6 Reasons Hybrid Events Are Essential
Shared By Michael Itkoff
The global pandemic has forced a complete reevaluation of how to approach real world events. During 2020 every high occupancy in-person experience was either outright canceled or recalibrated with health and safety concerns prioritized. Hopefully, we have now turned a corner with regards to the pandemic, but the influence on the events industry will continue to be felt for years to come.
The truth is, in-person events have always had their own issues from weather dependency to the challenge of motivating attendees to travel and take part in scheduled activities at assigned times. With virtual and hybrid events, weather, travel and schedules do not detract from the event. In fact, there is tremendous opportunity to reach an even larger audience and continue to measure engagement in a more granular way with virtual and hybrid events.
Whether the Weather
Inclement weather is one of the most frustrating factors that may significantly impact the success of an in-person event. Even indoor events can have attendance hampered by a storm or bad weather as attendees are known to be less motivated to negotiate unsavory travel conditions. Hybrid and virtual events allow attendees to participate in activities, attend presentations and explore content from the comfort of their home.
One of the most cited reasons for missed events is that attendees were unable to travel on the day of the scheduled activity. This could be due to weather, car trouble, delayed public transit or other factors as simple as fear of not finding a parking space downtown. Events that feature a virtual or hybrid component can be made available for a greater number of people by cutting out the need for travel.
In an era where teams often work across multiple time-zones, holding events and presentations during specific times and locations can limit attendance. With virtual and hybrid events, content can be shared at any point during the event or, sometimes, remain available after the event ends. The benefit of keeping content 'alive' for engagement can allow both new and old audiences to continue to view and connect with your content long after the actual event is over.
Welcome to the Phygital World
As the world slowly opens back up people are hungry for shared experiences. While many people will be ready to attend events by the summer there are many more that will prefer not to take any risks - hybrid events embrace both audiences and encourage their participation. Marketers agree that starting in 2021 every in-person event will need a virtual component to take advantage of both sets of attendees.
Britelite uses VR for every stage of projects from concept to design to delivery. Here are some highlights of how Britelite has used VR for hybrid events.
The conference or event floor can be overwhelming. Outside of a stack of business cards and some swag it is often hard to think back and remember specific encounters with people or vendors. Introducing a virtual reality component to an event offers an opportunity to create a memory with a referenceable touchpoint. It is often easier to recall an amazing digital content piece that can also be accessed after the event or by remote attendees.
Visiting Artist Chelsea America took a leap into #VR with HTC VIVE, creating a stunning Flower Garden in #VR with #tiltbrush.
"It feels like I'm in infinity" - Chelsea America
Virtual and physical audiences should be able to mingle and make organic connections as if they were both attending a cocktail hour. In order to facilitate this both sets of attendees should be encouraged (or required) to create virtual avatars. The digital persona could mirror an in-person attendee’s progress on the conference floor and have interactions and engagements tracked automatically. This opens up the possibility of the conference, or individual vendor, offering deals and incentives after the event. For their part, remote attendees should be able to explore and connect with both virtual and in-person audiences and vendors. A virtual ‘lounge’ and or ‘VIP’ area will help enable the intermingling of both audiences.
Adding a virtual or remote component to an event can extend the lifetime value of your content by increasing its accessibility. Remote attendees will access this material to take part in the event and in-person audiences may also seek to continue their engagement after the fact via archived online content. Once built, the cost to continue to operate a website is negligible compared to the benefits of having an event that continues to engage and convert
Launching a successful hybrid event takes creative thinking, problem solving and quite a bit of technical prowess. If done properly, hybrid events create avenues of engagement, valuable experiences and provide information for both remote attendees and in-person audiences. The future may be unwritten but we believe that it will exist in both the real world and the virtual one.