When the COVID-19 pandemic began, there was a massive shift from physical events to virtual alternatives. After nearly two years of this “new normal,” we’ve all grown accustomed to virtual conventions, keynotes, trade shows, and conferences. Of course, this was in an effort to stay safe amid the pandemic, but now that vaccines have been rolling out and in-person events are starting to kick-off again, it raises some questions. Will virtual events revert to in-person once again? Do virtual events offer more benefits than just the prevention of spreading a virus?
Benefits of virtual & hybrid events
Looking beyond the pandemic, virtual events have some real benefits, especially when those events are hybrid. What is a hybrid event? This is where there are in-person components, but people also have the option of attending virtually via a live stream. Consider some of the incredible opportunities that come from these hybrid events:
1) Keep the attendance high & costs low
As with any event, organizers will offer a certain number of in-person tickets based on the venue’s capacity and physical location. Along with these attendees comes the cost of setting up and accommodating a large gathering. But with a hybrid event, the option of virtual participation allows event coordinators to keep their attendance high, even beyond the venue’s capacity levels, while additionally keeping their costs and spend low.
Since virtual events are not limited to location, event coordinators are able to reach anybody in the world, including individuals that are interested in attending but unable to do so in-person.
Naturally, virtual events do present costs of their own, but it’s nowhere close to the amount spent on a large venue with rental fees, accommodations, refreshments, and the cleanup costs at the end of the function.
2) Attendees spend less on travel & accommodations
Many attendees will opt to attend the event virtually simply due to the sheer cost of having to travel to be there in person. Those that are several hours away – or perhaps in another country – would have to consider the cost, time and energy spent traveling to and from the event. With the hybrid approach, people would need to only spend money on the ticket itself, and wouldn’t have to travel outside of their own home. It’s a huge benefit and selling point for many that do not love traveling, nor want to spend money on a hotel and meals during their stay.
3) Widen your pool of speakers & special guests
It’s not only attendees from across the globe that you can invite. Hybrid events give you the opportunity to ask experts and influencers to speak at your event from a remote location, particularly ones who would have been otherwise unable to attend in-person. This may also boost the popularity and reach of your event if you have a speaker who is well-known and highly regarded in a particular field.
4) Make more money & collect more data
We already mentioned how you can have a greater attendance by opening your event up to virtual viewers, but you also have the option of creating special packages or perks for those that are tuning in remotely. Additionally, there are many tools available that allow you to track data from your event, from how many checked into the event, how long they stayed on, the interactions and engagements they made, their location, time zone and even their demographic. This information is invaluable to the planning of future events, and nearly impossible to accurately collect at entirely in-person events.
5) Increase visibility on social networks
Another benefit is that there’s more opportunity for people to share your event on social media and personal networks, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. This not only increases visibility and exposure to gain more attendance, but it helps your accounts gain more followers and attention for future collaborations down the road.
Learn more about live streaming remote and hybrid events
All in all, hybrid events are likely to become the new standard, regardless of vaccinations and the resuming of in-person activities. Most event coordinators are expected to offer a virtual counterpart along with their in-person event, and that’s not likely to change in the near future.
Sorrentino Media offers remote production for live events, such as conferences, conventions, tradeshows, keynotes, town halls and more. We have more than a decade of experience up our sleeves, and we’re here to help you transition from in-person to virtual or hybrid. Learn more about our remote production services or get in touch with us today!