Hybrid Events in 2023
As live event professionals, we are always looking for new and innovative ways to create engaging and memorable experiences for our clients. In recent years, we’ve learned that innovation isn’t always the result of a desire to reach new heights, but rather, a need to survive.
When the world shut down, production companies had to get creative to keep their doors open. In 2020, we added the term “Virtual Event” to our daily lexicon. In 2021-2022, we leveraged everything we learned about virtual in 2020 and everything we already knew about live events to offer production services for hybrid events.
What do I mean by Hybrid Event?
Let’s be clear, a hybrid event certainly wasn’t an innovation from 2020. In other words… crack open a beer and turn on your game of choice. Congratulations, you just attended a hybrid event.
We defined hybrid events as being an in-person event with a virtual component. Sometimes, that virtual component was just a video feed. Sometimes it was more interactive, allowing the virtual event attendees to participate.
While hybrid events weren’t an innovation from 2020, the pandemic made virtual the only option. Event planners who would have never considered virtual, were now forced to embrace it. 15 years ago, it would have been unthinkable for a mid-sized company to broadcast the feed of their in-person sales meeting and have virtual attendees from across the globe be able to interact. In 2021, it became commonplace.
Are Hybrid Events here to stay?
We’ve opened pandoras box. Event planners now have an affordable way to reach a larger audience while saving on travel and lodging expenses. So, every event should be a hybrid event, right? Not necessarily.
We are not trying to sell you on a virtual event or even a hybrid experience. On the contrary, we want to continue sharing the benefits of hybrid events if they are warranted…
- to meet the objective and goal
- to reach a global audience
- to meet the needs of those unable to travel to your in-person event
But don’t get me wrong…
Humans crave in person interaction. We are social creatures after all. That is perfectly okay. Some events NEED to be in person, rather than be online or have a digital component.
For example, the PurposePoint team, in 2021, held their annual Purpose Summit as a hybrid event, but in 2022, they chose to make it an in-person event. When speaking with Davin, he made it clear that he valued the experience of his attendees over their convenience to attend. As we were wrapping up, he said the impact of the hybrid event in 2021 was incomparable to the completely in-person event they held in 2022.
People want the in-person experience for a variety of reasons:
- It’s familiar; it’s comfortable; it’s known
- To travel and interact with people you only see 1x a year
- To organically network and engage with people
- To experience the city and culture where the event resides
So, is hybrid here to stay? Well… it depends. If you’re hosting an event, it doesn’t have to have a virtual component to be successful in 2023. Ultimately, it’s up to the organization and event planners hosting the event to make the call.
Ask the questions, lean on partners, learn from those doing it well for their group and determine what’s best for yours. Yes, in person is back, but virtual is not dead and hybrid is still a solid contender.
At ChoiceLIVE, we are experienced in creating any type of event and are well-equipped to help our clients make the most of any way they choose to meet. If you’re interested in exploring the possibilities of hybrid events for your business or organization, we’d be happy to help you plan and execute a successful event.