There has been a lot of debate going on as to what the world around us would look like once COVID-19 regressed and our day-to-days would go back to some type of “normal”. From 2020 to now, our expectations of “normal” continue to change. No matter who you are or what you do, we have all been impacted by the last couple years to some degree.
You do not need to read a blog post to know that the infrastructure of events has gone through drastic changes. From fully remote conferences during the height of the pandemic to highly regulated in-person gatherings, we have seemed to finally find a happy middle ground in hybrid events. Once thought of as a temporary solution, it has now become common for companies to embrace virtual and remote options for a variety of reasons. Let’s discuss what hybrid events are and why they are here to stay.
Hybrid Events, Explained
Going into what hybrid events actually are is a bit trickier than the simple definition of “hybrid”. Firstly, the basic explanation is that a hybrid event is an event that brings people together at a physical venue, while simultaneously allowing a virtual audience to attend remotely through a variety of means. The initial purpose was for event organizations to comply with the restrictions laid forth by both local and federal governments, as events could safely hold a very limited number of people at one time.
Hybrid events have shown resilience, though, primarily due to allowing others to participate via virtual access. This ensures the event is still inclusive to all interested. The expectation back in 2020 was that this type of event would begin to subside and dwindle as the pandemic did, but events are still being consistently created and organized with virtual options in mind.
A common misconception is that hybrid means organizers have to come up with two different types of events simultaneously. That is not the case! There are most certainly additional steps to take and more considerations to have, but it is still a singular event that needs to keep both physical and virtual in mind as plans are being developed. The key to hybrid events is planning ahead of time to know the scope of how intuitive you want this event to be.
Successfully integrating both groups seamlessly is a challenge, but one that organizers should find extremely satisfying should they pull it off.
2 Years Later… How Are Hybrid Events Still Relevant?
Beyond what has been previously stated, there are several reasons as to why remote participation is still prevalent. The most obvious reason is that COVID-19 has not and will not disappear overnight. Different strains continue to surface, and cases are spiking and waning on a monthly basis. Travel restrictions have been lifted and removed internationally and even from state-to-state in the U.S. Any attempt to shift to a completely in-person event risks the possibility of the entire event having to be postponed or canceled if the risk of spreading COVID-19 intensifies. Maintaining a hybrid approach allows for more flexibility should conditions require it. While bigger events and event organizations are wanting – and have started – to return to fully in-person gatherings, allowing virtual participation is still a sensible choice.
Hybrid has been around longer than the beginnings of the pandemic, however. A big example of a company that has embraced hybrid long before is none other than Apple. Most fans of their products are already well aware of the live and on-demand presentations they host annually. Twitch, an online streaming platform that caters towards video game and vlogging communities, has done the exact opposite. What is normally an entirely-remote group of people has the chance to get together during their yearly conference TwitchCon, all while streaming the in-person to those who could not or did not want to attend.
In local businesses, conferences often offer ‘daypasses’ or ‘online access’ behind paywalls for presentations or material. This means it expands your audience from local audiences to ones not restricted by distance. If executed properly, this can allow a larger audience for your events, both for one-day or multi-day events.
This all goes to show that hybrid events have had a useful place in the world before COVID-19 entered all of our lives. They are more useful than ever now!
Are You Looking to Host a Hybrid Event?
Now that you know a little bit more about hybrid events, why they are important and why they will continue to be important, have you confirmed you will be needing one of your own? As mentioned earlier, planning and organizing for one can be tricky for first-timers or those with minimal experience.
TLC is here to help! Let us help you extend your company’s reach to new heights by elevating your conference to allow for hybrid involvement. We have the resources and knowledge to know what tools are required to successfully run such a complex type of occasion.
Be sure to contact us here when you are ready to move forward. Our free one-hour consultation will ensure we understand your needs, objectives and budget so that we can prepare a modernized event that takes advantage of everything discussed in this post. We look forward to hearing from you!