Online events or virtual events and hybrid events appeared almost 3 decades earlier. But were never viewed as the main alternative to an in-person event. And there were several reasons for that. However, with the passage of time and improvement in technology, virtual/hybrid events evolved. They appeared as virtual meetings in the 90s. But now we can organise most much more sophisticated events virtually.
Last year, when the pandemic struck, people were barred from social gathering. And in such a situation hosting an event virtually was the only practical approach. And this led to virtual events coming in the front seat. As a result, we saw various kinds of events taking place online. Virtual conference, virtual fest, virtual trade shows and virtual career fairs, to name a few. But what are virtual and hybrid events? And how we can make them more effective.
What are Virtual Events and Hybrid Events?
Virtual events are the digital version of in-person events. They are organised in digital medium instead of the physical one. To host a virtual event, you would require a virtual event platform or virtual event software. These platforms or software provide the feel of an in-person event. Using the interface and lots of features to engage the audience.
Hybrid events, on the other hand, are a mix of both virtual and live events. It is a live event that hosts both live and virtual audiences. And just like virtual events, it also relies on technology. Hybrid events can be organised using virtual event platforms or hybrid event platforms. But to host a Hybrid event, you need to hire additional staff. And this staff should be experienced to serve both of the audiences.
Hybrid Event vs Virtual event
The most visible difference between virtual and hybrid events is the medium. The virtual event is organised in digital settings. While the hybrid event is hosted in the physical world. And unlike virtual events, there are live audiences in addition to the virtual ones.
Apart from this, to host a hybrid event, you need to have knowledge and experience of both in-person and technology. And you need more people to host a Hybrid event.
Benefits of Hosting Virtual Hybrid Events
- Cost efficiency
Both virtual and Hybrid events are more cost-efficient than the in-person event. With virtual, you can avoid expenses like venue, travel and accommodation. While with a Hybrid event, you can significantly reduce these expenses.
- Flexibility of time
Since both virtual and Hybrid events offer you the convenience of attending the event from your location, you don’t have to travel to the venue. This is quite helpful for those who cannot travel or have a busy schedule. However, with the Hybrid event, you can also attend in-person.
- More Audience
Often people are interested in an event but cannot attend the event. And the most common reasons behind this are time and financial constraints. However, with virtual and hybrid events, you can overcome these constraints. This allows a broader set of audience to attend your event.
- Worldwide reach
Technology has played an essential role in crossing the geographical barrier. And this is true in the case of virtual and hybrid events. This means anyone from anywhere can attend the event. All you need to do is to provide the international time of your event.
- Higher returns
By opting for virtual and hybrid events, you can reduce the cost of hosting the event. And you can host more people, that too from all over the world. This indicates that you can get significantly better ROI (Return On Investment) in comparison to a physical event.
Now that you know the benefits of the virtual and hybrid event. Let’s look at how you can make your virtual/Hybrid event more effective.
5 Ways to Get the Most out of Virtual/Hybrid Events
1. Understand your Audience
The first step to host a successful virtual/hybrid event is knowing your audience. You need to find out what the audience is looking for? And how you can deliver that to the audience through your event. This will help you in preparing your event to serve the target audience better. And the chances of your event succeeding will increase significantly. So start by conducting research on the audience. You can conduct polls and surveys.
2. Engage the audience
In a virtual or hybrid event, it is necessary to engage the audience. Otherwise, your audience might get bored or exhausted. This will lead to your audience leaving your event. Now that you know the importance of engaging the audience, you must be wondering how you can do so? Simple, use the features provided by the virtual event platform. However, you need to look for the engagement features while selecting the virtual event platform.
We would recommend features like gamification, leaderboard, social wall, AR Photobooth, to name a few. However, you can get more features.
If you look out, you will notice that networking is one of the most crucial factors for the success of the virtual/hybrid event. And in many cases, it can be the sole motivation for the attendees to attend the event.
The hopes for finding new connections increases with virtual/hybrid events. Because it is easy to connect with people at these events. However, just like engagement features, you need to look for networking tools available on the platform. Some of the popular networking tools are AI Matchmaking, B2B Meeting scheduler and 2-way interaction etc.
4. Live chats
Another basic yet impactful feature for networking is live chats. You can provide options of text, audio or video-based chats. Also, provide a choice for 1:1 or group chats. Apart from this, you can provide support for third-party apps like WhatsApp and Zoom. The live chats are probably the most used feature in the virtual/hybrid event. So you cannot ignore this feature.
5. Use live analytics
To make the virtual/hybrid event more effective, you should use live analytics. But what is live analytics? It is basically the record of all the activities of individual attendees. These activities include which booth or session visited or who was contacted by the attendee. The live analytics give you real-time information about your event like what is working and whatnot. So use this information to make your event more impactful.
We hope you find this article helpful. Tell us your thoughts about the virtual hybrid events.