Events, as we knew them, are gone for good. As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the process of planning, promoting, and executing events in every single industry has been irrevocably transformed.
The future of events will likely be mostly hybrid (a live event with virtual options or components) so that those who are comfortable can attend as they once did. Those who are not comfortable or not able to travel can also participate. While this change has posed many challenges for marketers, promoters, and event planners alike, the virtual and hybrid options will live on. So we need to embrace these options, or we will fall behind our peers.
We have taken the past two years to refine these types of events, so there are many benefits to hosting a hybrid event that solely virtual or solely in-person may not see.
Consider the following benefits:
With a hybrid event, your audience is suddenly global. Anyone in the world can attend your event’s virtual components, and local proponents can attend in person if they wish.
More virtual options also allow for historical recordings of your event sessions that future organisers or past attendees can refer to. Recordings of sessions can be used as marketing material for future events or even as a reference for improvement in later editions.
Many live event organisers will deliver a similar presentation online to get more value for their money.
Including the best elements of virtual events
You can draw a greater audience from your event by taking the absolute best feature of virtual events and including them in the hybrid model. For example, you may attract higher-quality speakers, or simply more relevant speakers, if they don’t need to be at the event to deliver their presentation physically.
Participants can also reference the event material after it is over, leaving less pressure to record it themselves or take super diligent notes. They can sit back, enjoy the speaker, and collect their notes later.
Virtual events are also more accessible to those who may not benefit from an in-person experience. For example, captions/subtitles for speakers can make a world of difference for some attendees.
Hybrid events are here to stay.
And they’re likely to grow in popularity throughout 2022. Once all marketers realise the extraordinary potential for growth in hybrid events, you’ll be sure to see a lot more of your favourite industry trade shows offering online components or maybe even moving completely virtual!
The strategies behind event planning and marketing are likely to evolve to include complimentary virtual and physical marketing strategies. You may consider using virtual events to capture the top of your funnel, engage a wider audience or get them on an email list, and then focus on converting them to in-person event-goers (the lower funnel) throughout their customer lifetime.