The old normal for events was in-person. But those days are gone. In fact, those days had been long gone before the pandemic, but most event planners weren’t ready to accept it. Technology has long enabled virtual audiences to take part in events but it took the global lockdown to force us to adopt it. Now is the time to accept that planning hybrid events is the “new normal.”
Creativity, Diversity and Inclusion
For an events sector that thrives on being creative, inclusive and diverse, ignoring virtual delegates would make no sense at all.
But, even for people that love going to in-person events, coronavirus has changed things. Some people are now fearful of going to live events for all sorts of reasons. And, it’s clear that some people will not be travelling on flights for a while.
The Perfect Storm for Hybrid Events
When you have delegates that want to go to an in-person event (but cannot) and delegates that want to attend online, you have the perfect storm for the hybrid event. That storm will only get stronger as delegates realise that they have clear choices on how they can take part in events.
The call for attending virtually will get louder. Just think of all those great virtual events, delegates have been involved in since lockdown began. Attending a hybrid event as a virtual delegate will definitely appeal to people that would be unable to travel or even want to.
It’s clear that hybrid events have a key role. Whilst they enable planners to deliver programmes that are specifically designed for the in-person delegates and the virtual delegates, hybrid events provide other benefits. They enable event planners to: expand their reach, increase their engagement, develop their income, whilst helping the fight on climate change.
Future Proof with Hybrid Events
If the events sector believes it will be business as it was before COVID-19 hit, then it is in for a big shock. But more than that, unless event professionals realise that the coronavirus will not be the only challenge that affects the ability of in-person events to take place, more shocks will follow.
Every year there are bush fires, hurricanes and storms that take place across the globe. All of these impact on holding in-person events. Virtual and hybrid options are needed to help mitigate potential losses.
We Live in a Hybrid World
We live in a hybrid world. Most of us engage using a combination of in-person and online every day, and it’s time for events to enable the same. For example, we may speak on the phone, but also through a messaging app or by email, all on the same day. We live hybrid lives, events should be as well.
We know that not all events should be hybrid, (think of networking receptions as an example). But for the reasons as outlined, most events will need to become hybrid. The days of just holding an in-person event, the old ‘normal’ has gone.
We are now in the realms of deciding what ‘new normal’ means. For us, it means including hybrid events as a deliberate choice not just because the in-person event is not available.
We can no longer regard in-person events as the default. The fact is, that the new normal for events is hybrid.
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