For those who have been around the industry for some time, do you recall the drive for virtual and hybrid events? Around 2008, the internet had come of age and new tools and technologies made it possible to meet in a virtual environment. Also entering the scene was avatars, virtual tradeshows, and streaming technology; it was all so new and cutting-edge.
Plus, with the economic crisis heating up in 2009, many feared it would be the downfall of face-to-face. Due to budget constraints, organizations restricted travel and meetings. They encouraged employees and clients to meet virtually. It appeared the in-person meeting might go to the wayside like a dated VCR. But then, something happened! The meeting and event industry began to formally quantify and qualify the value of face-to-face and launched the Meetings Mean Business campaign.
FF >> Hybrid Events
Driving business forward is going to become key for the upcoming year and beyond. It is well documented how face-to-face meetings and events are very effective in doing just that. Through in-person interactions, continuing education, increased connections, advancing research, launching products, and dozens of other meeting initiatives, the world moves forward — like fast-forwarding the VHS tape on the VCR. However, this past year has put a pause on all of it. It has shown all of us how we can still be very effective at growing our businesses in the face of adversity while being bound behind a computer screen. We had to push “slow-mo” and reevaluate the purpose of our meetings to reimagine them in the virtual world.
A new and better way to deliver content.
Instead of looking at hybrid as another “new normal” that we must get through until we get back to the way things once were, let’s take a lesson from the evolution of videocassette recorder into digital video streaming and embrace it by creating bigger, better, more impactful ways to move the business forward with hybrid events.
When we do, we may just discover the resounding value of hybrid events, including:
- Greater impact and ability to reach more attendees
- Increased engagement
- Providing a choice to attendees regarding how they want to meet
- More powerful and impactful sponsor value
- Increased access to influencers, keynote speaker options, and thought leaders
- Leverage sustainability by reducing environmental costs
- Ability to tap into advancing meeting analytics
- Increased return on investment and objectives
- And, many more…
Reimagining online and on-site event experiences.
Just imagine what the world of meetings and events will be like in the next five years. We are entering a new age of how we are going to design, produce, and what our attendees are going to expect from meetings moving forward.
There are many new questions to be answered and things to consider:
- How will procurement need to change to effectively source for hybrid meetings and events?
- What extra safety protocols will need to be in place with the return of face-to-face meetings?
- What does a hybrid event budget look like? Will there be increased costs or savings?
- What impact will a hybrid format have on the return of objectives?
While we embrace hybrid meeting options by blending online and on-site audiences, these answers will become clear. Our M&IW team is dedicated to bringing you the best practices and protocols for your hybrid events. This past year, we delivered cutting-edge virtual event management solutions and produced nearly 1,000 virtual events for our clients.
We believe that virtual is here to stay and hybrid is the future. We are ready to arm the skilled event planners, meeting managers, technical producers, and valued partners with the know-how to make it happen for our industry and the corporations and associations we serve.