The future of events is hybrid. Many have speculated on hybrid events, whether they will last, or whether they will just run their course once in-person events are back in full fervor. However, these hybrid event myths are just that. Myths. There is no truth to them.
To recap, hybrid events take place in both a virtual and physical setting, using a hybrid event platform. A conventional event is broadcast online for a virtual audience via live streaming, webinar broadcasting or setting up a virtual space that mirrors the physical event.
However, there is more to hybrid events than that. We are here to address all these issues plus shed some light on the hybrid events myths and misconceptions that are making the round.
Myth 1: A Hybrid Event Is Just A Live Stream
“Why would I live stream my event? It is not enough to convince me.”
Fact: I know why you might want to believe that, but it is simply not true. A hybrid event is not just live streaming your physical event out to your online audience. For starters, there are many different types of hybrid events. Not just one. Let’s see what these are.
In a lite hybrid event you can broadcast the live stream to the virtual platform. This allows online audiences to enjoy a fully branded immersive virtual experience. It also facilitates engagement for online and physical attendees via Q&A sessions, video chats and private chat rooms.
In a sequential hybrid event, you can host a virtual event on one day and a physical event on another. This helps you focus on one event at a time. Usually, organizers will host the live event first, and the virtual event after. Likewise, sponsors and exhibitors can make themselves available in-person first, and then online afterward. This is because the virtual event can be kept open for much longer than the live event without procuring any extra costs.
Lastly, a complex hybrid event facilitates a physical and virtual event at the same time. They can take place simultaneously. The complex hybrid model allows cross networking between the audience via mobile chat, polls, Q&A sessions and discussion boards. Organizers can choose what they show to their live and virtual audiences. Exhibitors may be able to host both an in-person and virtual booth. Presentations may be accessible to both audiences, or exclusive to one audience.
Like we previously discussed, there is more to hybrid events than just simple streaming and broadcasting to a virtual audience. Hybrid events grant flexibility to you as the host and allow you to capture a larger audience (but more on that later).
Myth 2: The Virtual Event Will Cannibalize Your In-Person Event
“My live event will suffer with the unnecessary distraction of virtual events.”
Fact: Omg! This one is actually funny, right? There is no truth to this whatsoever. Your virtual event will complement your in-person event, increasing your reach and facilitating networking.
Hybrid events have 5 dimensions to consider:
These dimensions help us understand how a virtual event ends up adding additional value to your in-person event. It gives you more power to mold your event the way you want to. For the sake of this hybrid event myth, let’s see how three of these five dimensions: time, audience and content in fact expand your opportunities rather than cannibalizing your event.
When hosting a hybrid event, bringing together audiences in a physical space and attracting participants virtually means the event can be flexible in terms of the timings. You can easily cater to different time zones, and both audiences can participate at the same time. It doesn’t even have to be at the same time, or run in parallel. Both events can run at different times, for a different number of days. This is the event type we referred to as hybrid sequential earlier.
You could run the event for a day, or for the entire year. The choice is yours, based on what you want to achieve with the event. Based on this, hosts can determine the type of event they will need to host.
The audience for your two events, again, can be different or the same. Your attendees who are present at the physical venue can be given access to the virtual event for additional information, features, virtual webinar sessions and engagement activities such as scavenger hunts etc. Hence, the audience is the same.
On the other hand, you can also have a completely different set of audiences for your two events. This would mean different content, activities and sessions for the two audiences based on their requirements.
While it may seem like having two events run at the same time could spread audiences’ attention too thin, it’s actually the opposite case. Careful planning will allow you to share value with your audience beyond what they might get when hosting just in-person or just virtually.
Moving on to content.
In-person events offer traditional marketing such as printed flyers. However, the virtual audience has content available to them which is not easily available to the physical audience. They can download product sheets, photos, videos, posters, brochures and more or they can email it to themselves via a virtual swag bag. If the physical audience has access to the virtual event, they can also save the content, and view it later at their own convenience.
We will touch on the other dimensions a little later in the article.
Myth 3: Hybrid Events Are Difficult To Plan And Execute
“These events are really hard to plan and out together. Who has the time and resources?”
Fact: Now who is talking here? Preposterous! Hybrid events are easiest to plan once you have an idea on how to organize them. Having a clear understanding of your objectives and your target audience will guide you in perfecting your hybrid events.
They are not complex or long. Let’s take you through the simple planning process of hybrid events. From the execution to the post-event analytics, a well-structured hybrid events planner will just help you breeze through. Here are some planning tips for you.
- Fine-tune the initial details; goals, KPIs, target audience, dates, budgets etc.
- List down all the activities you want to schedule, which also reflect your event goals.
- Define the target audience for both events.
- Get exhibitors on board, and see if they want to set up booths in person and online events.
- Outline the type of sessions you are hosting and confirm speakers’ availability.
- Design the virtual event platform and get in touch with the live event provider.
- Get your checklist ready for branding and marketing across both events.
- Collect event reports for the online event after the event is over.
Now this all may seem intimidating, but with the right hybrid events planner, you can take your organizational skills to the next level.
Myth 4: Sponsors Don’t Want to Invest in Hybrid Events
“I need to have a revenue stream with this event. That won’t happen because no one wants to sponsor hybrid events.”
Fact: Woah, I don’t even know who is coming up with this? I will just state facts here and let you decide from there. According to The State of Hybrid Events Report by vFairs, 72% of corporations are interested in sponsoring a hybrid event. Not just that, 73.1% event professionals are hosting a hybrid event in 2021, while almost 58% believe hybrid events will dominate the future.
Now these are just facts. But diving deeper, let us tell you why sponsors are more than willing to come on board your hybrid event, and how easily you’ll be able to monetize it.
Firstly, increased exposure. Your sponsors can not only place logos and other branding material in the physical event, but also in the live event. In addition to simple brand exposure, sponsors can host webinar sessions, or sponsor activities to get additional traction towards their brand.
Secondly, increased leads. With increased exposure and a global reach warranted by virtual events, sponsors stand to gain more leads.
With all this, why wouldn’t they want to invest in hybrid events? These benefits that your platform offers to sponsors create an easy way for you to monetize your event as well. Win-win!
Myth 5: It Is Impossible to Engage Attendees in Hybrid Events
“How will my audiences connect with one another? That can never be achieved”
Fact: Simply out, this is the most absurd thing ever. With the flexibility of hybrid events, they offer even more opportunities to engage both sets of audiences. You can facilitate networking or allow them to participate in ongoing activities.
When we say networking in a hybrid event, we’re referring to how the two different audiences will be interacting with one another — if at all. As the organizer, you might not want them to interact with each other depending on your goals. It is all dependent on the goals you want to achieve.
Interacting in real-time, your virtual audience could interact with the virtual audience only. The physical audience can engage with the physical audience. However, the two separate audiences can cross-network with one another. The physical audience with the virtual and vice versa. Moreover, both audiences can enjoy scavenger hunts, trivia, an interactive Q&A session with the speakers and fellow attendees.
This engagement is also multiplied with the use of a mobile event app, that helps people exchange contact information, discover and network with fellow attendees globally, browse through booths, resources, view webinars and so much more! The accessibility a mobile app connected to the hybrid event offers instantly boosts engagement, hooks in the audience and provides a
If you’re still believing these hybrid event myths which have no grounds, get in touch with vFairs. We will show you how these myths and misconceptions are not true at all.
Still Have Doubts?
Read Our Ultimate Guide to a Hybrid Event.