Will hybrid meetings become the new normal for the meetings and events industry?
Yes, our prediction for the reopening of live events includes many companies learning about and implementing hybrid meetings. A hybrid meeting is a tradeshow, conference, seminar, workshop, or other meetings where some of the audience are in-person together and other participants are virtual for the same event. The MB4 Productions team has been producing hybrid meetings for quite some time now, but to many event planners, this will be a new concept. This article will explain why we think hybrid meetings are the next tool to put in the arsenal of event planning skills.
With the fog of Covid-19 starting to lift and stay-at-home orders lightening up, live events will no doubt be scheduled. There will be some audiences who are ready to get out of the house and back into the face-to-face game. There will also be those who will not travel to conferences for a myriad of reasons from safety concerns to company policies or spending freezes. With the correct planning, equipment, and support event content can be near-simultaneously shared with both live and online audiences. Depending on the set-up and cost, virtual participants can not only view a presenter’s slides but hear the presenter, and see the presenter in real-time via live streaming video.
Oftentimes, in-person and virtual attendees participate in the same session concurrently. Hybrid Meetings do offer a series of complex scenarios however and can allow entire audiences to participate in one session in-person and another session virtually as hybrid meeting speakers can be remotely streamed in as well. For the purposes of this article, we will keep it simple and stick to the first example mentioned.
What are the Advantages of Hybrid Meetings?
1. Reach a Larger Audience
Hybrid events can expand an event reach allowing attendees to choose how they participate. It is common for busy professionals to opt for virtual participation but enjoy the content enough to commit to future in-person attendance.
2. Combat Poor Registration Numbers
This is a very real possibility in the current event climate. The risk-takers who decided to press on with live events may see low registration numbers. Adding a hybrid component can capture attendees that weren’t able to attend due to a scheduling conflict, travel time, costs, or other reasons.
3. Meeting Space Limitations
In a standard year, this is a more likely problem to have as an event planner. If an event sells out, don’t turn potential attendees away, give them the alternate option by adding a hybrid component.
4. Mitigate Costs
Not only can hybrid meetings decrease travel expenses and logistical costs, but they can also increase the event reach while decreasing the overall cost-per-head of the event.
5. Increase Revenue
Virtual meeting elements can absolutely be a revenue source. If the live conference has a registration fee, the virtual ticket should also be considered as a value. Charging a small fee or selling virtual tickets as an add-on for executives to include their teams back at the office is a fantastic way to boost show proceeds. Virtual viewing also provides a new space for sponsor exposure, even sponsor messages during breaks.
6. Enduring Content
Hybrid events by the nature of the technical set-up required will likely be well-positioned for video recording providing a host of recorded content that can be made available post-event. The recorded content can be free to incentivize future events or provide brand exposure. The content can also be gated, provided to viewers for a small fee, or with lead registration.
We see technology as a great resource for event planners. It can be used to bring wonderful ideas to life. Event technology in particular is the most effective if it is used to solve tangible business problems. As the world reopens from this global pandemic, we think hybrid meetings will be a solid choice to bring audiences together no matter where they are in geography or social comforts. Let’s discuss future programs. Our team is here to help. Check out our other useful articles and webinars here on MB4 LIVE.