand, on not just one platform but two, one of which is more long-lasting. Who can guess which platform we are talking about? Virtual, of course. 

With flexible tiered sponsorship packages, there is an opportunity to offer visibility both virtually and in person. Pairing cross-media brand visibility with the ability to connect with virtual and in-person attendees increases potential reach and value for sponsors. 

A few popular options you can offer sponsors are: 

  • exhibiting at your in-person or online trade show,
  • showcasing their brand through in-person and digital signage placement,
  • hosting presentations, webinars or panels,
  • Conducting breakout sessions or workshops, and
  • Including a branded swag item in your event gift bag. 

epiczero virtual lobby

Even the opportunities on where and how sponsors can place their brands or push their products increases with both the audiences, as you can see above. Who wouldn’t want that additional traction, right? 

4. Reduced Travel Costs 

In case your organization or your exhibitors are bearing the cost of audiences traveling to your hybrid event, this is a relatively pocket-friendly option for them. The in-person event will still have limitations on capacity and the number of people it can house, thus helping reduce the travel costs incurred by exhibitors and hosts etc. 

5. Easy on the Environment 

Hybrid events reduce the overall number of people present at the actual physical location. A scaled-down physical event inevitably reduces the carbon footprint and wastage of resources. 

With fewer people attending from out of town and content being hosted online, we see that:

  • less transportation is required,  
  • fewer printed resources are needed, and
  • food waste is reduced. 

Overall, hybrid events are easier on the environment while still allowing you to scale a physical event. 

6. Higher Engagement 

With hybrid events, networking doesn’t just take place in person. You have audiences joining in remotely from various locations. A steady A/V system is the only requirement for a live stream. To keep them engaged with presentations, your online attendees can: 

  • join in the ongoing breakout sessions,  
  • participate in live Q&A sessions, and 
  • vote on live polls. 

on campus / off campus living

When they send in their questions, the moderator answers them live. Hence, engaging your online and on-ground audiences in live webinars simultaneously. There can be separate areas for in-person meetings, and another dedicated for cross networking between live and online audiences. 

7. Flexibility for Exhibitors/Speakers

By this time we’re sure you know flexibility is the middle name for hybrid events. 

Just as audiences can join in from any part of the world, speakers can also be a part of the event easily from wherever they are based. They don’t have to fly in and be physically present. This saves them time and cost, while still being able to participate in your event. 

Similarly for exhibitors, if they are unable to exhibit in person, they can set up their virtual booth in the virtual exhibit hall. They will not have to forego the experience just because they are not able to attend the event physically. 

Auditorium in hybrid events

8. Seamless Networking

Virtual attendees have live audio, video and text chat tools at their disposal. 

They can use these to connect with exhibitors and even fellow attendees. Moreover, you can build chat rooms where participants from the in-person event can connect with online participants. The virtual platform lets all your attendees:

  • search attendees and exhibitors within the event,
  • review suggested users to connect with based on their interests,
  • ask questions and chat with you, your exhibitors or other attendees,
  • create or join group chat rooms focused on a specific topic,
  • request and schedule meetings, 
  • run group or 1:1 audio or video calls, and
  • share files right from their device. 

If your in-person audience also has access to the virtual event, they can easily enjoy all these benefits. They can cross-network, virtual to physical or network and connect with the audience on their respective platforms. 

9. Readily Available Reports & Analytics 

Hybrid events offer a greater return on investment (ROI) due to the increased reach and scalability of the event. More attendance, more views for sponsors and more sign-ups. This also directly translates to increased lead generation for exhibitors. 

You get access to data that an in-person event cannot collect. At in-person events, you can track the number of attendees, attendance rates, and maybe the number of people who attended particular sessions. 

Hybrid events allow great insights into your audience’s behavior patterns and interests. Specifically for people joining virtually, hosts can easily track their digital footprints, helping them gain a greater understanding of their participants. 

event dashboard hybrid events

10. On-demand Content

With an in-person event, your exhibitors have to print out resources. Time and money is spent on designing and printing numerous flyers, brochures and guides, etc. And most of it goes missing under a huge stack of papers on the office desk. 

However, online all content is available to view, download and print at any time. Your attendees can save the resources to their devices. You can even email this content to attendees, and non-attendees after the event. 

This includes saving, downloading or transferring video content that is not tangibly delivered to the audience in live events. Additionally, live presentations can easily be recorded and repurposed for further use after the event ends. 

Now how will you run your hybrid event? Knowing the benefits of hybrid events is only enough to convince you and your colleagues that they must be pursued. But how will you plan and execute your event? 

vFairs has you covered. There’s more to help you run your hybrid event. So keep scrolling. 

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How Do You Run a Hybrid Event?

Hosting a hybrid event is easy given that you have a hands-on virtual platform provider taking care of all aspects of your event, plus a dedicated onsite team ensuring a seamless experience for the attendees. Here is your checklist on how to host a hybrid event: 

  1. Set your goals for the event, outline key performance indicators (KPIs).
  2. Choose a virtual event platform provider. 
  3. Choose the onsite event provider.*
  4. Outline speaker sessions, create schedules and invite respective speakers for the event (remote and in-person alike).
  5. Create content for your landing page, exhibitor booths, or any guides, agendas or notes you want the incoming audience to have. 
  6. Actively promote on social media channels to get a large reach for your event, and leverage email marketing to promote to highly engaged audiences. 
  7. Connect with your virtual platform provider and the project management team to go through the event, test all aspects of the team to ensure there aren’t any last-minute glitches. 

Now comes promotion. Here we are explaining the best way to promote your hybrid event. So yes, you know what to do: keep scrolling through. 

How Do You Promote Your Hybrid Event?

1. Start With An Attractive Landing Page 

First, you’ll need a destination for your attendees. Where will they come to sign up for the event?

A landing page serves this purpose. It also offers a registration form for people to sign up for the event. But a registration form that offers a little clue of what to expect won’t convert. 

What you need is a killer eye-catching landing page that hooks in the reader and makes them hit the register button instantly. 

Here’s how you can do that:

  1. Design a landing page with captivating visuals and even event pictures.
  2. Provide event details, such as when the event is, who is it for, and what will it cover.
  3. Add a short, easy-to-fill registration form. Ask only what’s necessary!
  4. Use a persuasive call to action. 
  5. Optimize for keywords that represent your event and its location, such as ‘Motorhome trade show Austin’ to increase visibility in search.

2. Promote Speakers 

Nothing pulls audiences to events better than an influential speaker lineup. After all, most attendees show up for events for the speaker sessions. For this reason, showcasing your speakers is a great way to increase your event’s pull. Add clear pictures and credentials to provide context. Not just on your event landing page but other promotional channels as well including social media and emails. 

hybrid events panel discussion

3. Amplify Your Event on Social Media 

Social media offers a personal and often two-way communication with your audience. Start capitalizing on this by ramping up your social media marketing to put your event front and center. 

  • Post every few days to reveal more details about your event. 
  • Share the agenda, speaker details, testimonials from past attendees. 
  • Bring special focus on the benefits of attending, such as making connections, networking with industry experts, and even getting event swag!
  • Use a hashtag, to pull the conversation together and make it easier for your prospects to learn more about you. 
  • Design banners for all your socials (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) to bring more attention to your hybrid event. Make sure that the banners are customized for each platform that you use.

4. Create Teaser Videos

Create promotional videos for your event. Start by dropping teaser videos, and delve into greater detail regarding your event. Engage exhibitors, speakers, hosts and other stakeholders to project the face of your hybrid event. 

Show snippets of the venue and videos of past events if any to help give new followers a feel of what to expect. Offer insider information and build anticipation for your event through your video content. 

5. Use Pop-Ups

It’s also important to market to prospects that are landing on other pages on your website. Use pop-ups to make sure that new and returning visitors to your site learn about the event. You can also use a sticky bar at the top of your page with a CTA that takes users to the event landing page. 

You can also sign up your prospects directly from the sticky bar if you add a form field to it. This helps speed up the process and makes it easier for people to sign up in seconds. 

6. Issue a Press Release

Another great way to get the word out is to create waves with a press release. Submit it to press release platforms such as PRNewswire and wait for it to get picked up by hundreds of other publications, ultimately multiplying your reach.

7. Send email updates

Email marketing is a gold mine for event marketers. Make use of email marketing for events and send out email blasts to your email list. These should provide details of the event and instructions for registering. You’ll also need to send reminders as you near the event so you can stay top of mind. 

in-built marketing

Hold on. We are just about done. To effectively make your case for hosting hybrid events you must know both sides. Just the benefits of hybrid events were not enough. Here is a quick round-up of the pros and cons of hybrid events

Hybrid Event – Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Increased attendance capability
  • Eco-friendly – they have a reduced impact on the environment
  • Powerful sponsor opportunities
  • Higher audience engagement
  • Valuable data and insights into attendee behavior

Cons

  • Hosting an in-person and virtual event simultaneously could be complex 
  • Sponsors may need extra guidance
  • Additional coordination & engagement requirements
  • Potential connectivity & technology issues 
  • Change is always challenging – convincing attendees, exhibitors, speakers and all other stakeholders about the benefits of hybrid events might be a difficult task

Final Thoughts

So now when your colleague asks you why you should host a hybrid event, here is a well-rounded speech for you. The benefits of hybrid events are undeniable. Added to that you now have a fair knowledge of running and promoting them as well. So what’s stopping you now? Come on! Hit the button below. 

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