Should You Be Considering a Hybrid Conference?
While on-site events used to dominate the industry, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a dramatic shift in business operations. Consequently, virtual events took center stage and became the new normal. Now, as the world recovers from the coronavirus, on-site events have become a possibility again.
Does this mean organizations are all set to abandon virtual events, though? Not quite.While many businesses have on-site events planned for the year, virtual events have still retained their popularity. Online conferences offer greater reach, reduced costs, and access to meaningful analytics.
Some organizations chose to mix the best of physical and digital events, taking on a hybrid model. Hybrid conferences offer greater reach, more sponsorship opportunities, higher content engagement, and more attendance than traditional or virtual events.
However, the hybrid model isn’t ideal for every event. This brings us to the question…
Should your next event be a hybrid conference?
Hosting a Hybrid Conference: The Checklist
If you’re looking to host a hybrid conference, here are the three primary considerations to account for.
1) Do You Have the Budget for a Hybrid Conference?
Hybrid events are going to cost you more than a virtual event or an on-site one. In fact, you might end up spending almost double what you would on a traditional event.
With a hybrid conference, your most significant expenses are likely the costs of the physical venue and the virtual events platform you choose. Additionally, the following costs are also likely to increase:
- Production costs – hybrid events require immersive experiences that cater to both virtual and physical participants.
- Support team costs. For a hybrid conference, organizers need support staff to manage the on-site event, and technical teams to oversee the virtual aspects.
2) Do You Have the Production Capabilities to Create an Immersive Experience?
Hybrid events require more robust production functionality than traditional events, as the experiences must be translated to both virtual and physical audiences. Thus, organizers have to convey digital sessions to live audiences in an engaging manner, and conversely, live elements must engage your virtual audiences too.
There are many creative ways to engage both your live and physical audiences. For example, some brands segment the sessions, limiting certain elements exclusively to either audience. However, broadcasting elements to both audiences requires advanced production capabilities.
BuzzCast produced the Just for Laughs Comedy Pro 2021 event in a hybrid format; three events hosted in multiple cities were streamed to a virtual audience. Our production team took measures to deliver interactive experiences to both audiences.
3) Does your In-House Team have the Experience to Manage a Hybrid Event?
To effectively pull off a hybrid event, organizers require technical knowledge in addition to their planning expertise. No matter how much experience an organizer has in traditional planning, a hybrid event demands a degree of technical expertise.
Some enterprises lack in-house teams with the experience to plan and execute a hybrid event successfully. Fortunately, premium events solutions like BuzzCast provide full-service models. This means that we take care of the production and planning for you, crafting immersive experiences to cater to both live and physical audiences.
Is Going Hybrid Worth It? The Advantages
Hosting a hybrid conference is significantly more expensive than launching a traditional or virtual one. So, why are brands still leaning towards a hybrid model?
Hybrid conferences enjoy greater reach
Hybrid events let attendees participate both in-person and virtually, increasing the pool of participants and your reach. Attendees who can’t attend live, due to travel or time constraints, can join in from the comfort of their own homes.
Unlike traditional events, hybrid conferences also encourage a more diverse audience. Thanks to the option to participate virtually, attendees from all over the world can join in. For example, 8,000 students attended the Youth Environmental Summit (produced by BuzzCast) both virtually and in person.
An increased reach also encourages…
Going hybrid increases sponsorship opportunities
Many large companies that provide sponsorships look for trade shows or conferences with good reach. By going hybrid, you can expand your attendance and reach, incentivizing brands to sponsor the event.
Moreover, premium events platforms like BuzzCast offer customizable virtual booths for sponsors to engage directly with audiences during the event. These features provide sponsors with the opportunity to generate leads, and thus encourage brands to partner with your event.
Drive your ROI up with data and analytics
While hybrid events require more investment, they also offer greater opportunities to increase your returns. With more sponsorship opportunities, greater reach, and a larger event at scale, brands can generate more leads, convert more prospects, and increase their revenue.
Additionally, like virtual events, hybrid conferences also grant organizers access to key data and analytics. Premium event solutions monitor user engagement metrics, including downloads, watch times, chat engagement, and more. By collecting and analyzing the data, brands can refine their post-event marketing strategies.
Hybrid conferences increase your post-event marketing opportunities
While the data and analytics offered by hybrid events drive more informed marketing efforts, a hybrid model additionally increases your marketing opportunities.
Virtual events platforms record the sessions and make them available as video on demand. Thus, after the event concludes, brands can leverage the sessions and keynote talks for post-event marketing. The recordings or digital downloads can be sold to drive ROI, or used as a lead magnet to increase your reach further.
Let BuzzCast Make Your Next Hybrid Conference Memorable
Hybrid conferences have recently gained significant popularity, and as organizers and sponsors alike realize the benefits of hybrid models, the event format is here to stay.
A hybrid format increases your event’s reach and sponsorship opportunities, creates more post-event marketing opportunities, and helps drive event ROI.
When deciding whether to conduct a hybrid conference, you should consider key factors like the event budget, your in-house team’s experience, and what production capabilities you have access to.
Pulling off a successful hybrid conference isn’t easy, but BuzzCast’s full-service premium events solution takes care of the challenging parts for you. Our production and technical teams work in sync to create engaging, memorable events that resonate with your audience.
Schedule a demo with us today to start planning your next buzz-worthy event.