Many companies adopted virtual events as a last resort to stay in touch with customers, shareholders, and industry members during the pandemic. But are virtual events here to stay?
As people embrace the joys of getting together with colleagues for in-person events, networking, and even after-hours drinks and personal connections, it doesn’t mean we should abandon the advantages of virtual or hybrid events in favor of in-person gatherings.
Reasons to Host Hybrid Events
The pandemic is not yet over, and many people still hesitate to travel. What’s more, people in various countries may face border restrictions and cannot travel abroad for events yet. As people still recover financially from the effects of business shutdowns, traveling for events may be cost-prohibitive.
Finally, some people have just grown accustomed to the convenience of virtual events and see no reason to venture out into a crowded auditorium when they can have a similar — sometimes superior — experience from the comfort of their home office.
However, no doubt, many people prefer the one-on-one connections and energy of live events. Hybrid events can help you expand the audience you reach. You can provide event attendees with the type of experience they desire.
Tips to Host Effective Hybrid Events
Hosting a hybrid event can be as simple as streaming the activities going on at your live sessions. But the most successful hybrid events feature unique elements for both types of attendees.
Consider if you can offer exclusive Q&A sessions for virtual attendees or additional content on-demand that is available to all attendees. You may also set up virtual networking rooms so that remote attendees can experience some of the connection and camaraderie live attendees will enjoy after-hours and between sessions at in-person events.
Promote Your Hybrid Event through Multiple Channels
If you’ve focused on promoting smaller, in-person events in the past, the shift to hybrid events requires expanding your focus. Use multi-channel marketing, including paid search, social media, and email marketing, to attract people across a wider geographic base.
Of course, old-school marketing methods of flyers and radio ads may work to attract attendees at the local level. Make sure to emphasize the unique benefits offered to both types of attendees.
Focus on the Content
When you’re putting together programming for hybrid events, remember that the quality of your content remains the most important element of the event for live and remote attendees. Technology should be there to secure your message and should never distract from the event.
You may even want to consider fully managed, operator-led events so that your event producers, promoters, and speakers can focus on the content, the message, and interaction with the audience.
Let PGi help you with hybrid events as we step into a new world of possibilities to connect businesses and those who matter to them.