Hybrid Events: The Latest Evolution of Virtual Events

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual events had become the norm and would likely stay as the norm. A study in the UK found that 72% of businesses are planning to keep doing virtual events even as the COVID-19 pandemic died down. The virtual event sector alone is expected to have a compound annual growth rate of 23% from 2020 to 2027; showing that it’s going to play a significant part in our post-pandemic life.  

Before the pandemic happens, virtual events were mostly reserved for formal and educational stuff like webinars, conferences, or lectures – while virtual experiences like shopping and concert were seen as plan B. We had assumed there was no way virtual concerts would compete with the real on-the-ground experience. However, in the past 2 years, we had seen some incredibly successful events in virtual spaces. We’re talking about things like Gucci x Roblox collaboration, and how singers like Marshmello, Travis Scott, and Ariana Grande had managed to create a grand virtual concert in Fortnite. However, some virtual events were still a flop, like Post Malone’s concert in the world of Pokemon. So what makes (or breaks) a virtual event? 

We have talked about the Gucci and Roblox collaboration before, and how it successfully translated a real-life brand (along with its value) to the virtual. Gucci wasn’t trying to replicate a real-life event, but they provided a new experience that was just as exciting as the physical shopping experience. The experience was virtually impossible to achieve without Roblox. Other successful events also effectively utilized their chosen platform, as opposed to the Post Malone x Pokemon concert where it feels like having Pokemon as mere decorative elements. When a virtual event is done right, you shouldn’t be there to simply watch the event unfold; you should be able to take an active part during the event. This gave a rise to so-called “hybrid events”, which combine the practicality of virtual events with the excitement of physical events. 

While hybrid events were a no-brainer for concerts and leisure activities, there’s a growing trend that indicates businesses should be adopting the idea as well. Here’s why. 

Immersion in the Absence of In-Person

For a while, we have a standard formula for virtual events. You open the registration link, people signed up, and they would be eligible to attend a Zoom session or two. The most interactive thing that might happen is when someone (who is not a speaker) turns their camera on and speak. Then we have a follow-up through surveys and emails. 

As time goes on, we realized that the entire event could have been an email, or worse, an internet search. It’s simply not eventful enough to be called an event. There were little to no engagement.  

To rectify this engagement problem, organizers need to either present engaging content or present them with an interactive experience. Rather than simply presenting their content while the audience sits back and watch, you should find ways to turn them into active participants. However, you need to make sure to not go overboard, lest participants became wary of actually joining the event. 

Agate’s Venhall

Agate’s own Venhall was crafted as a digital solution that combined utility and accessibility to increase engagement in a virtual event. With an immersive conference hall and exhibition hall, it presented a ready-made stage that is accessible across devices. This design allows participants to get more than what they came for, an immersive and interactive experience that is impossible to replicate in a simple webinar and the like. 

Should You Jump on the Trend?

With all the uncertainties in the pandemic, the skepticism that virtual events will last in the future is understandable. Yet the signs have shown that it is not a temporary solution; as there were notable benefits of going virtual. Virtual event spaces of today were born not out of necessity, but through technological innovation that let us achieve higher accessibility and efficacy. 

That being said, don’t go hosting hybrid events just for the sake of trend. Virtual events already excelled in being accessible and less demanding (as we don’t even have to wear pants to go there), so hybrid events should stay true to this. Even with all the added features, your events should be user-friendly and effortless to use. For example, would your visitors prefer going through 4-step installation to join an event or join an event using what they already have at hand? Most people will prefer the latter. 

So yes, your businesses should start incorporating virtual events as one of your core marketing strategies. You could start small by making more engaging content and planning more engagement activities, or start looking for virtual venues like Venhall. Not only Venhall would offer an outstanding digital experience, but you can also benefit from built-in analytical tools to directly gain data and insights on your events. 

Interested in implementing Venhall to enhance your virtual events? Visit our website at venhall.com to find out more! 

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