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Virtual and Hybrid Events: What’s the Difference & Which is Right for Your Business?

Now that the world is opening up post-pandemic, more and more companies are looking towards the future of their event strategies. One of the major questions that continues to be asked of our EBA team is, “What is the difference between virtual events and hybrid events, and how do we choose which is best to meet our business goals?” In all honesty, it’s a loaded question because every business is different. But when taking a look at virtual and hybrid events for your 2021 and 2022 event strategy, there are a few things you can use to guide the way—and we’re going to outline them for you here!

Virtual and Hybrid Events: What are the Differences?

The main difference when it comes to virtual and hybrid events is:
  • Virtual events are hosted fully online via a digital platform.
  • Hybrid events are hosted in-person with a virtual component.

Pros & Cons Virtual Events

If you’ve ever heard the saying, “sometimes the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t,” you understand the thought process behind why many planners love virtual events now.

When it comes to virtual events, we’ve gotten comfortable with them over the past year during the pandemic. Teams have finally mastered them—not without a ton of work in the process!. Event planners have successfully pivoted and realized that the reach of a virtual event is much greater than that of an in-person event. The internet is your oyster, and it’s a pretty big place. Plus, the opportunity for analytics is far greater than that of in-person events because everything is hosted digitally. One con is that it can be hard to foster engagement. Now, that’s not to say it can’t be done, it absolutely can! But you need some creativity and grit to make it happen. We do have a blog with some great virtual event engagement ideas you can try!

Pros: Lower Cost, Huge Reach, Quickly Planned

Cons: Lacks Face-to-Face Engagement, Distractions at Home

Pros & Cons of Hybrid Events

Hybrid events satisfy that craving for in-person, face-to-face interaction, while also extending reach digitally. So in a way, they’re the best of both worlds!

The one issue is that they should not be thrown together quickly. For a hybrid event to be successful you must be more strategic about how you design your event. You must think about how you integrate them seamlessly into one cohesive event for attendee satisfaction! This poses challenges for over 70% of event planners, which makes sense because half of planners have never tackled a hybrid event. So, if you need help our EBA team has plenty of tips—we can sit down with you for a strategy session.

Pros: In-person Connection Paired with Virtual Reach

Cons: Costly – two events in one, Longer Planning Lead Time Required

How to Choose Which Style Event is Best for Your Business

  • The best way to choose between virtual and hybrid events for your business is to take a look at your event goals.
  • Is your goal to educate?
  • Is your goal to create meaningful, close connections?
  • Maybe you want to do both.
  • Outline your event goals and think critically about which event style will serve those goals best.

If you want to educate as many people as humanly possible and spread the word about your brand, doing virtual events promoted to a global audience may be best. But if your intention is to offer intimate networking opportunities that create meaningful connections, you may want to go with a hybrid or in-person event. Maybe, you have ten different events throughout the year, each with unique needs and definitions of ROI. In that case, create a hybrid event strategy that mixes up in-person, virtual and hybrid events to generate the most impact.

It all starts with your goals!

Don’t lose sight of that to hop on the bandwagon with the latest trend.

Need Help? EBA is Here for You to Help with Virtual and Hybrid Events

Nearly 75% of planners today believe that hybrid events are here to stay and will become more common moving forward. Now is the time to embrace virtual and hybrid events as a part of your event strategy! It can seem daunting, but with the right team on your side and a solid strategy, you’ll see ROI in no time. Need help? Schedule a strategy call to talk to one of our virtual and hybrid event experts.

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