Hybrid is opening up events to more delegates and speakers than a physical event could normally handle – meaning that there are lots of challenges for the conference stage managers to make talks for the event seamless, whether the delegate is online or in the lecture theatre.
What can virtual events offer?
2020 was a learning curve for many traditional event managers who had to transition their work into a virtual space. But once they started to create events using virtual platforms, a lot of events teams/agencies saw the benefits and opportunities in going virtual, including:
- Broader and larger audiences can attend – so your event can spread wider than ever before.
- There’s more flexibility in accessing sessions, which can be seen on-demand through download requests, giving greater value to your audience.
- Workable for all speaker schedules – busy speakers who live far from the venue might not make full physical shows – but can put a few hours aside to present virtually, from their office/home.
- Groups that struggled to attend physical events can still participate in virtual ones. Virtual events can widen accessibility to those living in remote locations, people with disabilities, those who can’t afford to attend, or haven’t the level of seniority to go to the event. For more information, read this article from BlueJeans on conference-news.co.uk
- GoRemote noticed that at the 2020 EASL medical conference, many doctors and nurses, who couldn’t usually attend this important event because of their strict rotas and on-call status, could come to the virtual sessions and watch missed talks on-demand afterwards. Read the full EASL case study.
- People can attend events despite any local COVID restrictions on travel or if their region is on lockdown.
- Virtual events can capture data more efficiently so that you can know event participation numbers, talk attendance and download requests at the click of a button.
The return to physical venues
Despite these benefits of virtual conference-going, some audiences and businesses are keen to get back to the physical event structure. Many get a lot out of the networking opportunities and enjoy the travel and new experiences that a congress/conference in another part of the world can offer.
For many, a physical event of some kind is a desirable outcome so that they can meet real people without screens. However, not all countries allow for foreign travel and some countries are still listed as no-go areas, so it makes sense that events teams do not suddenly consider going back into just a physical venue, as from month to month, the situation could change if there is an escalation of COVID cases.
A quick transition back to ‘normal’ could result in people out of pocket and cancellations if the tide changes. Therefore, hybrid would seem to be the smartest move for the events industry right now as they can reap the rewards of producing great online talks for their audience while still delivering an excellent physical event.
The future is hybrid.
In this interesting article on gaming tradeshows, Nordic Games’ Jacob Riis talks about moving towards hybrid events:
“I believe we’re going to see a hybrid approach of virtual and in-person for some time. The hybrid model allows show organisers to expand their footprint. Virtual provides developers and publishers an opportunity to participate in events that normally they would not consider due to budgetary considerations or geographical locations.“
Virtual events offer so much more flexibility and value than a traditional venue, so it makes sense that many industry verticals, including those concerned with gaming, medicine, finance, technology or environment/sustainability, are considering a switch to hybrid or staying virtual for the near future.
Go hybrid – for big and small events
It’s not just large congresses that would benefit from the hybrid model – you could also use this for a series of smaller events, for example, country-specific events – taking place on the same day in different cities hosted by the same company. Having a hybrid event allows you to play with the events model, create innovative mixtures of physical and online content, and include everyone in the conversation.
Challenges for hybrid events
Developing an event with both an online and a physical presence presents new challenges for event managers, including grappling with technology and overseeing the physical and virtual events simultaneously.
It adds a new layer of complexity to making talks seamless, whether the speaker is accessing remotely or waiting to go on the physical stage. Having to be responsible for both of these streams can put more pressure on your team and create added technical difficulties. You might need to source suppliers who offer a hybridised service – whereas many focus on traditional or virtual, not both.
Why choose a dedicated speaker management service?
Structured and controlled speaker preparation offers a higher-quality event meaning that people are more likely to return to talk again, audiences enjoy the event (and might look for others that you offer), and sponsors are happy with their investment.
Over the past few months, we have been watching the events industry becoming more optimistic about returning to physical events. We think that a hybrid event is a brilliant way to hedge bets and offer something more than a two or three-day event at a specific venue.
GoRemote have developed tools and stage management services specifically designed to manage those speakers attending virtually, meaning that you only need to focus on managing your physical event speakers; we will do the rest. These systems are scalable, and also some elements designed, so they will work seamlessly in the new hybrid world we are entering.
To discuss how GoRemote can help your speakers to shine at your events – whether hybrid or virtual, contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org – we look forward to hearing from you!