By Martina Ori
A hybrid event combines an in-person gathering with a virtual online component. Google Trends shows that the term has existed since 2010 to differentiate events with both an in-person and an online component from those events that were either virtual or in-person only. Yet in just a short time, technology has transformed the events landscape to such an extent that most events are already hybrid, and soon all events will be as they turn into truly multi-sensory experience.
Indeed, technology opens up a whole new universe of engagement opportunities through streaming, event mobile apps, augmented reality, and, most recently, online 3D immersive platforms and virtual reality in general. So what to do to make the most of your hybrid event?
- Market the virtual component as an integral part of the package you provide. Organizers need to think of technology as the compass that guides participants through the event experience and enhances it with previously unthinkable opportunities. A holistic approach saves marketing time and money, and shows participants that the two components are really complementary, as both are needed to make the most of the event.
- Turn the virtual add-on into a unique multiplier for your event(s). Engaging and expanding a community online with regular virtual initiatives year round is the best way to market your next event edition. It is also a great opportunity to get new partners, sponsors, exhibitors and speakers onboard throughout the year, thus extending the duration of the marketing and sales campaigns. People in turn will remain up-to-date on industry trends and make new relevant connections online, and your virtual arena will become an industry point of reference.
- Effectively communicate the real value of the virtual component. A virtual add-on takes online advertising, web-based lead generation and content marketing to the next level, to an extent that it would never be possible with a simple website, thanks to the most accurate and insightful analytics and the most on-target, qualified and effective lead generation. Don’t take it for granted, make sure people know it.