As the business landscape continues to grapple with the ongoing global restrictions, attention is turning towards kickstarting economies and returning to something resembling normality. Unfortunately, it is likely to be a while before this takes place and businesses continue to remain agile in an ever-evolving landscape.
The high profile return of the GSMA’s Mobile World Congress in June is one that is being watched with interest, as it signals the return of large-scale events to the business calendar.
For many companies, the opportunity to meet, exchange ideas and do business with others within their sector is crucial. It is often one of the most effective methods for lead generation purposes, meaning that turnover and profits have been impacted since the start of 2020.
Scepticism remains as to how many attendees will actually participate in the event and if it will even go ahead as planned. However, one difference this year compared to when it was cancelled last year is the incorporation of hybrid elements, meaning that attendees will be able to partake both in-person and online.
What are hybrid events?
Hybrid events provide organisers with the possibility of providing attendees with all the benefits of both an in-person and virtual event. The physical event still takes place with booths and people doing business, but there is also a strong online aspect for those who are unable to attend in person.
The current ongoing restrictions mean that this is imperative for both organisers of events and businesses themselves as they continue to navigate through an ever-evolving situation. Event organisers have realised that they need to remain flexible and cater to the demand for businesses wishing to participate via both channels.
Ensuring that the in-person aspect is retained is essential. People enjoy connecting with each other, meeting up with old contacts and sharing memories and updates on their business. Maintaining this in-person communication is essential for amplifying interaction; when executed well, hybrid event solutions can prove truly memorable experiences that can transform your business.
Why hosting a hybrid event can create a strong ROI
Even in non-pandemic times venues have limited capacity for attendees but with hybrid events you open up your events to attendees from around the world. This will ensure that your event is more desirable to both businesses exhibiting and those attending for networking purposes.
When you remove the need to travel, especially internationally, your event is going to have a broader appeal. You can then take advantage of this in future through increased sponsorships or other revenue-generating initiatives.
When hosting an event online you are able to incorporate virtual elements, such as on-demand content that eliminates calendar conflicts and overcomes issues with attendees in different time zones.
This means your audience can access the content when and where they want, which will lead to increased engagement and extends the event beyond the day on which it is held. You can even use this content as a lead magnet or make it downloadable for a price, aiding revenue generation of the event further.
Data to utilise
Hosting an event online means that you are have the advantage of benefiting from a plethora of data that can be gleaned and analysed to determine how successful your event has been and whether you achieved your targets.
You are also provided with a breakdown of the attendees, which can then be segmented to gain insights, including profiles of those who are most likely to attend for future marketing campaigns to increase interest in your event.
This can also be used to gain insight so as to improve future performance and offerings, as well as better understanding your target audience.
Hybrid events offer the best of both worlds when it comes to networking. Those physically attending the event are able to engage with fellow attendees and businesses that are exhibiting. Those that are attending online have a range of options to ensure that they are able to benefit from just as many networking opportunities.
Attendees can watch talks online on platforms that facilitate engagement and networking online. This can be achieved through one-to-one chats or via virtual break-out rooms where attendees can speak as a group away from others to discuss aspects of the event or business opportunities.
If you have the capacity to integrate social media into your hybrid event you will be connecting participants from around the globe and increasing the reach of your event via social media. This will also provide social proof and encourage others to attend in the future and to ensure that it is a long-term success.
Incorporating hybrid elements can assist in enhancing your events reputation through bringing in more attendees and helping to make it more appealing to companies and those interested in your event’s sector.
This has the added benefit of attracting bigger companies to exhibit in the future and more respected keynote speakers, making your event more renowned and respected within your industry.