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10 Ways to Boost Hybrid Events in 2023

Written by Niamh Conneely

14 min read  |  13/07/2023

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In recent years, a shift has occurred in the events industry, dramatically reshaping how we conduct conferences, exhibitions, partner retreats, trade shows – just to name a few. Enter hybrid events – the innovative fusion of in-person and virtual interactions. These have rapidly evolved from an emerging trend to an integral part of event strategies worldwide.

Statistics highlight the growing popularity and manifold benefits of hybrid events. These flexible, inclusive, and cost-effective events are set to take center stage.

hybrid events

In this article, we’ll explore the world of hybrid events, their benefits, and provide actionable tips to elevate your hybrid events in 2023. Whether you’re an event manager, marketer, or a business owner, this guide will equip you with valuable insights to harness the potential of hybrid events effectively.

What is a Hybrid Event, and why are they becoming more and more popular?

The hybrid events model is a powerful combination of in-person and virtual attendance, allowing participants to engage from anywhere globally. This isn’t a new phenomenon; Apple’s WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference) is a prime example of a hybrid event that has been functioning for years.

Hybrid Events are not new

hybrid events

Emphasizing the longevity of hybrid events, let’s understand that they aren’t a nascent concept. Apple, for instance, hosted its first hybrid event long before the term was coined. The tech behemoth’s keynote addresses, product launches, and workshops have been accessed by attendees physically and virtually, making it a paradigmatic hybrid events example.

The rise in popularity of hybrid events isn’t surprising. The global pandemic propelled a swift transition to digital platforms. However, the benefits of hybrid events – wider reach, flexibility, inclusivity, and cost-effectiveness – have contributed to their sustained prevalence. As per a recent report by EventMB, hybrid events saw a 250% increase in 2021, underlining their ever-growing appeal.

Another report from Bizzabo reveals that 68% of event professionals are looking for hybrid event technology that supports both in-person and virtual events, highlighting the increasing reliance on hybrid models.

hybrid events

Goldcast discovered on average, hybrid event participants attend 44% of the virtual event and 56% of the in-person event. In other words, if you just provide one sort of event, you’ll lose around 50% of the people who may come. More people can attend hybrid events because to their versatility. You can invite as many people as you wish to strengthen the list of participants on the actual event day by significantly increasing the number of pre-event registrations

hybrid events

Types of hybrid events

Understanding the types of hybrid events is integral to their successful implementation. Depending on the target audience, these can be categorized as internal or external hybrid events.

Internal Hybrid Events 

These events primarily cater to your organization’s internal stakeholders such as employees, leadership team, and staff. Given the challenge of gathering all internal stakeholders in a single location, hybrid events offer an effective solution. You can organize the event at a central location, such as your company headquarters, and live stream it to the rest of the organization.

Some common examples of internal hybrid events include:

  • Sales Kickoffs
  • Global Town Halls
  • Larger Team Meetings
  • Company Spirit Weeks
  • Corporate Events

External Hybrid Events 

External events target customers, prospects, and clients. Transitioning your live external events to a hybrid format can significantly increase attendance and reduce your event’s carbon footprint.

Here are some types of external events that are often adapted into hybrid format:

  • Conferences and Trade Shows – read this case study to see how this leading International law firm managed to customize an app for events and successfully changed the experience of conferences.
  • Customer Conferences
  • Product Demonstrations

By differentiating between internal and external hybrid events, you can better tailor your event strategies to meet your specific audience needs.

Hybrid Events and How They Fit in Your Event Strategy

If you haven’t yet considered incorporating hybrid events into your strategy, now is time to do so. The upward trajectory of hybrid events doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. As their influence continues to expand, creating a robust case for their integration into your event strategy.

When should you host a hybrid event? The answer is – anytime and anyplace. Hybrid events are not confined to a specific industry or event type. Whether you’re hosting a corporate conference, orchestrating a product launch, managing a fundraiser, or planning an academic seminar, hybrid events serve as a flexible and inclusive platform. They enable you to engage with a diverse audience across various geographical locations, eliminating the boundaries imposed by traditional in-person events.

But the benefits of hybrid events go far beyond breaking physical barriers. By combining the intimacy of in-person interaction with the reach of digital platforms, hybrid events promise a richer, more immersive experience for attendees. Hybrid events can increase attendance and add to organizations value proposition.

Furthermore, hybrid events drive tangible ROI. According to Markletic, 86% of hybrid events return a positive return on investment (ROI) for B2B companies after only 7 months thanks to additional income streams like digital ticket sales, virtual sponsorship packages, and wider reach. Plus, they provide invaluable data analytics that can help you measure event success and inform future strategies. To help get you started take a look at the top 10 best app builder to create a mobile app.

Hybrid events

In an era where adaptability, inclusivity, and innovation are key, hybrid events stand as a robust solution to evolving audience needs and expectations. As an event organizer or manager, embracing hybrid events means staying ahead of the curve, expanding your reach, and driving better results.

When to host a hybrid event?

The versatility of hybrid events makes them particularly attractive when traditional, in-person attendance isn’t possible. Here are some circumstances where attendees, who would usually be present on-site, might need to participate virtually:

  1. The attendee might be unable or unwilling to travel due to personal reasons or global circumstances like a pandemic.
  2. Budget constraints within the attendee’s organization could limit travel expenses, preventing them from physically attending the event.
  3. Physical venues often have capacity or accessibility limitations, prohibiting all attendees from gathering on-site.

Given these potential situations, it’s advisable to engage with your invitees before the event. Sending out a pre-event survey can help understand the preferences and restrictions of your attendees. If the feedback indicates a significant number who prefer or are only able to attend virtually, a hybrid event could be the most suitable approach. This way, you ensure inclusivity and participation, regardless of the circumstances, enhancing the popularity and demand for hybrid events.

Read this case study to see how a Top 30 UK Law firm switched from another solution to Fliplet and went from 40 minutes inputting the details for an event to getting an event live in the app in just 10-15 minutes.

For more on this from Fliplet, read our events budget template.

The 4 Pillars of Hybrid Events: Core Elements, Goals, Benefits, and Advantages

Understanding the four pillars of hybrid events is vital to harnessing their potential fully. These pillars – core elements, goals, benefits, and advantages – shape the framework of successful hybrid events.

Core Elements

The core elements of hybrid events encompass the live audience, virtual participants, content delivery, engagement tools, and the hybrid events platform. Selecting the right hybrid events software, such as Fliplet’s Event solution, is crucial to seamless execution. A reliable hybrid events platform can be fundamental to the seamless execution and success of the event. 

Goals

The goals of hybrid events vary according to the event type but typically include expanding reach, driving engagement, promoting inclusivity, and boosting ROI. Clear, measurable, and realistic goal setting contributes to an increase in event effectiveness. 60% of event managers believe that events are the most critical marketing channel for achieving business goals (Bizzabo, 2023). By defining and tracking your objectives, you can optimize your event strategy to deliver impactful experiences and meet your business goals. 

Benefits

The benefits of hybrid events are manifold. They promote accessibility and inclusivity by enabling participation from anywhere in the world. Gartner’s research reveals that hybrid events can improve attendance rates by 50% due to their flexible format. Additionally, these events provide valuable data analytics, generate diverse revenue streams, and are environmentally friendly – a factor highlighted by Event Manager blog, stating that hybrid events can reduce the carbon footprint by up to 70%. Take a look at the benefits of Fliplets event solution:

Advantages

Hybrid events carry a wealth of advantages. They facilitate wider reach, greater engagement, and cost-effectiveness. Bizzabo’s report suggests that hybrid events can extend audience reach by up to 3 times compared to traditional in-person events. They also foster high levels of engagement as hybrid events increase in attendee interaction in hybrid events. 

Research also suggests 68.7% of event professionals agree that using technology to improve the attendee experience is a trend with staying power (Knowland, 2022). Lastly, hybrid events provide a safety net in uncertain times, allowing organizers to switch formats effortlessly if required, thereby ensuring event continuity and minimizing financial risk.

hybrid events

Comparatively, hybrid events offer a unique blend of features not found in in-person or virtual events alone. They combine the vibrancy and networking opportunities of in-person events with the accessibility and convenience of virtual ones.

10 Tips to Create a Successful Hybrid Event

Creating a successful hybrid event requires careful planning and execution. Here are ten tips 

1. Gamification

Gamification is a powerful tool for driving attendee engagement in hybrid events. According to Pavegen, gamification can boost audience interaction by up to 48%. This could involve incorporating elements like polls, quizzes, interactive challenges, or leaderboards into your event. For example, you could host a virtual webinar, rewarding participants with points, and certificates for participating in polls and quizzes. This creates a fun, competitive atmosphere that encourages active participation and enhances the attendee experience.

2. Software

The success of your hybrid event largely depends on the software you choose. The right hybrid events platform ensures a seamless, interactive experience for both online and in-person attendees. Fliplet’s Event solution, renowned for its ease of use due to being able to create a mobile or web app for all your events, hybrid, virtual and in-person, making it a reliable choice. 

Fliplet’s Event solution includes key features you need to make your hybrid event a success such as, agenda, floorplan, chat, networking, Q&A, directory of speakers and attendees, gamification, polls, surveys, quizzes – the list continues. The solution also supports live streaming, networking and real-time analytics, enabling you to deliver a high-quality, engaging event. 

With Fliplet, you can build your hybrid event app in just 15 minutes, take a look:

3. Mobile App

88% of event-planning professionals agree that event apps helped get a better satisfaction level out of attendees, this could be a mobile app, web app or both. This comes as no surprise, considering the plethora of benefits a dedicated event app provides. It enhances the attendee experience by providing easy access to event schedules, speaker profiles, networking opportunities, and more. Moreover, it allows attendees to participate in polls, surveys, and live discussions, significantly boosting engagement levels. Take a look at the top 16 features of a successful mobile app.

With Statista predicting that mobile apps will generate over $935 billion in revenue by 2023, it’s clear that this trend isn’t slowing down anytime soon. Therefore, integrating a mobile app into your hybrid event strategy is a must.

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Download Fliplet’s Event Brochure for free.

4. Content

Content is the backbone of your hybrid event. The quality of your content significantly influences audience engagement and satisfaction. It’s crucial to curate informative, relevant, and captivating content that appeals to both your in-person and virtual attendees. Keep in mind that content doesn’t just mean presentations or speeches; it also includes videos, infographics, blog posts, whitepapers, and other resources related to your event’s theme.

hybrid events

5. Community

Building a community around your event can increase attendee engagement and foster a sense of belonging. You can leverage social media platforms, forums, and the event app to facilitate discussions, share updates, and encourage networking. According to a study by the Community Roundtable, 88% of communities impact member engagement positively, proving its importance in creating a successful hybrid event.

hybrid events

6. Sponsors

Sponsors play a critical role in supplementing your event budget and providing added value for attendees. However, securing sponsorships for hybrid events requires a shift in strategy. Virtual sponsor booths, sponsored sessions, branded games, or digital ads are excellent ways to offer value to sponsors. Remember to clearly communicate the benefits sponsors can expect, such as brand exposure, lead generation, and networking opportunities.

hybrid events

7. Analytics

With hybrid events, you have access to a wealth of data that can provide valuable insights into attendee behavior and preferences. Platforms like Fliplet provide real-time analytics that allow you to track participant engagement, attendance, session popularity, and more. Using this data, you can continually optimize your event for better results.

8. Calculate Your Cost & ROI

Understanding your expenses and potential returns is fundamental to successful event planning. Hybrid events typically involve costs related to the venue, technology, promotion, and personnel. Simultaneously, they can generate revenue through ticket sales, sponsorships, and merchandise. By calculating these figures, you can set realistic budgets, pricing strategies, and measure your event’s ROI accurately.

hybrid events

9. Ensure Technical Reliability

Nothing disrupts a hybrid event like technical glitches. Ensure that your internet connection is reliable, the audio-visual quality is top-notch, and the event platform or app is robust and user-friendly. A study by AMEX found 6 out of 10 organizers said their biggest challenges were lack of knowledge/experience with virtual tech & technical issues. Hence, it’s advisable to run some tests beforehand. 

hybrid events

10. Design a Seamless Attendee Journey

From the registration process to post-event follow-ups, each touchpoint of your attendee journey should be meticulously planned for both in-person and virtual participants. This includes easy registration, clear communication, interactive sessions, networking opportunities, and valuable resources. A well-designed attendee journey not only improves the event experience but also boosts attendee retention rates. 

According to Bizzabo, 75% of marketers believe attendee experience is crucial for event success. It’s important to remember here the attendee journey does not finish when the event ends, think about the journey you want them to take after the event as well. 

Watch this demo of Fliplet’s Event solution:

Five Pro Tips for Hosting a Hybrid Event

Balancing the needs of in-person and virtual attendees can be challenging. Here are some pro tips to help you deliver an exceptional hybrid event.

💡Find the right balance: Engage both online and in-person attendees by delivering interactive, accessible content.

💡Invest in reliable technology: Ensure a seamless experience by investing in reliable hybrid events technology and providing technical support. Read reviews and try the free version to ensure it meets your needs. 

💡Offer on-demand content: Provide recorded sessions for attendees in different time zones or those who wish to revisit the content. This also links to our tip number 10, designing a seamless attendee journey. Email attendees and those that couldn’t attend the content after the event has happened.

💡Maximize networking opportunities: Facilitate networking through breakout sessions, Q&As, and virtual meet-ups.

💡Train your team: Make sure your team is well-versed in managing both aspects of your hybrid event.

Checklist for a Successful Hybrid Event

Creating a successful hybrid event involves numerous tasks. Here’s a handy checklist to guide you:

  • Define your goals
  • Select a suitable hybrid events platform
  • Plan engaging, accessible content
  • Incorporate interactive elements like polls and quizzes
  • Secure sponsors
  • Leverage analytics to track performance
  • Calculate costs and ROI
  • Design an engaging attendee journey

Download the Ultimate Checklist to get you started.

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Becoming a Hybrid-Event Manager 

Orchestrating a successful hybrid event can be challenging if you are not prepared or have everything in place to help your event be a success. You need to create an agenda that appeals to both in-person and virtual attendees, ensuring an immersive and effective program. As you sculpt your hybrid event agenda, consider the following key questions:

What should be the duration of your sessions? 

Will they last for an hour? Half an hour? 15 minutes? Perhaps a mix of these? Striking a balance is crucial. Sessions need to be lengthy enough to convey all the prepared information, but also concise enough to keep virtual attendees captivated and involved.

How many sessions do you plan to host each day? 

Overloading attendees with information can be counterproductive. On-site participants may be open to attending more sessions, given their investment in traveling to the event. However, your virtual attendees might have a limited attention span in front of a computer screen.

A potential solution is to reduce the number of live sessions per day for your virtual attendees. Instead, provide a greater volume of on-demand content that they can access at their convenience. This way, you maintain engagement across the board, taking into account the unique needs of all attendees.

What are the benefits of event apps for your organization?

It’s time to harness hybrid

Embracing the hybrid model is no longer optional, but a strategic imperative that offers the promise of broader outreach, heightened engagement, and higher return on investment.

Hybrid events, combining the energy of live audiences with the reach of virtual platforms, offer unmatched flexibility and inclusivity. By implementing key strategies like interactive gamification, dynamic content, community-building activities, and a dedicated mobile app, event organizers can create an enriching experience that bridges the gap between in-person and remote attendees.

The role of a robust hybrid events platform, like Fliplet’s event solution, is instrumental in seamlessly integrating these strategies, enabling a synchronized blend of live and virtual experiences. Coupled with actionable analytics and ROI calculation, these tools empower organizers to make informed decisions that continually enhance the event, boost attendee satisfaction, and maximize event success.

For more on events and event marketing, read our blog.

Build your hybrid event app with a no-code app builder

FAQs

What are hybrid events?

Hybrid events are a blend of in-person and virtual events. They allow participants to engage in a live, physical gathering while simultaneously providing a platform for a wider audience to attend the event remotely, thanks to digital technology. This fusion creates an expansive and versatile platform for engagement and participation, breaking the barriers of location and accessibility.

What does "hybrid events" mean?

The term “hybrid events” refers to a format of event that combines two elements: a live, in-person event and a simultaneous virtual event. This means that a portion of the audience attends the event in person, while another portion participates remotely, via a digital platform. This innovative model allows event organizers to create an immersive and interactive experience for both types of attendees, thereby boosting audience reach and engagement.

How to plan hybrid events?

Planning hybrid events involves meticulous strategizing and execution. Start by defining the goals and objectives of your event. Next, choose the right technology platform and engagement tools that cater to both live and remote audiences. Create interactive and engaging content and facilitate networking opportunities for both attendee types. Remember to make use of analytics to measure event success and adjust your strategies accordingly. Finally, consider the logistics of the live event while also ensuring a seamless virtual experience.

How do hybrid events benefit organizers?

Hybrid events offer numerous benefits to organizers. They allow you to increase your reach beyond geographical constraints, providing an opportunity to connect with a global audience. Furthermore, they offer valuable data insights, which can help you understand attendee behavior and improve future events. Hybrid events also offer a safety net in times of uncertainty, like during a pandemic, allowing for flexibility in format changes.

What technology is needed for hybrid events?

Hybrid events require a variety of technologies, from a robust hybrid events platform to engagement tools and analytics. Key among these is a reliable hybrid events platform, like Fliplet’s event solution, which serves as the backbone for seamless integration of in-person and virtual components. Other necessary technologies include streaming equipment, audio-visual technology for the physical event, and a mobile app for enhancing the attendee experience.

How do I engage both in-person and virtual attendees?

Engaging both in-person and virtual attendees can be challenging, but with the right strategies, it’s achievable. This includes interactive elements like live chats, polls, and Q&A sessions that both types of attendees can participate in. You can also consider gamification techniques and networking opportunities to enhance the attendee experience.

How do I calculate the ROI of a hybrid event?

Calculating the ROI of a hybrid event involves understanding the costs associated with the event (like venue, technology, and marketing costs) and the revenue generated (like ticket sales, sponsorship, and post-event on-demand content sales). You should also consider the qualitative ROI, such as attendee satisfaction, brand awareness, and the value of data collected during the event.

What are the best practices for hybrid events?

The best practices for hybrid events include setting clear, measurable goals, choosing the right hybrid events platform, creating engaging content for both in-person and virtual attendees, utilizing a mobile app, leveraging the power of analytics, and effectively calculating costs and ROI. Each of these elements plays a vital role in the overall success of your hybrid event.

Niamh Conneely is the Content Writer and Marketing Executive at Fliplet – an app building platform that enables anyone to easily create engaging and interactive mobile and web apps.

Niamh has experience in content creation and writing and has achieved two level 6 awards for The Chartered Institute of Marketing. She has developed skills to help organizations deal with the challenges of a fast-moving marketplace. Connect with Niamh on Linkedin.