Virtual events have been a lifeline in the events industry for the past few months, and many, if not all event professionals have pivoted to virtual, hashtag and all.
As mass gathering and travel restrictions ease, will virtual events simply disappear? We don’t think so.
Virtual events will simply pivot to hybrid events. Restrictions on mass gatherings and travel may be slowly loosening around the world, which means that slowly but surely live events will begin to come back. This does not, however, mean that the pandemic is over, and live events are going to look very different to how they once did and event planners will have to navigate this ‘new normal’ as it has been dubbed.
Organisers may face a few obstacles while planning their first live events such as; many attendees being unwilling or unable to travel or gather in large groups even once restrictions have been lifted. Budgets may have been cut, limiting event attendance to the virtual space. Another obstacle event planners may face is that they may not get the reach they want with a purely live event with the current social distancing rules impacting venue capacity, therefore by hosting a hybrid event you can still have a wide reach and make the event financially viable.
Hosting a hybrid event maintains the positive points that organisers have discovered about virtual events recently (for most) such as sustainability; virtual and therefore hybrid events are way better for the environment, affordability, and reach. There are other benefits to hosting a hybrid event, especially with virtual platforms such as OnAir. The transition from virtual to hybrid is seamless with the OnAir platform which will make the switch to hybrid easy and stress-free, as with a virtual event, you will still have access to the extensive reports and analytics, which have been a major benefit to hosting online events. Virtual platforms help to encourage active engagement between online and live attendees by using a social media platform that is linked to the event tech, for example, OnAir offers EventStream. This is a place for attendees to share their experiences and network with one another from the same room or from a distance.
During the event, your virtual attendees can still interact with the speaker or presenter as they would at a live event; by live Q&A and live polls. The MC broadcast function in OnAir allows for break announcements between sessions and is a great way to ensure virtual attendees feel connected during break times, despite what break time activities their live attendee counterparts are doing.
It is crucially important to partner with the correct people and companies when executing a hybrid event. For example, you can not simply set up a camera and live stream the feed to your virtual attendees via zoom. With OnAir, your online attendees will be kept engaged and be active participants in the hybrid event. By use of a virtual platform, you can ensure your hybrid event is a success.