Hybrid Event | Pros and Cons | Horizon Leeds

Exploring the Pros and Cons of Hybrid Events

Let’s explore the pros and cons of hybrid events and see what matters most!

So, you’ve decided to bring your virtual and in-person audience together and deliver a hybrid event.

As hybrid events include physical and virtual elements, you can have the best of both worlds.

Pros

Larger attendance

Hybrid events reduce the geographical barrier, so you can connect globally to a larger audience. The world is your oyster with a hybrid event. However, you do need to factor in time differences (add GMT or BST after start times) so no one misses your event!

Work calendars are getting busier and busier, delegates may want to attend your event, however, they simply don’t have the time to factor in travel there and back too, hybrids remove this issue as delegates can choose to attend virtually instead. They can also pick and choose sessions if their diary needs more flexibility.

Instead of going completely online, hybrids also cater for those delegates who prefer to attend the event in person and meet others. Research has shown that 67% of 35–44-year-olds prefer to attend an event in person rather than virtually, so by offering both options you can accommodate every delegate.

Saving the environment

Hosting a hybrid event is helping to save the environment, as your event is reducing the amount of people travelling to the event.

Ability to re-watch and share the event again and again

We’ve experienced so many great live events in the past that we’ve attended, or hosted, but wished it had been recorded so we could reflect on points when we got home. Recording the sessions at hybrid events allow delegates to re-watch or check in on breakouts that they weren’t able to be part of – you can’t be in two places at once, but now you can feel like you can.

Share the content on-demand via email communications and on social media to help attract potential delegates before the event. It’s a key selling point of hybrid vs physical.

Communication and marketing

Virtual networking is as popular as physical networking, as demonstrated during the pandemic. We’ve found that some people prefer being hidden behind a screen to network. Check out our networking blog.

Hybrid events allow you to gather more data to create more informed plans for future events. With polls throughout and clever insights gathered from your digital platform, coupled with in person discussions, you can really drill down to see what worked, what didn’t and strategically plan how you’ll move forward with your next event.

Cons

Online engagement

Virtual delegates will have different needs to in-person attendees. The challenge you face with a hybrid event is keeping everyone happy. Digital delegates have the option to leave the stream when they get bored – which we hope that they never do – compared to when you’re at a live event as it takes a lot of courage to get up mid-event and leave. Digital delegates take more work. You can’t just stream an event to them, they’ll feel like a voyeur, and they need to be engaged. You’re also fighting against a lot of unknown potential distractions, which include internet issues, family and pets etc. The way to minimise this is to keep the content relevant and engaging.

Connectivity and internet issues

‘Technical issues’ sadly happen. If you’re doing anything online, you put your faith in technology. With hybrids you’re adding an extra level, however, there are technical wizards able to help you through your virtual experience.

The best way to avoid glitches, rehearse, rehearse, rehearse! Check everything is working and that your speakers are happy.

As not everyone will be in the same place, a rehearsal allows you to check the internet speed. Identify black spots, speed of the internet and their location.

Additional resources

With a hybrid event, you’ll have to factor in additional resources such as staffing and equipment, which is also an extra cost. In essence, you’re organising two events, one virtual and one physical (even though it is the same/similar content) but you need to ensure both are working and planned fully so you can make sure you have the resources to ensure it runs smoothly.

Hybrid events are the new way of working and are continuing to give us access to events. Here at Horizon Leeds, our state-of-the-art Broadcast Studio can accommodate up to four speakers live in the studio at one time and endless numbers off-site. Seamless transitions throughout your event from speaker to panel or presentation will be overseen by dedicated on-site technical support.

Get in touch with the team today to find out more.