Often perceived as the best of both worlds, hybrid events are unique ways to build relationships with both in-person and online audiences. But – there are a few unavoidable truths about Hybrid Events that typically get ignored, overlooked, or misunderstood, which leads to lack-luster results.
- Myth: Hybrid events are cheaper than having everyone attend in person
Truth: Hybrid events CAN be cost-efficient ways to appeal to large groups since some travel and venue expenses can be avoided. However, hybrid events require additional technology needs that are not included with most in-person venues. These expenses should be weighed against the potential gains of expanding the audience to two different platforms.
- Myth: Livestreaming a live event is the same as hosting a hybrid event
Truth: Would you want to watch all your friends have an in-person birthday party in your honor, while you watched from home? This is the problem with assuming that livestreaming an event is “enough” to make a hybrid event successful. Activities that engage – and more importantly CONNECT – both in-person and digital audiences are essential. Otherwise, your digital attendance will suffer with future events. Digital photo booths are an example of how remote audiences can be part of the action by allowing for co-operative photos and interaction. Similarly, games or polls that happen online for both audiences can be fun ways to build a unified experience.
- Myth: It’s impossible to recreate “live” engagement with virtual audiences
Truth: It may take a little extra planning, but virtual audiences can absolutely participate in live, in-person activities. Delivering physical items in a swag-bag-style box ahead of the event can mirror things happening at the live event. Mixology kits, costumes or accessories, earbuds, or even a scavenger-hunt assignment can inspire real-life interactions that digital attendees find memorable.
- Myth: Hybrid events hurt in-person attendance, and vice versa
Truth: The number of people who prefer in-person events is fairly equal with those who enjoy virtual events. For some, there’s nothing that beats the feeling of “being there” with plenty of other people around. For others, the appeal of not needing a babysitter or driving across town is hard to deny. Still, it can be a problem to make sure you’ve planned for the right distribution of guests if all you’re doing is guessing. Advance registration with an online platform that allows invited guests to select their preference for in-person or virtual attendance can help you tailor your venue, food & beverage, entertainment, and technology needs for that just-right fit.
At VIBE, we like to tell our clients there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution. Sometimes, the timeliness of an occasion requires a hybrid event. Other times, you can host an in-person version of an event separately from a digital one with the same theme or topic. Still other times, you can decide that an all-digital or all-in-person solution is truly the best choice given timing and budgets. What’s exciting right now is the number of choices available to event marketers and brands.
About the VIBE Agency: The VIBE Agency is a Miami-based award-winning full-service production agency that specializes in the creation and orchestration of live and virtual experiences for the corporate industry. The agency is forward-thinking and was recognized as one of the 50 top event companies by Special Events magazine in 2019 and 2020. If it can’t be live, make it VIBE!