There is no greater evidence of a technologically-driven future than it is for the MICE (Meetings, incentives, conferencing, exhibitions) industry. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting travel and group limitations, event organisers, and businesses had to turn to the online space in search of safe, practical alternatives to physical events. Subsequently, the prevalence of event management systems and video conferencing software has enabled businesses to successfully transition to virtual events.
Although virtual events have their advantages, there are still some aspects of physical events that are difficult to replicate in an online environment. This has resulted in the popularity of hybrid events – which is defined as any event that includes both in-person and digital elements. Essentially, it is an event that takes place in a physical venue while also being attended by an online audience. Since it is the literally best of both worlds, hybrid events promise to be the future of event-planning for the MICE industry.
Main Benefits of Hybrid Events
Similar to virtual events, hybrid events are not a completely new concept. Ever since the advent of video-conferencing software, hybrid events have existed in some form or another – be it live-streaming a conference to another location or a speaker giving a talk via video call. As it got more popular, the mechanics behind running a successful hybrid event improved as well. Subsequently, event organiser and businesses who host hybrid events will stand to experience the following benefits:
1. Expand audience reach
Attendance at physical events is often limited to the capacity of the on-site location and although group restrictions are easing up in many parts of the world, they are still nowhere to the level of pre-pandemic times. Subsequently, hybrid events allow for a wider audience reach because a participant can easily attend an event with just a laptop and a strong Internet connection. For example, a live conference that is being attended by 100 people on-site will have a higher attendance rate if they choose to stream the event online to allow other attendees to engage with the event from wherever they are.
2. Increase content engagement
A successful hybrid event is one that leverages technology to increase audience participation and engagement for both its virtual and live audiences. It is not enough to just live-stream the event to an online audience – their participation should be encouraged as well. Many event management systems come with polls, Question & Answer, and lucky draw features that enable online attendees to directly interact with the event and not just passively watch it. In addition, event organisers can ensure networking opportunities for online attendees by setting up virtual meeting rooms where they can engage and interact with live attendees. Moreover, event organisers can choose to record and distribute the content shared in the physical event, which increases their reach as well as interest in their future events.
3. Gather valuable data
In comparison to traditional physical events, hybrid events make it considerably easier to collect data and insights on audience and engagement. The virtual event system can track audience attendance during the event, as well as the amount of engagement for each activity. Furthermore, collecting post-event feedback is easier because both virtual and live audiences can complete an online survey and let the event management software do the heavy lifting of visualising the data in an understandable format. As a result, the technological side of hybrid events gives a wealth of trackable metrics and data that businesses and event organisers can utilise to gain a better understanding of how their event performed and identify areas for improvement.
The Future of Event Planning
There are many who might assume that hybrid events are just a product of the pandemic and that physical events will resume once things are back to normal. Nevertheless, as technology continues to be deeply integrated into our daily lives, utilising digital solutions is no longer optional for businesses that want to remain competitive. Thankfully, there are a plethora of event management systems available that can help businesses maximise the benefits of hosting hybrid events. Evention understands how promising hybrid events are for businesses and are committed to developing event management solutions that will guarantee the best hybrid event experience for them. Contact us today to learn more.