The most popular event models that gained traction during the pandemic are virtual are hybrid events. When in-person events were suspended during covid-19 and ambiguity rose on the horizon of our everyday lives, virtual event technology eliminated networking barriers by bringing global audiences together through digital means. The virtual event technology revolutionized the event industry, fostering the rise of two major types of events: virtual and hybrid events. Both virtual and hybrid events harness the power of technology to bring globally scattered audiences together in spirit, even if they can’t be present physically.
If you are planning to host your own virtual or hybrid event, consider the below listed key benefits of hosting virtual and hybrid events and all the opportunities they open up for organizations.
Virtual Events – Virtual events are hosted entirely online and involve attendees interacting with each other in a virtual environment instead of a physical location. These events usually feature multiple sessions and use a combination of live or pre-recorded content to engage their online audiences. Depending on the virtual event platform you use to host your event, you can give your virtual attendees the chance to network with their peers, submit Q&As to presenters, and provide real-time feedback. Through virtual events, companies realized the potential of online platforms in terms of audience reach and accessibility. Hosting events like conferences, trade shows, product launches, or even recruitment fairs eliminated the need for spending resources for venues and additional miscellaneous event expenses.
Hybrid Events: Hybrid events occur physically and employ virtual technology to connect physical audience and virtual attendees simultaneously. One of the major advantages of hybrid events is that they offer a choice to the interested participants to join the event in the way that is preferable and most convenient for them.
By including the best of both worlds, these events need to be more engaging for all the participants. It is important to include content that will keep your in-person attendees engaged as well as your virtual attendees involved throughout the event. With thorough planning and the right event technology platform, hybrid events can provide greater reach, improve engagement and offer the flexibility organizers need to adapt to the digital transformation amid the changing world.
How to choose between virtual and hybrid events?
It is normal for organizers to get confused while choosing the event approach to implement, considering the advantages of both virtual and hybrid events. One way to resolve this issue is to define the event agenda and establish goals around it.
If you are planning panel discussions or talk shows at a lower cost, your best bet is to opt for virtual events. However, virtual events mainly rely on technology. Therefore, it is important to ensure that you are utilizing a reliable virtual event platform to handle any technical glitches or unstable connections.
While as a hybrid event might be your primary option if you want the flexibility to reach the greatest number of attendees. You can also save costs with hybrid events though it is not much compared to virtual events since you do not have to spend time or travel expenses for the entire participant pool. However, it should be noted that hybrid events involve a myriad of complexities since it means producing two events at one time.
Both virtual and hybrid events boast impressive benefits. By understanding which type of event is right for your goals and situation, you can ensure that your next event is a success.
Benefits of Hosting Virtual & Hybrid Events
One of the major advantages of virtual and hybrid event platforms is that they offer multiple networking tools such as built-in live chats, Q&As, break rooms, etc. to boost interaction between exhibitors, sponsors, speakers, and attendees. Considering the stats that over 66% of audiences list networking as the primary reason to attend events, a virtual event platform allows you to provide a quality user experience. Online event platforms accommodate that multifaceted nature of events. Some defining benifits of virtual and hybrid events include:
Virtual attendees have live audio, video and text chat tools at their disposal. Exhibitors and attendees can use these tools to network with attendees. Moreover, you can create chat rooms where both in-person and online participants can connect. Virtual platforms allows event attendees to:
- Search attendees and exhibitors within the event
- Connect with users based on their interests
- Ask questions and chat with speakers, exhibitors or other attendees
- Request and schedule meetings
- Run group or 1:1 audio or video calls
- Share business cards and other information
Multiple Virtual Spaces
Virtual event platform features multiple virtual spaces or rooms, which allows you to enhance and encourage audience engagement seamlessly. Virtual event platform gives you several differentiated virtual spaces including:
- Stages: an area where you can broadcast to your entire event audience (e.g. keynotes, opening ceremonies, etc.)
- Expo: dedicated exhibitor hall for sponsors, partners, sales teams, etc., to set up their virtual booths
- Sessions: an interactive area where moderators can invite multiple presenters and/or attendees on-screen (e.g., for breakout sessions, panel discussions, workshops, Q&A)
- Networking: private meeting rooms where attendees can meet 1-on-1
Data Analytics and ROI
Virtual and hybrid events provide a greater return on investment (ROI) because they offer increased reach and scalability. Also, more attendance, more views for sponsors, and more sign-ups directly correlate to an increase in lead generation for exhibitors. At an in-person event, you can track attendance rates, the number of people attending certain sessions, and maybe the number of people who attended. With a virtual event, you can access even more data.
Hybrid events allow great insights into your audience’s behavior patterns and interests. For people joining virtually, hosts can easily track their digital footprints, allowing them to gain a better understanding of their participants.
Extended Life and Value
After a virtual or hybrid event ends, virtual event platforms can be used as a database to store an event’s presentations, vendor booths, marketing collateral, and more. Organizers can reuse the event presentations as standalone webinars to help drive demand generation programs. Virtual event presentations can also be used during roadshows, where marketers can introduce their potential partners (met in a virtual event) to their clients to gain confidence and business. Attendees can access this gated resource whenever they desire, and companies can store content, data and analytics.
FLOOR, an award-winning virtual and hybrid event platform, allows you to host memorable events by bringing together and engaging a larger, more geographically diverse audience. Our virtual event platform offers dynamic features to connect users with a global audience, drive engagement, create community and meet their specific business goals. Contact us today to know more about our end-to-end solutions.