Getting Hybrid Events Right

two men and two women at a P Vx Live virtual event

The latest in P.Vx virtual event series explores the future of hybrid events

Hybrid events “are the way of the future” said Kelly Power, SVP Proof Experiences, who hosted “Getting Hybrid Events Right” – the first virtual session of 2021 in the ongoing Proof Experiences P.Vx Live series.

With a “transitional year ahead” she defined hybrid as an event with both in-person attendees or presenters, as well as virtual attendees or presenters.

She shared with the 250+ online attendees they can “expect to see the best of both virtual and in-person events start to merge in 2021.”

Power covered the many attendee benefits of hybrid such as greater inclusion and accessibility, more convenience and event customization options – not a “one size fits all” format. And she outlined the organizational benefits which included more access to talent, greater reach, better data insights and more revenue streams.

A panel of industry experts agreed the value of attending an event in-person or virtually, must be the same, even though the experiences may be different.

Don Mayo, Managing Partner from IMI International, an expert on consumer insights, addressed the question everyone is asking: When will we return to in-person events?

He said there is an “insatiable desire for human connection” and people want to go out and see family and travel (Hawaii was rated the “top 10 dream destination”!) and go to events.

However, Mayo cautioned there are varying degrees of desire to return to live in-person events. Research showed six of 10 people would go back almost immediately without a vaccine if they felt safe.

Events are a core element of Canada Post’s B2B marketing strategy.

Nadia Chegrinec, event marketing Director from Canada Post joined the discussion. She shared that her 2020 thought leadership virtual events generated 1/3 more participants and a wider range of attendees, including registrants from across Canada and as far away as Australia and Argentina. “If you have interesting content, people will come!”

Chegrinec is currently planning all-virtual Canada Post events until Q4. “Virtual is here to stay…but I have my first hybrid event planned for October 2021.”

Swoogo is a leading-edge event technology platform Proof Experiences uses for clients. With hybrid there is a need to plan at the outset and incorporate event technology that can work in both virtual and in-person formats.

Michael Sabani, VP of Swoogo Customer Experience, listed the three key tech event elements for hybrid: a “virtual venue” / hub; networking tools; and engagement elements.

Sabani addressed the necessity of event apps going forward: “You cannot avoid apps for all event formats as people are connected to their devices”.

Bottom line, all the experts agreed on the need to ensure the virtual attendee is as important as the in-person attendee. This will require exclusive event components that are tailored and curated for the unique virtual participant experience. Everyone should feel included.

The event wrapped with an interesting panel discussion on the costs associated with virtual and hybrid events.

Watch the full “Getting Hybrid Events Right in 2021” recording:

Mary Beth Denomy

Chair & Founder


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