The event industry’s landscape has faced quite a lot of changes in the last few years.
What during the pandemic was a rapid move to virtual events has now settled into a hybrid middle-ground that is here to stay. Why would on-site events remain limited to one location when they can be accessed online by people from all over the world at a little extra cost?
Firm believers in the hybrid future of events we sat down with Kiril Seravall, the founder and CEO of the End-to-End True Hybrid event management platform Agorify – to talk about his insights about hybrid events.
What are the main differences you see between onsite, virtual, and hybrid events?
Onsite events are the foundation of the event industry and, therefore, even to this day, they are the preferred event format for attendees and exhibitors. People love the social aspect of it. We often say that the event industry is a traditional industry that likes to stick to its old ways, therefore, up until the pandemic it was truly a rare phenomenon for an event to be executed in another format rather than onsite. However, when the pandemic started many event organizers saw no other choice but to switch to virtual events which back then became the only event format they could rely on.
It’s true that virtual events can’t fully capture the social aspect that onsite events offer, but their reach is much higher as they can be attended regardless of the location. In addition, they also extend the event’s lifecycle as they can also be attended on-demand. On the other hand, the real game-changer in this whole story is hybrid events. It’s where the onsite and virtual event aspects join together to deliver an enhanced or even superior event experience.
What is one thing that all event organizers who want to organize hybrid events should do?
The first thing would be to evaluate whether their target audience would be interested in attending such an event. This highly depends on the attendee’s age and also on the industry itself. There are industries dominated by younger generations who tend to be more tech-savvy, other industries are dominated by people of older generations who are more traditional and are not that comfortable with using technology which is vital in hybrid events.
Speaking of technology in hybrid events, we would also like to highlight the importance of choosing event platforms that can fully support both dimensions of hybrid events – onsite and virtual. Using two different platforms to capture hybrid event experiences could be much more costly and also hectic for everyone involved. In a nutshell, here is a quick tip for event organizers in terms of this – just make sure to choose a true hybrid event platform.
Which are the benefits of organizing hybrid events for event organizers, attendees, exhibitors and speakers?
Organizing hybrid events for event organizers means higher reach and additional monetization opportunities which ultimately leads to higher ROI.
For attendees, hybrid events represent an opportunity to choose. To choose whether they will go to the venue and attend the event onsite or whether they will stay at home and attend it online. In case they decide to attend the event online then they can also choose whether they will attend it live or they will watch it later on as on-demand content. Yet again, regardless of the choice they make, attendees will still be able to access the features of the opposite dimension they choose. For example, even if they decided to attend the event online, they can still network with attendees who are onsite and vice versa.
In terms of partners and exhibitors, the benefits are very similar to event organizers – higher reach, more leads, and ultimately more sales.
For speakers hybrid events mean more flexibility – speakers no longer need to travel to the venue if they don’t want to. They can also record the session in advance and send it to the event organizer to add it to the platform as a pre-recorded session. In addition, hybrid events mean that they can present to a wider audience – something that every speaker considers as a step up in their career. What’s best, they can even communicate with the audience through our event app and platform’s Q&A feature regardless of whether they present onsite or online.
What are your top tips for running successful hybrid events?
First of all, as we mentioned previously, it’s important to decide whether a hybrid event format is the right choice for your event. Then it’s also very important to choose a true hybrid event format.
Another tip that we would like to add is to train the event organizing staff for the execution of such an event in advance. Hybrid events are different from onsite-only or virtual-only events which is why they also need an additional skill set.
We would even say that it would be good if you run dry run sessions with exhibitors, and speakers prior to the event in order to show them how to navigate through the event platform and how to use it according to their role in the event in order to get the full hybrid event experience.
Are hybrid events worth organizing and why?
We would say that they are more than worth it; the future of the event industry is hybrid. Hybrid events add an edge of flexibility that the other two event formats don’t, which means they are more likely to be attended by more people – something that is the end goal of event organizers, partners, exhibitors and also speakers.
In addition, they are also better for our environment if compared to onsite events-only as they require less paper waste because they rely more on hybrid event technology and also reduce the carbon footprint considering that not all attendees are required to travel to the venue.
Agorify is an advanced End-to-End True Hybrid Event management platform specializing in midsize to large complex events with multiple stages, engagement features, long event timelines, continued on-demand periods, a large volume of onsite or online attendees and exhibitors, monetization opportunities, and much more.