Hybrid events have risen in popularity exponentially over the past couple of years with some of the biggest companies such as Apple and Twitch, getting in on the action.
However, regardless of the size of your meeting, from the dozens to the thousands, it can sometimes be quite tricky to know where to start when you’re toying with the idea of hosting your own hybrid event
Here we share the most common forms of hybrid events and examples of the biggest hybrid events of 2021 to help you get into the limitless world of hybrid meetings.
What is a Hybrid Event?
A hybrid event is an event that combines both live in-person and virtual elements, tailored to both audiences to provide a seamless experience. Hybrid events allow attendees to participate from anywhere in the world. This gives attendees more flexibility and more opportunities for collaboration. Hybrid events are a perfect example of how you can make your corporate events more sustainable.
One of the main advantages of hosting a hybrid event is its ability to reach wider audiences while reducing costs associated with travel and accommodation. Participants who are unable to attend physically can still join virtually through live streaming and interactive online calls.
Common Hybrid Event Examples
Hybrid events are perfect for meetings and company events, both internal and external. They can include:
Marketing and sales events
Hybrid events are a popular choice due, in part, to their extended reach and longevity. Virtual content can continually be accessed and viewed which increases the number of people the content can reach.
With online polls, feedback forms and viewer tracking, it is easier than ever to gain feedback and opinions on what was effective and make sure the next event is always an improvement on the last.
Equally importantly though, they also allow flexibility for the delegate and the event organiser. Be it travel restrictions, green travel concerns or just the lack of ability to attend the meeting that day in person, hybrid means live attendees can go digital (and vice versa) at the flick of a switch; reducing the risk on the event and increasing peace of mind for the organiser.
What Does a Hybrid Event Look Like?
A hybrid event is an event that grants attendees the freedom to attend either virtually or in-person. A hybrid approach can easily be applied to a variety of different events such as conferences and meetings.
With hybrid events, it is important to not only keep your in-person attendees engaged but your virtual attendees engaged too.
A typical hybrid event should feature a couple of different aspects to keep its audience engaged, especially with virtual attendees having an assortment of distractions surrounding them at home.
Live content that can be accessed on-demand
Think of live content during a hybrid event like a broadcast on television. You can watch the content live but the content can also be watched on-demand after the broadcast. This is handy in case viewers miss something or want to watch the broadcast again.
Polls and Q&As
Polls and Q&As help remote audiences feel involved and part of the event as if they were there in person.
Contributing to polls and Q&As allow the digital audience to participate effectively and make them feel part of something rather than just someone watching behind a screen.
Networking and engagement tools
With streaming platforms comes networking tools and chat functionalities to keep virtual audiences engaged. Fun networking tools can be things such as chat boxes, avatars, profile creation, video and separate 1-2-1 meetings.
Holding separate breakout sessions from the main event allows digital audiences to break off and network in smaller groups as if they were at an in-person event. This gives a more personal feel than just being one of many people watching a live stream behind a screen.
The Best Hybrid Event Examples of 2020s
So far this decade, we have seen some incredible event industry trends, with hybrid events being at the forefront. In no particular order, here are our top picks for the best global hybrid events to start the 2020s.
Now, we’re aware that not every event has these budgets or even wants to work on these scales. What is interesting though is how they fuse digital and live to create engaging experiences for everyone.
Regardless of the scale, this is something that great hybrid events can do.
Apple’s Special Event
One of the top hybrid events of 2021 was none other than Apple’s Special Event.
Apple’s events have famously always been ahead of their time with the events consistently being live-streamed yearly to consumers around the world to introduce their latest range of new Apple products.
Demonstrating products to millions of people simultaneously through a hybrid event is an impactful and powerful move from Apple.
Apple truly shows the power of hybrids when it comes to making their product announcements.
TwitchCon is hosted in San Diego and is big on bringing an entertaining hybrid experience for those that are unable to travel to meet their favourite streamers.
TwitchCon features live entertainment, meet-and-greets and gaming tournaments. Twitch recognises its huge online audience and uses its platform to stream this content to its viewers worldwide.
For a company with streaming at the core of its business, it would be a peculiar choice for them to not have any hybrid aspects to their events.
One of the first major hybrid conferences that took place in 2021 was Empower’s 21 conference. Both in-person and virtual attendees were given access to the event.
Virtual attendees could interact with each other, view the itinerary and speaker agenda and more. Attending virtually meant those that were not comfortable enough attending in-person, in relation to the pandemic, had full access at home.
This event proved that hybrid events really can provide the best of both worlds by showing that in-person events can be held safely but with added accessibility of being able to attend virtually.
A top hybrid event example from the world of B2B is Moz Con. Moz Con is a digital marketing conference that records all of its talks and sessions that were held in person.
Recording all of the event’s content means that a wider audience can also access the latest trends across SEO, digital marketing and content writing that was spoken about at the event.
Having all of the content available after the event is useful for both those that attended in person and those who viewed the content online.
Riot Games’ League of Legends Tournaments
Riot Games and its annual League of Legends World Championship has a huge reach, so going hybrid was a no brainer for their tournaments.
Riot Games monetises its events through having sponsors such as Bose and Spotify. These sponsors are ideal when it comes to paying for such high tech equipment to make their events hybrid.
For example, in 2019 the final of the tournament took place in Paris in front of 15,000 fans but the tournament’s hybrid aspects brought in more than 100 million viewers with a peak of 44 million watching at once.
Why Hosting a Hybrid Event Can Be Beneficial
Adding hybrid elements to your event could be hugely beneficial depending on the goals of your event.
Hybrid aspects boost engagement massively. If your attendees are interacting and engaging, that's all you can ask for. Forms of engagement can include questions, chatting through a chat box, sharing on social media and additional feedback.
Putting your event’s content online enables attendees to view your content long after the event has finished, which increases its reach.
As touched on previously, hybrid events are also highly sustainable practices. By cutting out factors like unnecessary travel, you can reduce the total carbon emissions your event is responsible for.
For more information on hybrid events as a whole, check out our handy blog post on how you can achieve virtual success with hybrid events.
Ready to Execute Your Own Hybrid Event Idea?
Organising a hybrid event takes forethought, planning and technology but it all becomes worth it in the end.
If you’d like to find out more about the equipment used for our hybrid events, check out our hybrid meetings event page for more information.
Alternatively, you can contact our team today on 0808 168 5876, or get in touch via our enquiry form for more information.