In the past, large business meetings, trade shows, exhibitions and conferences were always held in-person, no questions asked. It was the only way to properly engage with clients, customers, potential customers or for companies to achieve team-building opportunities. Everything has changed immensely since the Covid-19 pandemic. Due to safety measures and people generally having a fear of large crowds, companies had to come to a simple, yet efficient solution; it required implementation of virtual events.
Going fully online has proved to be sufficient for the time being, however it chipped away from people’s enthusiasm as people are seeking an opportunity to bond and to work on their relationships as business opportunities. This is where Virtual Event Platforms come to the picture and provide unique opportunities to engage your company with potential customers or employees in a way that will specifically be adjusted to your needs and wants.
Businesses value the hybrid format; the format saves a lot of resources since events are on-site and available on online platforms. It is more affordable and companies do not have to worry about many venue searches, negotiations, organization or other utilities as before. Enterprises are keener on having a way of making their employees and customers feel engaged and satisfied, but also to save resources and invest those resources in other projects. Virtual Event Platforms are purposed for engagement of participants and at the same time they offer proper cost savings and time-management. Most Virtual Event Platforms take on the burden on themselves to take care of the pre-event technicalities, they provide IT support during the event and also after the event support.
AVIANET has a solution that meets the best of both worlds. We provide our customers Virtual Event Platforms that can be used in various ways and can be customized according to their specific needs. Each customer is unique, so each hybrid event must have its own agenda and mission. The uniqueness of hybrid events is that they are a combination of online and in-person elements. This way, people have a choice to attend an event in-person or to join online. Covid-19 was a difficult situation for all of us and by providing hybrid events, it shows that you care about your employees, customers, attendees and potential customers because you give them an opportunity of choice. If for some reason, people cannot attend the event online or in-person, one of the features provides the opportunity to record the event so it can be watched later at any time. The convenience of going hybrid has many merits and below we will discuss some of them to help you understand hybrid events even more. Of course, AVIANET will be there to guide you through your process of planning an event and give you further assistance and clarifications when needed.
Going hybrid is a rising trend in the business world and Virtual Event Platforms are going be your stepping stone to guide you through this trend and to help you succeed. Your success might encourage other companies toward this direction and you can be considered as a pioneer in your field. Embrace all the advantages that hybrid offers and create something unique in today’s professional world.
Types of hybrid events:
Hybrid events can be internal or external:
Internal hybrid events bring value to company’s internal stakeholders. Internal stakeholders consist of employees, staff, investors, suppliers, leaders and more. Essentially, anyone that brings value to the company from an internal point of view. For most companies it is impossible to have an in-person event where every stakeholder will be present and included in the meeting. This is the biggest reason to go hybrid and to easily connect with every member of the team, strategize and discus important topics. By going hybrid, companies pick a venue where the meeting will be held live, but they also stream the event online for the rest of the participants that could not attend in-person. Examples of those events are larger team meetings, company spirit weeks, conferences or trade shows. Hybrid events can be a perfect way to incorporate every stakeholder and to give everyone an equal opportunity to engage. Even if someone does not have the opportunity to attend in-person with Virtual Event Platforms they can engage just as much as anyone attending in-person. For example the online audience can ask questions, do polls, download materials or chat.
External hybrid events are applicable for your current and potential customers, clients or prospects. Hybrid events can introduce the company to a wider audience, provide more exposure, more online presence, increase the volume of people attending and at the same time benefit the environment immensely. Having the option of sustainability, flexibility and full customization the company can take their events to the next level. For example, some events that can use hybrid format are conferences, trade shows, product demonstrations and various customer meetings.
Succeeding with hybrid events:
We must distinguish some key elements that will help you to succeed in usage of hybrid events. First, you need to set common goals of hybrid events and gather all materials that you would like to use for your event. With Virtual Event Platforms support you can create a personalized hybrid event and create online and in-person attendee engagement. Virtual Event Platforms will help you implement your ideas, however for your event to be a success you must have engaging company content. It is essential for your virtual guests to be involved as much as your onsite guests. This is the reason why everyone must come prepared and content must be properly managed and adjusted to the target audience.
In order to attract as many people as possible to your hybrid event (because hybrid events are limitless) you need to be able to invest in hybrid event marketing. You can market your proposed event on social media to gain more exposure. You also have the opportunity to email all your registered guests, so they feel welcomed and engaged.
The overall goal of every hybrid event is to engage as many attendees as possible, no matter how they choose to participate. The proposed hybrid events allow attendees to network in-person, but also with the online community via video calls, chat, collection of business cards and private meeting sessions. This gives attendees the chance to be a more flexible with their time management and also to be efficient in pursuing common company goals. With this reduction to attendance barrier, the company can connect with a larger scale of attendees for much less resources involved.
Some events can have a hefty price tag to organize or they can simply not fit in one’s schedule, however, with the opportunity of hybrid events all attendees have the chance to attend the conference, meeting, trade show and more. Attendees are able to participate from other locations and at the same time provide value to your company. On the other hand, even if some attendees still can not be present the event, you can send them the event recording later and keep them updated.
Let’s not forget about your current and potential sponsors. Sponsors have the opportunity to reach your target audience virtually and to be present on a much larger scale. In this way, with a bigger outreach they will definitely be more willing to sponsor events, because it gives them the chance to gain more benefits and advantages.
Now, when goals are outlined, it is essential to make your hybrid event go as smoothly as possible. This means having a balance between the online and in-person elements. Content has to be delivered to both groups simultaneously, both groups have to feel equally valued. You want your in-person attendees to feel like they would usually feel at any in-person event, but at the same time properly include those that are joining online. There should be no activities that exclude one group or another. A tip to make the content more engaging for users online is to include virtual Q&As, live pools, leader boards, ratings or quizzes.
Another important thing to mention is the management of different time zones. Sometimes it can be difficult to schedule events and for those events to be available at the same time to all attendees across the whole world. The solution is to offer people that are joining online multiple time slots and to provide recordings of the events. In this way, online community can join when it is most convenient for them or watch recordings at their preferred time.
To wrap things up, it is essential to gather 4 main ingredients for a successful hybrid event which are: content, community, sponsorship and analytics. We touched upon each segment except analytics and those would be the after-event analytics that you need to take advantage of. While the event is occurring, you can keep track of your attendee’s engagement and participation. The chosen Virtual Event Platform will provide all your post-event information and you have the opportunity to understand what you can change about your future hybrid events and what would make your events even more successful.
Going hybrid offers growth potential, it provides more online presence, engagement and not to mention the fact that it proves that your company is evolving and keeping up to date.