2020 was the year of cancellations followed by a different way to conduct meetings – virtually. As we rolled into 2021 virtual events were still dominating the meeting landscape. Everyone is anticipating hybrid to be the next step. It’s a bridge between virtual and in person. There are plenty of benefits including different ways to reach your audience, the ability to reduce in-person attendance in order to keep socially distanced and offering safety and comfort to those who rather attend virtually. These are just some of the reasons to host a hybrid event and for these reasons and more hybrid has a lot of appeal. But will organizations embrace hybrid events the same way they had to adopt virtual events? That remains to be seen.
In producing a hybrid event, two event experiences need to be created. As a result more goes into a hybrid event making it more complex and more of an investment. While there are ways to make a hybrid event less complex and less expensive these two factors will come into consideration and influence the final decision in how an organization moves forward with their events this year.
Hybrid is the talk but something we are also seeing is simply going with a smaller, in-person event or moving the event outdoors where guests can really spread out and are safer to gather. Will hybrid be a thing moving forward? Yes. But this will surely evolve into something less complex and better for the budget while remaining more inclusive.
Years ago, when video conferencing became a reality there was a concern that it would replace in-person events. It absolutely did not. People did not embrace the hologram of the individual speaking to appear as though they were in the room with you. And vitual events were met with a ho-hum response. In fact, in the years that followed in-person events only picked up speed and became the number one way to market to your intended audience – over social or any other type of of marketing. We didn’t go virtual because we wanted to, we went virtual because we had to. And from that, as with any major change, we will come out of this with new ideas and better, more efficient ways to meet and move business. If nothing else, the rise of virtual has forced us to embrace something that was given so little attention (by comparison) in the past to how we can use the technology to enhance the experience.
As event producers we embrace this oppportunity and as always we will mold it into experiences you have yet to see.