12 Benefits of hybrid events

Hybrid events have left their mark on the event world.

June 24, 2022

- 4 minutes

Hybrid events have left their mark on the event world. They offer the best of both worlds — in-person engagement and networking AND location convenience and personal comfort. More companies want to experiment with the hybrid event approach. To see if it’s right for you, let’s explore these 12 benefits of hybrid events and why they deserve a place in your event playbook.

1. What are hybrid events?

Before we dive into specific benefits, let’s talk about what hybrid events are (and aren’t). We define a hybrid event as any event that offers both in-person and virtual attendance. Users can choose how to participate, whether it’s by going to the event in real-time or tuning in from their office or home.

However, a hybrid event isn’t about taking an in-person event and putting a camera on it. Yes, there’s a lot of overlap in terms of content and scheduling. But think about it: a remote attendee isn’t going to stay engaged in between sessions or want to see a roomful of attendees with a presenter and screen in the background.

In many cases, event planners will host an in-person event, then add a virtual element to it. This might be making all of the sessions available on-demand while cutting out the lag time in between them, for example. Users can still participate however it makes sense to them. The difference is that each part of the event is tailored to the type of attendee.

To put it another way, hybrid events are very much like having two events wrapped up in one. You’re catering to two different types of people with different needs and priorities. It also takes two different approaches in terms of planning and execution. And yes, that means it’s going to take a little extra work.

With this in mind, let’s explore the benefits of hybrid events that make them such an effective format.

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2. Extended reach

When you host a virtual event, you’re opening the doors to more attendees than you could with an on-site event. It eliminates the barriers of travel, taking time off work, paying for transportation, and the myriad of other hindrances that come with attending events. Users can tune into your event from anywhere, as long as they have an internet-connected device. There’s also no limit as to how many people can attend virtually.

So why go hybrid and not strictly virtual? Simply put, not all attendees want to do virtual. In-person events have so much to offer, from networking opportunities to immersive experiences. It’s easier to feel “in the moment” and a part of the event.

Hybrid events allow attendees to take their pick of how to participate. For those that want to travel and meet presenters in person and take in all the event has to offer, an in-person option caters to their needs. And for those who are short on time and only want to participate in a piece of your event or face travel challenges, a virtual option grants them access. It’s a win/win!

3. Increased engagement

Hybrid event technology has come a long way in recent years. It’s made it more seamless for virtual audiences to engage with speakers and other event elements as though they were attending in person. From asking live questions to submitting poll responses, there are tons of ways to keep your audience engaged.

With Canapii event management software, virtual attendees can:

  • Comment on content

  • Submit live questions

  • Participate in breakout sessions

  • Chat with other attendees

  • Network with on-site attendees

  • Vote in live polls

Engagement features have made virtual events more seamless and immersive. This makes the format even more appealing for participants when choosing how to attend an event.

4. Content for attendees

Creating an in-person event is quite an undertaking, especially when it comes to content creation. From event branding to graphics to presentations to marketing materials, content gives your audience something to engage with. When the event is over, that content can continue serving a purpose and generating revenue.

That’s one reason hybrid events are so valuable. You can repurpose a lot of your in-person event content to engage a virtual audience. All of your event materials become instant assets when you approach your event from a hybrid angle. Attendees can re-watch presentations on demand and engage with other content even when the event is over.  Keep using those assets to generate revenue and deliver more value to your audience.

5. Better sponsorship opportunities

Sponsors are choosy when it comes to contributing to events. Some sponsors will only purchase a sponsorship slot if they’re guaranteed a large audience, which is only the case with large-scale festivals, trade shows, and other events.

Or, if the event is in an area where the brand doesn’t have a strong presence, they might be hesitant to sign on as a sponsor because they’re not sure if they will get in front of their target audience.

This often leaves smaller-scale events in a difficult spot, as they may not be able to attract high-paying sponsors or a large number of sponsors.

The hybrid approach expands the audience size significantly, allowing sponsors to get in front of more people. Sponsors may also be able to participate in the event remotely. Event planners can offer sponsors different ways to participate, whether it’s an on-site booth, mentions of their brand during sessions, creating a branded virtual frame or graphic, or allowing them to moderate or host a breakout room, for example.

6. Increased exposure for sponsors

Successful events thrive on sponsorships, and a hybrid option can make your event even more appealing to sponsors. It instantly increases their exposure since their name will be seen by in-person and virtual attendees.

It also gives you more ways to work in your sponsors’ names throughout the event content. For example, if you are recording the presentations to make them available for on-demand replay, your sponsors gain exposure every time someone watches a presentation. That exposure lasts long after your event concludes. The more valuable a sponsorship seems, the more you can reasonably charge for it.

7. Return on investment

Event organizers look at every decision through the lens of ROI. They want to know if a decision will add value to an event or if it’s just nice to have but won’t necessarily increase revenue, attendance, or reach.

When it comes to hybrid events, the return on investment is substantially large. They’re more costly to create since you’re essentially creating two events. But you can easily offset these costs by expanding your event beyond four walls. Connect with more people who would have attended your event but didn’t have the physical means to do so.

You’ll also earn more revenue through increased sponsorships. Sponsorships can substantially offset the costs of hosting the event. Plus, it brings more credibility to your event, which can help increase signups.

And since your event becomes a preservable asset, you can continue selling webinars and other content to generate ongoing ROI.

8. Improved budget management

The dual-sided nature of hybrid events gives you more flexibility and control over costs. For instance, as your early registration gets underway, you can see what format your attendees are leaning toward and plan each one accordingly. If you notice more people are signing up for the virtual portion, you may be able to reduce your space size requirements and personnel needs.

Another example is if your in-person event costs start getting too high. When this happens, you may have to cut some of your planned activities in order to curb expenses. You can minimize the impact this has on your target audience by making these activities available in a virtual format, where they can still get the benefit of the activities in a different way.

Virtual events are by far cheaper to create and host. Offering both allows you to better balance your budget according to what your audience wants.

9. Environmentally friendly

Virtual events have very little impact on the environment. There’s no travel involved, no physical infrastructure required, and no disposables (e.g., catering materials, food waste, etc.) to consider. Attendees can get insightful information and grow their networks in an environmentally friendly way.

Face-to-face events are still important and serve a purpose in today’s business climate. However, if more attendees choose to attend virtually, the benefits to the planet increase substantially. As a result, you may be able to attract more environmentally aware attendees, allowing them to look more favorably at your brand.

10. Networking accessibility

Events are social affairs, plain and simple. When hybrid and virtual events first arrived on the scene, many organizers feared they would lose the social aspect. They weren’t sure how remote attendees could connect with each other, share stories, spark ideas, and foster relationships.

Those fears have largely been put to rest, thanks to corporate event software. A comprehensive event platform like Canapii builds networking into every hybrid event, making it feel intuitive and natural.

This makes it easy to not only tune into the speakers and presentations but also to other attendees. People can easily start conversations, whether on-site or remote. With the right event software, all attendees can:

  • Find other attendees at the event, either by name or interest

  • Get a list of suggested attendees to connect with

  • Request meetings with attendees, vendors, or speakers

  • Hold 1:1 or group conversations

  • Participate in breakout sessions

  • Share files

  • Contribute to a live chat feed

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Check out Canapii’s Audience Engagement features for more possibilities.

11. Accessibility for speakers

Hybrid events have a lot to offer your audience, but they can also benefit your speaker lineup, too. Just as anyone from anywhere in the world can tune into your event, speakers have that same luxury. They don’t have to find room in their schedule or pay for travel to participate.

This offers you a pretty advantage, too. If you’re used to paying speakers a presentation fee and travel costs, you may be able to cut the travel part. This frees up your budget to book more high-profile speakers that might have once been out of your reach. Or, you can use those savings to fund other parts of your event.

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12. Event analytics

Event software is the driving force behind hybrid events. It’s the vehicle that makes the physical/virtual blend a reality. Since some of your event is anchored with event software, you can use the same software to generate deeper insights about your event.

For example, Canapii facilitates everything from registration and marketing to event execution and follow-up. You can see real-time engagement metrics to track how your event is performing. Make tweaks on the fly to help spur greater engagement or create better experiences.

Real-time analytics also lets you forecast the success and ROI of your event before it concludes. This is a helpful tool in managing costs as you go, especially if you’re hosting a multi-day affair. Canapii captures every moment of the event and turns them into usable, actionable insights without the guesswork.

Canapii analytics grows in value over time. As you organize and plan events, you’ll have a full history of event data that can drive decisions and help you improve with every event. Win bigger and lose smaller over time so you can make every event even better than the last.

Want to see Canapii in action? Get a demo and see how Canapii makes it easy to transform your hybrid events!

Elliot

Elliot Jakobsen

Global Marketing Manager

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