Are Hybrid Events the New Norm?

It has been nearly two years since the world was changed irrevocably by a global pandemic and while many industries are rebounding, the events industry is one that has been irrevocably changed. From a sustainability perspective, not all of the changes are a bad thing - we have learned how to do more things from a virtual perspective, thus reducing our carbon footprint. As event planners, how we survive depends on how well we adjust to the changes and make use of the technology that has rapidly emerged and evolved as a result of these changes. 

No matter how you look at it - the US pre-pandemic $100 billion trade show and exhibition industry has been permanently changed by COVID-19. As we stay virtual, planners are becoming producers—you’re running a TV show. A few of the ways to maximize the changes? Keep reading for our take on the changes and chime in below with your own insights on how your event planning has evolved since March of 2020. 

This week’s blog focuses on the idea of hybrid meetings - events and conferences that allow for both in-person and virtual attendance. 

With the pandemic changing how we communicate and how we travel, hybrid meetings with both virtual and in-person attendance are here to stay for the foreseeable future. This provides meeting organizers with the opportunity to reach more attendees. Hybrid attendees are a great way to supplement your event income and maximize your reach without adding much additional set-up cost. This is a win for companies and nonprofits with minimal travel budgets who might not have the travel funds to attend a meeting or conference due to travel restriction or budget limitations. While people are returning to travel, some hesitancy to attend large events may linger for some time, making this an attraction option for many event planners to consider. 

While experts are predicting that we will see a return to national meetings in 2023, a hybrid component is still a likely element of these meetings. What might have been a 3-5,000 person event pre-Covid might be a much smaller event with an East and West Coast event.  With international travel remaining a question mark for the foreseeable future, global events mus rel on both virtual and hybrid opportunities to continue to engage and educate their employees and partners. 

What does this mean for your corporate event? While in-person regional events are already returning, it is important to design and structure any of your future events and retreats to meet the needs of our "new normal." Your remote teams and guests must feel as engaged as your in-person ones. This iterates the need for upgraded software platforms that can help oversee and organize corporate event logistics. 

We want to hear from you. How has your world changed since the pandemic? Are you using new software and remote communication platforms that you did not use before? Are things such as webinars or hybrid conferences now options you are utilizing?