Hybrid events combine the physical elements of an in-person event with virtual access to some, all, or additional components of the event to ensure that guests have a variety of ways to participate in the experience being curated for them. In 2021, as smaller events are allowed to take place, many organizations are pivoting to a hybrid event strategy to better share the experience with everyone, not just those who are able to attend in person.
As many organizations are starting to think about smaller, targeted in-person events, they are also exploring how they can deliver their content to a wider audience, despite social distancing limitations.
With COVID restrictions still limiting gatherings in most states, companies are embracing a virtual add-on approach to offer their attendees limitless opportunities to enjoy an event from anywhere in the world.
Here are a four reasons your company should be implementing hybrid evens in 2021
With the addition of virtual streaming technology, we can now share an experience with a select group of in-person attendees, while broadcasting to a worldwide audience. Your event can now be viewed by an unlimited number of people from anywhere in the world with an internet connection.
This approach can be used in two ways:
1) to reduce the in-person attendance count in order to meet state social distancing guidelines, OR 2) to make an event’s programming accessible to a broader audience than was previously possible due to budget, travel, or logistical considerations.
At EXP, the audience experience is always the driving force behind our work, which means that with hybrid, we have two very different experiences to consider. A truly meaningful hybrid event doesn’t look like live streaming every aspect of the in-person event to all virtual attendees. As we’ve learned with Virtual, you have to meet your audience where they’re at. The truth is that someone tuning in from their kitchen is in a totally different set of circumstances than those that are attending in-person.
For our in-person attendees, we do what we’ve always done: Create a stunning immersive environment for our guests to drop into. From the decor, staging, tech installations, and food, to all of the other bells and whistles that are available to us in a live experience, we have more than enough tools to create the intended experience for our guests.
For our virtual attendees, we curate specialized programs that are intended to pack the most value for that person in their current environment. We can choose to live stream all or some of the mainstage programming to the virtual guests, and we have the ability to offer those pieces on-demand to drive higher viewership. Beyond the programming, there are also specific ways we can facilitate meaningful engagement for virtual guests. An example of this is an exclusive virtual breakout session & small-group conversation for networking and furthering discussion between virtual attendees and the event presenters. And let’s not forget that tactile element - we love taking the virtual experience up a notch by sending out a gift box or memento to bring the online experience into the physical world..
The truth is, at the time of writing this post, restrictions on gatherings are easing up across the country. We now have the opportunity to begin organizing smaller gatherings and creating real-world connections once again! Capacities are highly limited, but not in the virtual space. This means that we can organize events that have an in-person component for the guests that are able to meet in-person, as well as a virtual component for those tuning in remotely. We’re already getting started on this now, and we’re looking forward to developing these hybrid event strategies with our partners long after gathering restrictions are lifted!
Even when we’re able to fully gather together again, these techniques and technologies will continue to be invaluable additions to any live experience. Organizations will no longer be bound by geographical or financial restrictions in regards to the number of guests that they can share an experience with. Ticketed events will have the opportunity to drive greater revenue than ever before by offering a virtual component to anyone in the world.
We have fleshed out an entire methodology around creating virtual experiences that can now be applied to just about any event that we produce. We’re excited to be at the forefront of this evolving industry. It’s been a wild ride, but it’s truly inspiring to collaborate with the organizations that are leading the charge into the new era of experience production!
Check out our events page here! to learn how we can help you bring your hybrid event visions to life!