According to market research it is clear that in-person events are likely to overtake virtual events in popularity by 2022, however that said offering a hybrid solution will be the most successful event model going forward.
With hybrid event models combining the option of having in-person attendees and virtual attendees are likely the most effective way to engage prospective clients and attendees.
This past week we’ve been fortunate enough to be part of a hybrid congress hosted in Cape Town consisting of 350 delegates attending the congress in-person and just as many joining the event virtually. With the current restrictions this was a well-planned event with a lot of logistics involved hosting attendees over 8 venues which included both live and overflow streaming venues, ensuring all protocols and regulations where followed throughout the congress.
It was interesting to see the large demand and interest of in-person attendees and those preferring to attend virtually; this is a clear indication that there is a high demand for hybrid events.
What is it like being involved with a hybrid event? On arrival all of the technical crew needed to go through the normal Covid screening process of having their temperature taken, sign in on the attendance register and get their access pass with their temperature reading on it and a reminder to regularly sanitize. Next came the load-in process and I can personally say this was an adjustment having to move around equipment while wearing a mask, with equipment having to move up or down two flights of stairs but we managed. During the entire load-in process it became a habit to sanitize regularly while handling equipment and to have enough social distancing between all the crew members.
The four-day event took place seamlessly with engaging discussions hosting both virtual and in-person guest speakers and also created an engaging platform during the Q&A sessions allowing everyone to raise their questions or opinions. This was the perfect platform as some of the guest speakers where unable to attend due to international travel restrictions.
Is there a future for hybrid events? The short answer is definitely!
One thing I would mention about hosting any hybrid event is to ensure you budget for the additional expenses that goes along with it. In order for a successful event to take place you are most likely going need additional equipment, more technical crew, access to a suitable venue hosting the number of attendees in accordance with Covid regulations, having a dedicated internet connection ensuring you can stream a quality program to the relevant platforms be it Facebook, Vimeo or Zoom to name a few. Remember whether your audience attends your event in-person or online, the experience needs to be seamless across all platforms. Ensure that you find ways to meet their expectations and keep them engaged.
With the increase in hybrid events being hosted it’s important to allow attendees to attend in-person or online with multiple ticketing options to suite different preferences. Everyone will not be able to or want to attend your event in-person meaning your business needs to provide flexible options for participants.
We are most certainly seeing more of the corporate events returning to the calendar in its new format. If you are a corporate events organizer or events planner; do not let the pandemic get the better of you! With proper planning your event can be a success too.
Let’s all rise again; one event at a time