Let’s admit to the human fact that after the novel coronavirus struck many professionals, event planners have seen a disruptive and subtle change to the industry. No doubt, it was a major challenge for businesses to host their events in-person. However, with the advancement of technology and virtual event software platforms organizations are now able to connect with the world even during the pandemic crisis.
As time approaches, hybrid events are gradually restoring. Today, you can pivot your on-ground events to virtual events and get the work done. Hybrid events can serve various purposes and benefits to you and your attendee. Hybrid events platforms are going to be the backbone of the industry. So, let’s deep dive into the world of hybrid events for a more in-depth look into the future of this emerging trend of 2021.
What is a hybrid event?
To put it simply, hybrid events are basically a blend of in-person and virtual online components conducted in a visually rich environment. You can host seminars, conferences, trade shows, submits, and more on a exuberant virtual platform.
Flexibility is an important feature of the hybrid events. Hybrid events bring together virtual as well as physical attendees and thus make the propagation efficient. However, hybrid virtual events allow the audience to network and connect with each other in real-time via live chats, audio/video calls.
Hybrid events enable prospects to take part in the event irrespective of wherever they are situated. Speakers, attendees, and organisers benefit from hybrid events because of unlimited possibilities.
The gap between the virtual platform and traditional platform has persisted since the dawn of virtual events. However, since the introduction of hybrid event this gap can be bridged irrespective of the type of the event such as conference, concert, or tradeshow.
You can convert any event into a hybrid event format right from formal to informal events for better reach and other potential benefits. It gives great opportunity in respect to increased attendance and greater ROI. The opportunities offered by hybrid events are endless. Choosing a unique, interactive, and engaging hybrid event platform that offers brilliant hybrid event services is mandatory. Hybrid events offer massive opportunities to increase attendance and in turn yield a greater ROI. The opportunities have no limitations. Picking the perfect platform for your event which is unique, interactive, and engaging is an important step, better service by the platform is a mandatory feature.
How is the event industry-shaping?
1) More innovative ways for delegates to engage
Even though the beginning of the global pandemic saw events pivot to the virtual world, there wasn’t a huge desire for all the whistles and bells that we now see on many virtual events. It was a miracle to even be able to hear what the other person said in a video call in the beginning!
But as the weeks in lockdown turned into months, the focus on the virtual components being user-friendly, professional, and above all else, engaging quickly moved up to the top of the wish list for many event professionals.
With a virtual platform, it is a difficult task to engage the audience as most of the audience is used to the traditional event. At a physical event, attendees stay better engaged because they are experiencing the event first-hand, surrounded by like-minded individuals. From the surge of the virtual event in 2020, we learn that in a virtual event we must focus more on keeping the audience engaged. Short-duration quality events are expected to yield better results. Mankind has always learned by experimenting and for the event industry it is not going to change, we will experience new experimentation in 2021 to ensure the maximum number of attendees are engaged in the event.
2) More Breaks
It turns out that taking part in an online event is very different than attending the event in-person. Traditional events offer immense mobility during the event which is not the case with hybrid and virtual events. During virtual and hybrid events, the scenario will be relatively more chaotic as multiple talks are going on at once. Attendees’ attention span may drain in the process of keeping everything in check. Experienced persons who have attended long sessions of virtual conferences may agree with this.
The duration of the event should be balanced, it shouldn’t be too much nor too little. If it is too much, then the audience may get bored; however if it’s too less the audience may get disappointed. Include breaks that offers the audience a chance to catch up with the content and interact with attendees. Having an option to do something during the break is never a bad idea. Some of the options you may provide during breaks are:
Networking, Q&A sessions with the speaker, icebreakers, performances, music, comedy, dance, etc., to keep the audience engaged. These are some of the important elements of an event that the host should look out for in 2021.
3) Make your event not only bigger but bolder.
The idea of attending virtual events is slowly deteriorating, it may take some convincing for the attendees to keep attending the event. A solid content/speaker schedule is what people need to have their interest piqued, but just listening to someone talk whilst sitting in front of their laptop screen for the 30th time isn’t going to cut it anymore.
With every year the expectation rises, organisers will have to be more creative this year for a new audience to show up.
For any event, having the correct set of technology is a must, not having proper technology may invite unforeseen consequences and make your event inefficient.
The technology has advanced significantly which has enhanced the ability to provide service and products. Such services are constantly updating and upgrading while simultaneously providing an opportunity to focus on the content and therefore engage the audience.
4) Much broader reach in terms of marketing
Since a virtual or a hybrid event takes place over the internet, anyone from anywhere in the world can attend the event. This means the audience is significantly more diverse. Having an international audience is a blessing for events and thus it is important to keep them engaged. Attending the event online is a far more practical approach by the attendees as well.
Access to a fair amount of marketing budget will also help you reach and engage the international audience. Plan the budget accordingly as the expectations for hybrid and virtual events are rising in 2021.
Due to such an increased audience reach, hybrid and virtual events have immense potential and almost infinite scaling opportunities.
5) VR Hybrid Events
Since the shift of trend to virtual events, we have observed a lot of progress in the field. Technology is advancing which provides us almost unlimited options to make the events even more engaging. One such option is to introduce virtual reality. Live streaming with 360-degree virtual reality may seem like a dream but is closer than it appears to be.
An immersive experience can be delivered with VR, a chance to feel like they are in the action. Virtual reality may also fill the gap that persists between traditional and virtual events. The more interacting features we introduce for the attendees the more probability for the event to be a success.
HYBRID EVENTS IN 2021- CONCLUSION
2020 has been an eventful year for virtual events, though the future is always uncertain it appears that virtual and hybrid events are the next go-to choice in the year 2021. We think virtual and hybrid events are here to stay, and these emerging trends are just the beginning. If you still haven’t hosted a hybrid event yet! Now is the time! Take your event virtual with these trends and make your way to 2021!