Whether or not we return to offices for good, hybrid events are here to stay with us. They offer incredible opportunities to arrange events, involve participants who are otherwise hard to reach, and are a great way to optimise costs.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, people needed to adapt to the new reality quickly. With companies working as efficiently as possible to find and implement new solutions, the events industry was in a completely different place. Strict lockdowns and restrictions that moved everything online have massively impacted this market. When people started getting used to home office and isolation – events specialists were still thinking about how to diversify their work.
In 2020, PGi saw an increase of 136 percent in the number of hybrid and virtual events.
Lauren Weatherly, the SVP of marketing at global virtual meetings and events company PGiAs hybrid events started to grow along with rapidly developing technology, it is hard not to mention that the only positive impact pandemic might have had on the events industry was a push for them to adapt to the virtual environment. Everything has been moved online, including high expectations on what metaverse can offer. If you are interested in exploring this topic more broadly, read our latest article about metaverse influence on political campaigning and events organisation.Minutes spent on Zoom meetings annualy have increased by 3300% in October 2020, compared with the same quarter of the previous year.
According to LinkedIn research from 2021 regarding virtual events, 85% of the respondents have held a virtual or hybrid event in 2020. Moreover 51% of event marketers are convinced that this kind of conference will stay even after COVID-19 pandemic subsides – simply because they are “pandemic proof”. Around half of the respondents stated that they’re satisfied with virtual and hybrid solutions, as they allow them to attend events worldwide, are more cost-effective and it is believed they will be a crucial part in the future of the industry.
Keeping high health protection standards: our team wearing mandatory masks during the production of a hybrid event in Warsaw in 2020.
If you are planning on running a hybrid event in 2022, here is a list of the most vital trends you should consider:
Central European Day of Energy 2021 Keynote Speech by Kadri Simson, the European Commissioner for EnergyLet’s start with the foundation of every successful event – whether it takes place online, offline or in a hybrid model. Every event should meet the following objectives:
These points obviously do not complete the list, but they are the essential objectives to fulfil. In case of hybrid events, which take place offline and online simultaneously, we have to deal with two groups of participants. It is worth taking note of this because the participation of a person connecting remotely is an entirely different experience from that of being on-site.Networking is one of the main advantages of industry events, and some people attend them only to meet specialists and expand their list of contacts. Also – we humans are social animals, we love to meet and interact. As a result, networking is one of the most crucial and desired activities during hybrid events. Getting physical and virtual attendees together might be demanding from the technological point of view. Still, it is extremely important to provide tools that allow participants to get involved with each other freely.
Below is a list of things we’ve learned from organising dozens of hybrid events for our clients in 2020 and 2021.1. Choose the right event management platform – currently there is a wide range of integrated software and separated tools. You can find the best ones, used by professionals. We list them below.2. Make sure speakers are well prepared – as an event host, you have to ensure all guests are happy, so double-check if all the delegates are familiar with the technology you use and that their home “recording studios” are properly prepared, well lit and tidy.3. Ensure a good experience for both online and offline participants – one of the main challenges when organising a hybrid event is to meet expectations for the virtual and physical environment. To do so, take equal care of both groups and ensure that they are having an unforgettable time.4. Assure great options for sponsors and partners of the event – hybrid events offer a possibility of a more extensive marketing offer, both at the stage of promoting the event and during transmission. Examples could include: Display banners, brand visuals in emails to be sent out to participants, hosting virtual and live booths (breakout rooms) and 1:1 networking.5. Plan two parallel event scenarios – keep in mind that you are running a hybrid event, so there might be unexpected occurrences that could make something not go according to plan. Always have a backup plan and spend extra time on ensuring no one has any technological difficulties. And in case of any doubt, put remote participants first and make sure they never feel like “second class” participants at your event.6. Use hybrid events to optimise costs. This may seem obvious, but it’s easy to forget that having fewer participants on site can significantly reduce costs such as space, catering and the number of people needed to staff the event. This is particularly worth bearing in mind for those cyclical events that are undergoing a transformation towards a hybrid event format.7. Run tests both online and offline – it is always better to be safe than sorry. You probably do not want to stand in front of people apologising that one of the most exciting activities will not happen because you simply did not check before if it is possible.8. Store and recycle conference content for marketing purposes – you can have the most incredible time ever during a hybrid event, but keep in mind that when you organise an unforgettable experience, you probably would like to highlight your triumph to others and advertise your abilities to the broader audience. Luckily, we selected the most comprehensive tools and platforms available for hybrid events, so check the list below and share the experience!
Production control room during a hybrid event in Brussels in 2021
Here’s a list of the tools that we can recommend the most. Complex software provides all the necessary solutions and tools to run a hybrid event and answer mostly demanded features. We tried and we trust the ones listed below, but there are many other alternatives:
Or, you can simply tailor the experience to your needs by choosing only the tools you need. There are plenty of video streaming platforms similar to our prefered Zoom, such as GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams, Webex or Google Meet, that will make your event more inclusive and help diversify the attendees’ experience. Play around with them, ask others for their experience, choose one and then make your event stand out!
OB Van remote control room during hybrid event in 2020.
Mixed and virtual realities are attracting companies and experts from all over the world, and the above tools are just examples of what can be used to bring people together. If you have not familiarised yourself with trends, tactics and tools to run hybrid and virtual events, you better do that quickly. It is becoming the new reality, and those who don’t adjust fast enough will simply not keep up with the market.Our specialists are always happy to help you choose the best format for your event. We have been organising hybrid, online and traditional events for years. We have worked for practically every industry, however, we are most often involved in organising events for the financial or technology sectors, think tanks, trade unions as well as sports and esports events. Contact us today. We are at your service.