Why are hybrid events so popular?

Not so long ago, many event planners actively avoided going hybrid for fear of ‘cannibalising’ their face-to-face meetings and events.

Today, however, both planners and their clients are increasingly embracing hybrid events as the new formula for success.

Comprehensive industry research, including a study from MPI released as early as 2012, suggests that hybrid events are more likely to exceed return on objectives and that face-to-face attendance actually increases when a hybrid element is added.

 It’s easy to see why hybrid events are growing quickly in popularity!

The role of a hybrid event
A typical hybrid event involves a physical, onsite event complemented by online viewing: either through live streaming, on-demand video access following the event, or both.

Here are our top five reasons why going hybrid could improve the performance of your next event:

1. Hybrid events improve the overall delegate experience

Rather than enticing potential attendees to stay at home and tune in online, adding a hybrid element will simply improve the overall delegate experience. Attendees will now be able to access sessions that they may have missed, or review the sessions they found most relevant as many times as they need.

2. Hybrid events amplify the reach & impact of your key messages

Important stakeholders who would not have been able to attend the event due to time or economic issues can now access key content, while delegates can review content long after the closing session is over – dramatically expanding both the life-cycle and reach of your key messages.

3. Hybrid events are time & cost-efficient

With many companies enforcing travel restrictions and budget cuts, hybrid events are an extremely cost- and time-efficient way to expedite your key messages, team-buildings and trainings.

4. Hybrid events create new revenue streams
Digitising your meeting content can also provide a significant new revenue stream. A number of major scientific meetings not only offer non-attendee participants paid for online access, they also create different access models for attendees, with full access to conference presentations included in the highest fee.

5. Hybrid events are more sustainable
Hybrid events not only reduce carbon emissions from travel, they also open up meetings to those who would otherwise have been unable to attend. This is particularly important for the participation of attendees from low-and middle-income countries.

Making hybrid work for you
Hybrid approaches work perfectly for a whole range of events. Here are just a few examples of the hybrid events that we’ve organised for very different clients, with great results:

FIBA: A Dynamic Hybrid Event for Live and Online Audiences
Adapting the complex structure of the FIBA HQ to a live event format while broadcasting to over 4,000 online viewers.

ESPEN: Creating a New Revenue Stream
Increasing the life-cycle of the European Society for Clinical Nutrition & Metabolism (ESPEN)’s congress and making a profit of over €80,000 (US$87,000) through a Global Content Dissemination service.

Killarney: Building Community with Hybrid Events
Delivering an innovative hybrid meeting to demonstrate the power of digital engagement and promote Killarney as a leading business meetings destination.

Cathie Cusin is Chief Operating Officer Europe & Vice President, Meetings & Events at MCI Group

This is a version of an article that was published on the MCI blog.

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