Virtual, Hybrid, or In-Person Events – Difference and Which is Best for Your Business?

Virtual Hybrid or In-Person Events

During the pandemic use of the virtual mode of communication accelerated exponentially. So much so that 29% more non-marketing staff were involved in creating virtual events in 2020 than pre-pandemic. Does this mean virtual events will replace all your business’s in-person events? The answer is no for sure. On the contrary new mode of communication i.e. hybrid events are becoming popular as the world resumed normal activities post the pandemic.

Don’t wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great.
– Orison Swett Marden

As the quote suggests, businesses are not presented with extraordinary opportunities often and have to make the most out of available resources. Sometimes even adverse situations turn out to be blessing in disguise for enterprises. One such adversity in the form of the Covid-19 pandemic turned out to be advantageous for technology-driven businesses, especially for the virtual events industry.

Primary Differences between Virtual, Hybrid, or In-person events

Virtual, hybrid, & in-person events, each have their own advantages. All three types of events are important parts of the marketing mix. However, virtual, hybrid, or in-person events – which is best for your business? Let’s discover some of the primary differences between these three modes of communication.

In-person event

As the name suggests these events take place in real-time with a speaker as well as the audience present physically. These types of events are beneficial for establishing connections on a personal level

Virtual event

These events are conducted 100% virtually via various virtual event hosting platforms. As these events are conducted virtually, people can join events despite being in geographically different places. Additionally, virtual or online events provide an opportunity to record content and allow you to consume it at a convenient time later. However, today the definition of virtual events is evolving with each passing day.

Hybrid event

A new type of event has emerged since the onset of the pandemic that offers a virtual component along with an in-person event, they are called hybrid events. These types of events offer flexibility for attendees to participate. Businesses can simplify hosting hybrid events just by adding a live-streaming facility for the event.

Things to Consider before Choosing between Virtual, Hybrid, or In-person Events

hybrid virtual event
  • Audience: Do you have participants from geographically different locations? Or event objective requires the audience to remain present in person for the desired outcome? Virtual events are best for businesses where participants are attending from different geographical locations. While in-person events are best when an online event will not be able to have the same impact.
  • Event objective: The event format or the objective is also an influencing factor for choosing a type of event. The majority of the events are organized primarily for networking purposes. Networking often involves in-person interactions between individuals. These events are meant to spread the word about your business, attract new opportunities, and build a network of like-minded individuals. However, here technology can act as an enabler to advance communication that can transcend country borders. In this scenario, the business can opt for a hybrid or in-person event. Nevertheless, online team-building activities can also be conducted via such events.
  • Infrastructure: If you have an excellent online event platform in place then perhaps you can opt for a virtual event. Otherwise, if an organization has access to physical infrastructure to occupy all participants then an in-person event can be a preferable alternative. Nevertheless, apart from infrastructure, businesses must have great content that will keep participants engaged for stretched hours then virtual conferences/virtual meetings can be your best bet.

Online and hybrid events examples that may inspire you and help you to innovate as per your event requirements

Salesforce World Tour Sydney Reimagined

Salesforce was one of the firsts during Covid-19 to successfully host a virtual event on a larger scale. The one-day event brought in 1.2 million video views along with 80,000 live stream viewers. The event was well-planned and thought out. Participants were able to interact during the event, which made the experience even more pleasing. Additionally, the event content was made available later after the event concluded.

Tomorrowland Around The World The Digital Festival

In July, during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Belgian music festival was hosted as a virtual event that provided attendees with an exceptional musical experience. The event involved performances from famous music artists such as Steve Aoki, Katy Perry, Martin Garrix, and David Guetta. Additionally, the event offered attendees several other activities, webinars, games, and workshops.

Inbound 2022

The event brought together industry leaders around the globe. Attendees were able to participate both, in-person as well as virtually. Additionally, the audience presents virtually was able to access specialized content that helped organizers elevate the experience further.

How do I host a Virtual Business Event?

Before starting virtual event planning you must have a clearly defined goal that you want to achieve after concluding the event. Additionally, the right event hosting platform can make half of the hosting task easier and enables you to take care of other technical aspects of an event.

Virtual Event Ideas for your Business

Virtual events can be hosted for different purposes and are differentiated based on the purpose.

1. Webinars

Webinars are the most popular type of virtual event that is mainly hosted for the purpose of educating attendees. These events are normally hosted live allowing participants to interact in real-time.

2. Investor Events

Publicly traded organizations often host events to update their investors. These briefings are hosted on a quarterly, half-yearly basis or on an annual basis. Online investor events became more popular during the Covid-19 pandemic.

3. Conferences

Conferences allow attendees to participate in real-time from around the globe irrespective of their geographical location. The modern virtual event platform often comes with advanced interactive tools that boost attendee engagement. Additionally, the conference allows a large number of attendees to participate in real-time.

4. Virtual trade shows

Trade shows are extremely important for businesses to showcase new products and innovations. Similar to in-person trade events, virtual trade shows provide ample opportunities for businesses to present their product to customers. Moreover, virtual trade shows are ideal to reach out global audience.

What are the trends in the event industry?

Virtual events have become an important part of the marketing mix for businesses, as these events provide key information about potential customers. Online events also allow hosts to track participants’ activities and gain a further understanding of customer behavior.

This gave rise to newer and more advanced platforms that offer better visibility to businesses on an international scale. Some of the events are based on specific contingencies that further contribute towards the event’s purpose.

Modern times make it necessary for businesses to build a network and maintain connections. This need gave rise to social webinars, which help people build connections with the right individuals.

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