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If you’re planning a major event (e.g. conference, trade show, job fair, etc.), the concept of hybrid events is worth knowing about. Think of them as a mashup between physical gatherings and virtual events.
As the world is getting more comfortable with the virus, there are a lot more ways to host events now. You can host limited attendees at your venue while offering at-home streams for those who can’t make it.
Hybrid events offer a win-win situation for event planners and attendees during these precarious times. They’re poised as the go-to strategy for future gatherings. 2023 will continue to showcase their potential. 62 percent of event planners say they will continue to accommodate a virtual audience once live events return, according to a survey by Event Manager Blog. Asynchronous hybrid events will also be huge in 2023.
Since the Omicron outbreak across the globe, the future of events has yet again shifted. The US, Canada, and Europe are already tightening travel restrictions. For this reason, hybrid events are still gaining momentum.
With that said, large gatherings are back in style in some places. Hybrid events are already picking up steam as the happy medium. Organizations are eager to bring people together again, and millions of people are eager to be there.
But to ensure the rest aren’t left out, and events are kept at safe capacities with increased safety measures, hybrid events are a sensible choice.
It feels like several lifetimes since the pandemic started. In that time, the events realm has already gone from complete gridlock, to virtual, and now to a mixture of virtual and hybrid.
Hybrid is not only the future — it’s already here and in style! A quick search of hybrid events reveals the variety of gatherings that have already happened this year and the many more being planned.
The hotel industry, for starters, is a significant adopter of the hybrid approach. Not only are certain hotel companies organizing hybrid events, but also hybrid meetings. These allow guests to take part in team sessions from their rooms or smaller spaces around the hotel, while other members can join in the actual conference rooms.
Some other examples of hybrid events:
There’s room for all types of organizations in the burgeoning hybrid event space, and it’s truly just getting started. Conferences, trade shows, job fairs, entertainment expos — you name it — will soon be spun into innovative events that combine the physical and the virtual.
A silver lining of this global pandemic, unquestionably, is the creativity that’s come out of it. Virtual events, and now hybrid events, are a prime example of this; organizers and exhibitors are turning lemons into lemonade at every corner, delivering memorable experiences and bringing people together for a shared purpose and mutual outcomes.
This fully modernized approach allows event planners to curate unique offerings for all types of audiences, both live at the venue and scattered around the globe. Organizers can offer perks for those joining remotely (e.g. contests, bonus content) while maintaining the feel of a live event — and perhaps improving it due to lower capacity. (e.g. Shorter bathroom lines!)
Although reducing in-person attendance, hybrid events open the door for thousands more to take part from home. Along with the potential for larger overall attendance, this virtual accessibility allows for further reach to people in different regions. While you host a physical gathering in, say, the UK, you can stream and encourage interaction with visitors from Canada, Australia, Asia — you name it.
A scaled-down physical attendance can also translate to a more eco-friendly event, with lower carbon emissions and waste being produced. This is a fact you can promote to your target audience and customers, which may help drive interest and brand engagement.
The events industry has been changing since 2020 as much, if not more than, any other space. Almost overnight, thousands of costly, anticipated events were forced to be canceled or rethought. Just like with remote work, though, the crisis may be a catalyst for overdue positive changes in how we approach events.
A hybrid event style may be a long-term solution that unites event purists and forward-thinkers alike. Either way, the coming months will be a real test, as organizers and attendees across the world experience hybrid events for themselves.
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