2020 was a year of trial and error for the events industry. With venues around the globe closing their doors, exhibitors and event organizers were forced to adapt their event strategies to a virtual platform.
While some content-driven programs saw some success with the digital alternative, this was probably because their return on investment is based on outreach and education. Unfortunately, events that relied on closing business deals or networking with clients and partners experienced a mostly negative impact from the shift from in-person meetings in 2019 to almost entirely digital experiences in 2020.
Moving forward, as vaccines have been administered to over 800 million people worldwide as of April 13, we can expect virtual events to continue to adapt, but in a supporting role to live in-person events — a hybrid event.
The future of hybrid events
Although exhibitors and visitors remain enthusiastic for a return to in-person events, we’re all becoming increasingly receptive to digital options as the industry continues to adapt. It’s highly likely that even as the panic subsides, event organizers will continue to expand on their digital options — even after in-person events are back in full swing.
Because the pandemic has forced our hand into exploring more virtual options, a surprising percentage of visitors and exhibitors have attended virtual events like conventions and trade shows. And this remains true even though trade shows are particularly challenging to deliver virtually.
In fact, the percentage of virtual trade show attendees that believed they could conduct the majority of their event objectives online has grown from 5 percent in June to over 57 percent according to a survey conducted earlier this year by EventManagerBlog.com.
Not to mention that 2020’s PAX Online x EGX Digital event drew over 13 million unique visitors — 77 percent of whom voted for the inclusion of digital features in future live events.
Although in-person events are becoming possible in some places, many other popular event venues are still experiencing limitations due to local restrictions. From the most tech-fluent groups like the gaming community to more challenging virtual experiences like trade shows, virtual events have seen surprising success and should inspire confidence in the future of hybrid events.
Hybrid events are the perfect happy medium for an industry that is seeing a shift in dynamics globally. As millions of people are eager to attend events worldwide, hybrid events fill in the gaps and ensure no one is left out — not to mention they also ensure that safety measures are able to be followed.
Tips for hosting a hybrid event
Know your audience. Research shows that customers who have more experience with digital tools are more likely to have a positive attitude towards them. To put it simply, if you have a more tech-savvy audience, you can take advantage of more complex digital features.
Engage with your audience. Whether you’re hosting a completely virtual event or adopting a hybrid approach, you need to provide engagement on both sides of the screen. Take advantage of contests, polls, bonus content for online viewers, digital booths, webinars, and other features offered by the digital conferencing platform of your choice.
Expand your potential audience. Hybrid events open the doors for those who might not have originally been able to attend a simple in-person convention. Virtual accessibility means that if your event has value anywhere in the world, you can stream and encourage interaction from any and all of these regions.
Market your event as eco-friendly. A scaled-down physical attendance means lower carbon emissions, less waste, and a more environmentally-friendly approach. Adding eco-friendliness to your marketing campaign could help drive interest and build your brand.
The events industry has changed drastically in the past year and there isn’t any sign that it’s going to be recognizable in another year’s time. The best way for those in the events industry to allow for future adaptations is to move forward with a hybrid approach.
Although in-person events are still seen as the preferred choice from attendees to organizers, the pressure created by the pandemic to accelerate digital innovation has proven that further optimization between in-person experiences and virtual features is in store.
Rent Everything You Need for Meetings in 2021
Are you looking for a one-stop technology delivery directly to your business or convention center? You’ll have peace in mind knowing that Rentacomputer.com has the perfect solutions for events of all shapes and sizes.
We will help you create a custom rental package tailored to your unique necessities. With a technology rental from Rentacomputer.com, you’ll have peace of mind in knowing everything will be taken care of for you: from recommending and reserving equipment, to delivery and installation, and even troubleshooting and extra equipment.
Rentacomputer.com has a large stock of equipment ready to deliver including, but not limited to: temperature screening, sanitizing equipment, laptops, desktop computers, servers, tablets, smartphones, WiFi hotspots, Audio Visual equipment, and more. Not only can we deliver your rentals, but we also offer custom configuration and setup, so you know everything is in working order before, during, and after your event.
Furthermore, Randy can answer any questions you have about technology rentals–for any crowd volume, in any venue. Contact Randy today at 1-800-736-8772 ext. 225 or fill out a quick, easy online quote form.
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