Although the UK is well on its way to reopening its in-person events scene, it’s still unclear whether events will look the same as pre-pandemic times. The hybrid event format – where some people attend in person and others attend online – is therefore set to be big this summer. Not only does it give you the best of both worlds, but it also makes for a handy virtual back-up plan in case restrictions change.
Hybrid event examples range from business conferences and e-sport gatherings to music festivals and virtual reality (VR) events. All it takes to switch an event to an online and offline model is a little bit of imagination – and it goes without saying that you should consult and comply with all government guidelines before hosting any in-person event.
Read on to find out why hybrid events are expected to be especially effective this summer.
More people can attend, even with restrictions
As we return to live events, venues may need to limit in-person attendee numbers to stick to social distancing guidelines. With an online option, you can avoid capping ticket sales by allowing people to attend from home. So how can you livestream an event that’s being held in person? Well, all you really need to do is make sure the venue has a fast internet connection, check your camera angles, and keep a couple of tech-savvy people on hand to resolve any glitches on the day.
Platforms like YouTube, Instagram Live, and Twitch make it easy to stream. But if you want to maintain an immersive atmosphere through the likes of chat functions and breakout rooms, try using platforms designed especially for virtual events, like Zoom or Vimeo. Many of the tools are already at your fingertips. For example, Eventbrite’s improved Zoom integration means faster load times and the ability to manage multiple Zoom links for multi-date events.
They’re more accessible
One of the big reasons why it still pays to host virtual events in 2021 is that they extend your reach. People from all around the UK – and the world – can dial into the online portion of your hybrid event. It’s not all about location, either. People with disabilities may feel more comfortable attending from home as there are fewer concerns about whether the venue is accessible. Even if you do all you can to make sure attendees feel secure, those who are a little anxious about mingling with big crowds may also feel better about attending remotely.
You can create long-lasting content
The cameras are rolling throughout your event. So as well as livestreaming, you can record content for people to enjoy again and again. There’s even the potential to monetise on-demand content by charging extra for lifetime access – this is especially useful for hybrid meetings and conferences where a lot of information is shared. Content can also be used in your marketing videos for future events.
You don’t need to spend as much money on large events like hybrid music festivals as you would if they were solely in person, so they often offer a higher return on investment. For example, you can choose a smaller location and sell more tickets online. And although there’s some outlay for recording and livestreaming equipment, it’s far less than the amount it would cost to hire a huge venue and a big security team. Reaching more people through hybrid events is also an additional selling point for your sponsors, who will relish the chance to get in front of more pairs of eyes.
If the past year has taught us anything, it’s that things can change in a heartbeat. We can’t take for granted that everything will be able to open fully this summer, but choosing to host a hybrid event gives you a contingency plan should the situation change again. Rather than issuing full refunds or cancelling the event entirely, you can change the in-person tickets to online access and continue largely as planned. Of course, guests will need to agree to this, so communicate it in advance and allow them to request a refund if they’re not keen on tuning in via livestream.
Are you ready to go hybrid?
Thanks to their flexible format, hybrid events can help to take the uncertainty out of the next few months. Best of all, there’s plenty of demand for this model. A recent Eventbrite survey of more than 3,000 consumers in the UK, the U.S., and Australia found that more than half of the respondents (53%) said they plan to attend both virtual and in-person experiences in the future. While some questions about changing regulations remain, it’s clear that there’s an audience ready for the virtual world of events, no matter what happens.
Create a seamless hybrid event with the help of our intuitive virtual events platform. And remember to stay up-to-date with the latest government guidelines when planning and hosting in-person events.