Back to basics: hybrid events

In this blog post we will take a closer look at:

  • the definition of hybrid events
  • hybrid events as an alternative to in-person meetings
  • the business case of hybrid events 


The definition of hybrid events

Wikipedia defines hybrid events as follows: ‘a tradeshow, conference, unconference, seminar, workshop or other meeting that combines a "live" in-person event with a "virtual" online component’. It goes on to say that ‘hybrid events have become a popular way of increasing participation in traditional events’ and that they ‘also enable participation by people who might be unable to attend physically due to travel or time zone constraints or through a wish to reduce the carbon footprint of the event’. 

hybrid events

This first part of the definition has become general knowledge, but most people forget that ‘hybrid’ also refers to the nature of these events: ‘the open, participatory nature of unconferences and their focus on sharing content, makes them hybrid events too’.

This is where sustainability comes into play. In our view, a hybrid event, or actually any type of event, should be more than just a welcome one-off. It should be part of a deliberate strategy in which the benefits are reaped before, during and after it is held.


Hybrid events as an alternative to in-person meetings

Many conference organisers mistakingly think that the cost-effectiveness of events is the main reason to go hybrid. They equate online and hybrid with cheap and low-effort. However, even if cost is part of the equation, the second part of Wikipedia’s definition already hints at another element that is at least as -if not more- important: the open, participatory nature of these events.


Indeed, the hybrid alternative is not suited for just any type of event. It is important to first determine the nature (participatory or not), objective (e.g. share information, networking) and the target group (e.g. age, tech savviness) of the event. Once that is done, you can determine what type of meeting is best suited and will give the highest return on your investment. It may well be that in some instances hybrid events are not necessarily cheaper.

However, the bigger return in terms of achieving the pre-set objectives may make the higher investment worth your while. Event design has now evolved to the next level. The level where organisers go beyond pure cost calculations and start looking at what truly adds sustainable value.

The business case for hybrid events

It may be somewhat daunting to try and build a business case for your (hybrid) events if you have never actually done this before. That is where our experience with multilingual meetings -be they ‘live’, online or hybrid- comes in. Together with our customers we look at the communications objectives, current meeting type and schedule. We then select the meeting alternatives that we think match the strategy, and analyse whether the current meeting type and schedule is in fact the most suited to achieve the communication objectives. Once all the options have been carefully considered, we present the solutions that we think will yield the highest returns.

Do you want to get the most out of your events and do you think that hybrid is the way forward? Download our free white paper on hybrid events here. We cannot wait to hear about your wildest communication dreams and to make them happen!

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