The benefits of exploring and hosting hybrid events.

With most people vaccinated, is a future of live events the best move? Or is living life on the hybrid side the way to go? By Julia Marchionda.Every day, life is starting to look a little bit closer to how we remember it. Now that 60% of Canadians are double vaccinated (as of writing this article), it begs the question… when will events as we knew them return? We aren’t quite in the post-pandemic clear zone, but the prospect of going to see your favourite artist in concert, out to a bar with your friends, or simply being able to visit your loved ones without the scary reality of the pandemic looming over is really exciting!

As event and entertainment professionals, we feel it’s our place… nay, duty, to share with all of you what we think the future holds for events. So without further ado, here are our predictions.

Virtual Events: Here To Stay

One of the most significant takeaways from the last year and a bit is that we can do a lot remotely, even facilitating virtual events. The event industry as a whole had to pivot overnight, and that transition was pretty incredible to witness. And we aren’t just saying that as members of the industry – we really mean it! We are very excited to help you book talent for your first live event back, but we predict that virtual events are here to stay.

In an interview with Boston University Today, Joanne Dennison, an adjunct professor at BU’s School of Hospitality Administration, explains that a well-run virtual event takes as much planning and consideration as an in-person event. Dennison urges marketers and event professionals to consider elements beyond logistics like how to make the event interesting and entertaining. Booking a speaker whose work is relevant to the theme of the event is a great way to ensure a memorable experience for attendees.

According to a September 2020 report from BrightTALK, one-third of marketers reveal that virtual events have become a core part of their marketing strategy. This is a very interesting detail, especially considering that 72% of marketers did not have a virtual event strategy prior to the pandemic. Additionally, 89% of event organizers report that virtual and hybrid events will be part of their long-term strategy, so if you weren’t convinced before, you are now.

Hybrid Events: The Cronut Of The Event World

Hannah Montana said it first, but you really do get the best of both worlds with hybrid events. Attendees are able to have the experience of a live event (if they so choose), combined with the flexibility of being able to join virtual events from the comfort of wherever they are. Successful hybrid events are ones that provide a consistent and seamless experience for the attendee.

Here are some benefits of hybrid events, according to Aventri:

  • Increased reach and attendance
  • Greater audience engagement
  • Easier access to data and insights
  • Enhanced event flexibility
  • Reduction of environmental impact

By holding a hybrid event, you don’t have to choose between experiences. But if you’re looking for talent to take the physical or virtual stage, explore our roster.

In-Person Events: The OG

We know. An in-person event sounds like a concept from a time long ago. Will we even remember how to act at these things? Or will it be different yet familiar, like getting on a bike for the first time in a long time? Based on some of the events we’ve seen so far, we’re thinking the latter. In addition to all the usual things to consider when planning your event, safety will be a high priority, if not at the top of your list.

A recent article from Forbes proposes a stoplight system for attendees to communicate their comfort level with maskless contact and/or communication in close quarters. Providing attendees a way to let people know what they are and are not comfortable with without needing to say it would likely improve the experience across the board.

In-person events may not be produced on the same scale as they previously were. Dennison predicts that we will see smaller regional events versus large national or coastal events. It is likely that in-person events will be presented in a hybrid format as they allow attendees greater comfort and flexibility.

There’s still quite a ways to go before we see in-person events like we did pre-pandemic, but we are optimistic about the outlook for our industry.When you’re ready for it, what will your first live event be? Anyone you’re looking to see live ASAP? You should convince your company to hire someone for your next virtual or hybrid event (wink wink).