Hybrid events: preparing for a more digital future

By: Camilo Caicedo

Hybrid events are the format of the future, expanding the possibilities of integration between brands and clients, however, the demands are greater since both audiences, both face-to-face and virtual, must experience the same level of interaction in each experience offered.

The pandemic has left an atmosphere of fear in some in the face of the participation of physical events, and although the situation will gradually be overcome, it will take some time to eliminate that distrust from the referent of many. Faced with this new reality, hybrid events emerge as the most appropriate strategy for B2B and B2C companies to continue executing their strategic communication and marketing plans. 

Hybrid events are those that combine physical and virtual experiences, in which participants can access exhibitions, talks, seminars, or commercial samples in person or online. Because the audience is mixed, the optimization of content and experiences are essential to maintain the interest of the attendees in each stage, generating greater challenges for event organizers. However, beyond the logistical implications, which are easily overcome with a good choice of a service provider, the benefits and possibilities of developing hybrid events are innumerable.

Offering solutions to all audiences

Undoubtedly, what has been experienced in recent months has left a very fragmented view of social interactions; Some have the latent desire to resume their interpersonal relationships and business events, however, another group is still afraid of moving to large stages that involve sharing spaces with other people. It is precisely this situation that has inspired the “drive to fun” concept implemented by companies in the entertainment sector, from cinemas and theaters to concert organizers, creating spaces in which people can share the same place under certain biosafety protocols, but in which the physical interaction is minimal.

This panorama makes, for the events industry, hybrid meetings and congresses the most efficient neutral space for companies to connect with all types of audiences, offering alternatives for both physical participation, through events with controlled numbers of attendees and virtual through special platforms.

Keys to success in a hybrid event

As I mentioned at the beginning, the challenges for developing hybrid events are greater, which is why I would like to share with you some keys that you should include in planning and execution for your event in a mixed scenario.

  • Hybrid events are not just a matter of implementing technical tools; it takes a key strategy and concept to succeed.
  • Content is king. Since virtuality transcends physical barriers, you will be able to offer content with guests of the highest level, which will make your event much more attractive.
  • No participant should be “punished” for not being able to attend the live event, therefore, even if the format is different, the virtual stage should offer experiences that are as impactful and relevant as if they were in person.
  • Select companies with enhanced technology platforms that ensure the level of experience your company wants to deliver.
  • To succeed in a large-scale hybrid event, technology must be foolproof. Stable connection and state-of-the-art rugged routers are needed to ensure interrupted connections.
  • For the face-to-face scenario, a detailed biosecurity protocol must be established for both staff and attendees.

 Finally, I would like to leave it in mind that this situation should be an opportunity to build new models of improved events that allow the most successful positioning of brands. The reality is that digital technologies will dominate business environments during and after the pandemic, redefining work cultures and lifestyles to make way for more innovative tools and experiences.