Virtual and hybrid events are a not a new thing, but COVID-19 saw a massive increase in hybrid and virtual events in many areas, such as –
- Training and education
- Business meetings
COVID-19 is still with us, but the impact on many of our lives has lessened. Physical events are happening. People are going to concerts and meetings and shows.
So, the need for hybrid and virtual events has now reduced, hasn’t it?
Far from it!
There has actually been a sharp increase in the number of online events.
Research by Redback Connect found that –
- 2/3 Australians attend six or more online events a month
- 4/5 Australians attend online events live rather than later through on demand
- Over ½ said that they planned to attend more online events in the coming year
- 4/5 also say that online events can actually be better than physical events
For anyone who is planning to run an event, a knowledge of virtual and hybrid events is therefore essential to keep on top of the changes in many industries, such as –
- Education and training
And other industries.
Before we look at reasons to offer online events, let’s briefly consider what we mean by virtual and hybrid events –
A virtual event is one that takes place online. For example –
- A business meeting where everyone attends via an online platform
- A concert that is viewed online
- An online conference
- A webinar
A hybrid event is one where there is an online and offline audience. For example,
- A concert may have a physical audience, but also an online audience
- A business meeting where some people are in the meeting room and others are attending online
- A training event that people can physically attend or attend online
But as people are now attending face to face events, why bother with virtual and hybrid events? Let’s look at some of the reasons why –
Face to face events offered people the opportunity to socialise. Humans are sociable creatures. We need to mix with others. Changes in technology have now offered people the opportunity to mix online. As a result, people are now more receptive to virtual events than they were in the past.
Virtual and hybrid events can be more convenient. A business with 600 employees may not be able to bring everyone to their head office for a meeting, but they could have a physical meeting for head office based staff and a virtual meeting for everyone else.
This saves in other ways –
- Reduced travel time
- Reduced costs
- People can meet up more often online than they might if they had to hold a physical meeting.
Anyone with a WiFi and device can attend a virtual event. This opens up our potential customers. People who would never consider travelling hundreds of miles to see a particular event could be perfectly willing to attend in their own home. This opens up your events to a new range of customers – people who may have wanted to attend before, but not had the time, money or energy to do it.
As well as reduced travel costs, virtual events tend to be cheaper than physical events. Costs can be reduced in a number of ways. For example –
- No need to hire or buy a large venue
- Less audio visual equipment may be required
- Less staff
- No need for catering
As well as reducing costs, there can be an increased income.
- If you run a hybrid event, you have customers who attend the physical event AND online customers, increasing the number of people attending your event.
- If you are running an online event, there is more potential to sell tickets. For example, if you hire a premises which seats 100 people, then only 100 people can attend. Online, any number can attend.
Live and On Demand
Events can be hosted live or on demand. This means that customers who cannot attend the live event can watch it afterwards. This potentially increases the number of people watching your event. For example, if you are based in Australia and have many customers in the UK, they can watch later rather than being put off due to the time difference.
Innovation and Experimentation
Virtual and hybrid events offer you the opportunity to be more innovative and experimental in your events. You can offer short videos, break out rooms, conferencing and so much more.
Growth in Virtual and Hybrid Events
As we saw earlier on in this blog, there has been a massive growth in the number of people attending virtual and hybrid events. Just to remind you –
- 66% of Australians now attend six or more online events a month
- 80% of Australians now attend events live rather than on demand
- Over 50% said they plan to attend more online events in the next year
- 80% said they prefer online events to physical events
This shows the massive potential for virtual and hybrid events –
- More people are attending virtual and hybrid events
- More people will attend virtual and hybrid events in the future
- AND more people prefer virtual and hybrid events to physical events
Ignoring the opportunities available for any business or organisation through virtual and hybrid events could potentially be catastrophic as more and more people move towards online events.
This growth in virtual and hybrid events is not exclusive to Australia. For example –
- In 2019 in the UK, the virtual events industry was worth $3.1 billion. It is estimated that it will be worth over $36 billion by 2027.
- Last year, the America virtual events industry was worth US $12 billion. By the end of this year, it is anticipated that it will be worth a massive US $139 billion!
This is massive growth in many countries.
So, as well as an increase worldwide, we also see a potential global market for our events. More people worldwide are watching live virtual events.
People no longer have to travel to another country to see a band, or attend a conference or listen to a famous speaker. They can do it in the comfort of their own home from anywhere in the world.
So, another advantage of offering hybrid and virtual events is that you have increased your potential customers to, well, basically anyone in the world who has access to WiFi and a device.
When running a hybrid or virtual event, an event planner may be worried about the increased workload. Running a hybrid or virtual event is not necessarily easier and may require some additional work, but it can be a great way to –
- Increase potential customers
- Reduce travel and other expenses
- Be more innovative and experimental in the way in which you run events
The benefits of running virtual and hybrid events far outweigh the disadvantages.
Find out more about planning and running virtual and online events with our brand new course HERE .