A hybrid event is one that combines a ‘live’ in-person audience with a ‘virtual’ audience that attends online. Put another way, it’s a blend or mix of attendees with some attending in-person and some attending via the internet. Those attending virtually can view live footage and content of the event – keynote and guest speakers, education sessions, workshops, etc. – via a webcast direct to their PC, tablet or mobile phone. They are also able to interact with the live audience, speakers and other virtual attendees via a chat line and social media channels eg. Twitter.
It’s important to understand what a hybrid event is and is not. A true hybrid event allows both a live and online audience to view the same content at the same time and also allows both audiences, the speakers and other commentators to interact with one another simultaneously via spoken questions, typed chat and social media channels. Integrated interaction, discussion and networking are key components of a hybrid event.
A hybrid event is not a webinar and, indeed, does not use the same technology platform. The footage of a hybrid event is steamed live to an unlimited number of virtual attendees using high definition (HD) video. This is not done nor is it possible via webinar technology and social media is not typically integrated into a webinar”.
Common Uses for a Hybrid Event
Hybrid events can be used for a number of different events including meetings, conferences, trade shows, product launches, training, sales & marketing updates and company announcements.
Making Your Hybrid Event Super-Powered!
As mentioned previously, integrated interaction, discussion and networking are key components of a successful hybrid event. If you really want to super-power and enhance your hybrid event, you should extend discussion and networking pre and post your event via an online event community over either a public or private social network.
The Benefits of Virtual and Hybrid Events
The benefits of virtual and hybrid events are numerous and include….
- Extend the reach of your events: Via a live webcast, the four walls of your meeting and conference venues become no barrier when it comes to the reach of your events. Those that can’t attend your live events in person owing to their location, time constraints, conflicting schedule or budget (yours or theirs), can still attend and view content online.
- Extend the life of your events: By simultaneously recording your events while streaming them live (speakers, presentations, conference sessions, training workshops), allows you to make the content available for viewing post-event and well into the future. The content then becomes a valuable, ongoing resource.
- Increase the numbers attending your events: Virtual and hybrid events allow you to increase the numbers attending your events simply because you open up the opportunity for people to watch the content online from anywhere in the world.
- Save money: If you are hosting an event and paying for people to attend (including flights, transfers, accommodation and/or meals), eliminating some or all of these costs can save you thousands.
- Increase revenue from your events: In situations where you charge a registration fee for people to attend your events, you can charge a fee for people to attend virtually. You can also charge a fee for post-event, on demand viewing of your recorded event content.
- Champion your sustainability credentials: Virtual events are ‘green’ and reduce your carbon footprint.
- Capture insights and conversations: Analytics allow you to track conversations, topics of interest, presentations or workshops attended, and content accessed, proving you with valuable insight.
- Establish an integrated online community: Since you’ll already have a virtual audience using social media channels to engage and communicate, you should further enhance your virtual or hybrid events by establishing focused online event communities around them. Again, this extends the life, networking opportunities and information sharing of your events.
Hybrid Events Summary
Virtual and hybrid events via live webcasting are becoming a powerful and indispensable marketing and communication tool for organisations looking to save money, extend the life of their physical events and increase the reach of their events to a broader audience of staff, members, prospects, customers or channel partners.
If you’d like to find out more about how Conference Focus can help you deliver these benefits to you, please contact us.