Whether you are educating, debating, informing or celebrating, your event will always have one common goal – to bring people with similar interests together. Traditionally, face-to-face events were the only way to achieve these goals. Luckily, the event sector has rapidly evolved, and today there are many different ways to host successful events. Today, we will take a look at two event formats that has shaped the industry for some years now:
- Online events: Attendees join a virtual platform, and everything is completely online.
- Hybrid events: Some attendees are physically present while others tune into the event via an online platform.
You might wonder which approach is best for your next event. It will ultimately come down to your event size, budget, timeline, and the geography of your attendees. There is no one-size-fits-all answer, as each event has different components that will require different structures.
Here is our guide to help you determine which type of event is the perfect fit for you:
Since more and more people are using their home offices as their full-time workspaces, virtual events have been on high-demand. Looking at the pros and cons we can understand why.
- Speedy setup: You can easily set up your event with just a couple of clicks.
- Low cost: No venue or travel expenses, nor costly printouts. If costs are a concern, check out our handy event budget template here.
- Access to analytics: A great event platform like Flock Eventing Platform will populate reports to help you gain a clear picture of your event’s success.
- Less hassle: Virtual events are more accessible as attendees don’t have to make travel arrangements. Because of this, time commitments are more flexible.
- Environmentally friendly: Virtual events are a “greener” option because it generates less waste and carbon emissions.
- Less engagement: Some attendees are more reluctant to participate in conversations, and prefer in-person networking opportunities.
- Technical issues: Yes, it happens! We all know it, and we’ve all been victims of it.
- More distractions: Most attendees are likely to tune in on-the-go. Noisy coffee shops or busy kiddies can easily distract them from fully emerging themselves into the event.
Virtual events are best for reaching audiences that you might not have reached before. It can assist in delivering an event on a budget with international exposure and presence. It is scalable and will enable new market entry without having the large costs attached to an international event, i.e. international travel, venue and international speakers. It’s also a great way to encourage sales and impart knowledge. Don’t forget that it delivers robust event metrics too!
These events offer all the possible advantages of an online event while still allowing attendees to meet each other face-to-face. Sounds like a win-win situation, doesn’t it? Hybrid events can potentially lead to a substantial increase in revenue, as it offers attendees the best of both worlds and therefore accommodates a larger audience. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of hybrid events.
- More choices: Attendees can decide whether they want to attend the event in person or as a virtual participant.
- Greater inclusion: Hybrid events allow attendees who were unable to attend the in-person event to still virtually join. Money, time and transport is no longer a restriction.
- Higher audience engagement: Adding a virtual element to your live event is key for higher audience engagement. This is because virtual attendees are likely to actively partake in online conversations from their smartphones or computers.
- Complex to deliver: Essentially, you have to deliver two events. The virtual event has to have its own production. It is important to note that simply streaming the main event isn’t going to be enough to satisfy your online attendees.
- Potential connectivity issues: There is nothing more frustrating than experiencing connection lags while tuning into a hybrid event. The show must unfortunately go on, leaving virtual attendees in the dark and unable to partake in the full experience.
Hybrid events inspire change. Whether people like it or not, they are here to stay. It offers a world of possibilities for attendees and event organisers alike. You might argue that change is a good thing, but for some, it is difficult to accept the new virtual counterpart that abruptly entered the eventing industry. As event planners, you need to understand that not everybody is ready to accept virtual, or even hybrid events, and we would encourage you to educate yourself and your audience on the benefits of these new event opportunities.
When it comes to deciding on an event structure, there is no black and white solution. At the end of the day you need to consider your unique goals, audience, finances, etc. to make an informed decision. The most important factor to consider is that you need to deliver an exceptional event experience. Think creatively, and pick a solution that will make your event as informative and interactive as possible.
Need some expert advice on which structure to use for your next event? Book a demo to find out how we can help you.