Hybrid Events: The Best of Online and In-Person Event Planning

Team GTRTeam GTR September 2, 2020

Milk and cookies. Peanut butter and jelly. Online and in-person events. Some things just go better together. If you are looking to host an industry, corporate or association event, consider creating a Hybrid Event that combines the best of online and in-person planning and ideas.

What is a hybrid event?

A hybrid event is a meeting, event, conference or trade show that combines an in-person component with an online or digital experience.

Hybrid events come in all shapes and sizes. They may be as simple as town halls, sales meetings, and product introductions or as complex as global conferences, trade shows and recruiting fairs. And, of course, they require a robust technology platform to help promote, plan, manage and evaluate the event.

Hybrid events also vary in the percentage of activities that are virtual versus onsite. For example, workshop sessions can be held in-person or you can go virtual if the topic or number of interested attendees warrants it. There can be networking components that provide varied opportunities for attendees to meet before, during and after the event. Keynote speakers can be live but still involve people who are attending at a distance. And you may be able to get higher quality and more prominent speakers at lower costs if you engage them virtually.

Hybrid events are the future. Here are seven solid reasons to add hybrid events to your marketing mix:

  1. Increase Attendance

    gtr virtual event registration dashboard

    Event Registration Dashboard

    Hybrid events have the potential to attract a larger audience and increased revenue. Particularly in tough economic times, organizations need to look not only at the expense of hosting events but also the travel and registration costs to attendees. Additionally, hybrid events reduce the time spent getting to and from an event.

  2. More Accessibility

    One of the pleasant surprises that people have experienced from virtual conferences is that it has leveled the playing field in terms of access. Attendees usually have more success reaching high-level people virtually than trying to track them down on-site. Hybrid events allow more access to decision-makers while also providing in-person connections if desired.

  3. Better Sponsorship Opportunities

    Associations and nonprofits are often dependent on sponsorships to defray event costs. Finding sponsors is never easy, but during tough economic times, it can be even more competitive. A hybrid model exposes sponsors to a larger and more diverse audience. It is a brand builder for your sponsors and a financial boom for your event. Quite simply, more and better sponsors lead to more and better sponsors.

  4. Enhanced Data Collection

    Adding virtual components to in-person events provides additional opportunities for data collection, too. For example, detailed information of attendees can be gathered through online registration forms that are then used to create networking profiles. Real-time surveys during keynotes and sessions allow for immediate feedback that can be used in future event design.

  5. Minimized Risk

    Planning a hybrid event allows you to pivot sooner if an onsite event needs to be canceled for a variety of reasons. Even before COVID, event planners were constantly worried about natural and manmade disasters as well as debilitating weather. A hybrid event with virtual ideas already baked in allows for the flexibility needed to continue instead of canceling. A solid back-up plan is already in place.

  6. Ongoing Event Engagement

    Your event doesn’t end until you decide it will end. Most platforms allow your hybrid event to remain live for at least a month. Attendees can go back to get the names of people they missed but want to connect with, review keynotes, and even attend workshops they may have missed.

  7. Better for the Environment

    Hybrid events have a lower carbon footprint because of fewer onsite attendees. There is less travel, wasted meals, and transportation of materials and equipment needed for a successful in-person conference. Your organization and attendees will be respected for their environmentally conscious actions.

Now that you understand the benefits, the next question is: How do I plan a successful hybrid event? We’ll be sharing tips on how to organize one over the next few weeks – stay tuned!

We believe virtual and hybrid events that combine the best of both worlds are the wave of the future. We’d like to help with the technology and ideas to meet your event planning goals. We look forward to talking with you.

Regards, Team GTR™ 👋