After the pandemic, virtual events became the default. Now that society is transitioning back to normal, it brings the nature of events into the question: should companies go back to fully in-person or stick with virtual? It seems the answer may lie somewhere in the middle with the rise in popularity of hybrid events.
According to a survey conducted by Statista, 40% of marketers worldwide predict their events will continue to be virtual in 2022, while 35% predict their events will be hybrid. This is an increased interest in virtual events from 2020, when only 35% of marketers wanted to continue having events during the pandemic.
Distribution of marketing events worldwide in 2020 and 2022, by type
Image Source: Statista
These numbers show that hybrid events have not gone away, and will likely continue to be the norm throughout the years. It’s important for your company to be prepared to adjust its own events to a hybrid atmosphere. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits that hybrid events can bring.
The Benefits of Hybrid Events
Even though full-blown in-person events may have transitioned to hybrid, that doesn’t mean that they diminished in value. Many companies have made the switch to hybrid events and have seen the following benefits:
As most discovered during the pandemic, rescheduling in-person events can easily become a hassle. Not only do you need to ensure that your venue is still available, but you need to inform your attendees of the change, go through the process of refunding if they can no longer attend, and reschedule other vendors, amongst many other variables. Hybrid and virtual events have much fewer moving parts, and the dates can be shifted or rescheduled easily.
Detailed Analytics and Feedback
Manually gathering the analytics from a live event can be a long and tedious process. If your event happens on a digital platform, insights are automatically collected and organized for you. You’ll be able to see a wide array of analytics, including daily attendance, average presentation watch time, audience engagement, and more to gain a comprehensive view of the value your event brings. This data can seamlessly integrate with your CRM and marketing databases to have a full report on your event’s ROI.
Additionally, this makes it easier for organizations to prompt feedback from attendees. Sending out a quick text reminder or email to complete a post-event survey can be key in improving events for next year.
Planning any kind of event is going to take up a large budget. Between the venue, food and drink, and sending out invitations, in-person events can quickly rack up a hefty cost. Turning your event virtual can dramatically reduce these costs — sometimes even cutting them altogether! If your event is hybrid, you have the potential to rent a smaller venue and cut back on food and drink services with fewer in-person attendees, while still providing quality activities throughout the day.
Additionally, digital events significantly reduce the number of staff members you will need present to keep your event up and running. Instead of hiring a fleet of onsite employees, you may only need a handful of volunteers, as well as a tech team to keep the digital side of your event running smoothly. This can reduce the cost of manual labor and provide a stronger team experience.
Positive Environmental Impacts
Tying into the point above, a hybrid event can be more environmentally friendly. With no physical marketing collateral, less travel, and reduced waste including leftover swag bags, lanyards, and paper, your event will have far less of an impact on the environment. The metrics of this can even be monitored and shared with your attendees to better promote your company’s mission to the environment, if applicable.
Increased Marketability and Personalization
In-person-only events are really only marketable to those who are in the geographical area. Switching to a virtual or hybrid environment opens the door for many more attendees to participate. With a virtual event, you can reach potential guests from around the world — not just those in your timezone — as well as those who may not be able to travel due to work or parental responsibilities. Attendees will get the benefit of tuning in from the comfort of their own home, while you get the benefit of reaching a wider audience.
Digital can even take digital events one step further through personalization. Creating an attendee category and gathering unique information to personalize the event through technology can increase happiness and engagement across your digital audience.
Generate Stronger Leads
Hybrid events can help maximize your event’s revenue potential by opening the doors to additional advertising opportunities. A digital platform can enable new sponsorship opportunities throughout your event’s lifecycle that might not have been available before. Through email campaigns, advertisement at the digital registration, and facilitating quality conversations with vendors through virtual breakout booths, a virtual environment can integrate opportunities for your attendees to connect to vendors in a unique and natural way.
Power Virtual and Hybrid with One Platform
Now that you’ve seen the benefits of hybrid events, it’s time to begin planning your own. When you begin your planning process, it’s vital that you choose a platform that can support you on all avenues. Aventri can help streamline your planning process, increase brand awareness, and help you make informed, data-driven decisions for your events. Schedule your demo to see how you can get a jumpstart on your journey to better events.