5 ways hybrid events increase your event ROI
After months of lockdowns, social distancing and increased safety measures, it is evident that Covid-19 will impact the way we plan, produce, and experience events for the near future and possibly, forever. Fortunately, with the recent surge of remote work and virtual collaboration, consumers are growing familiar with virtual event platforms as a practical alternative to physical events. In-person events will certainly come back, but the industry must do so slowly and safely. In this period of transition, hybrid events can provide event marketers an interesting opportunity to benefit from the best of both in-person and virtual events. In fact, we’re learning that hybrid events may just be here to stay. Hybrid events are in-person events that include a virtual experience, allowing attendees to choose the medium that works best for them and to toggle between the two. While this concept is fairly new to the event industry, its popularity has increased exponentially, with no signs of slowing. As event marketers plan hybrid events, measuring ROI is essential just as with any format. Thankfully, hybrid events unlock a myriad of cost-saving benefits for planners and attendees alike.
One of the main benefits to hosting a hybrid event is unlocking a brand new audience. Make the event available to everyone and your event just became global. Increasing your reach has countless benefits, such as more potential customers, brand awareness and sponsorship deals. While it is easy to surmise that a hybrid event splits your audience in half - between virtual attendees and the physically present ones - it actually creates a space for more interaction and connectivity if done right. If you’ve attended an event or convention in the past 3 years, it's likely you’ve interacted with virtual leaderboards, live polling and remote guests. With these technologies, we can seamlessly blend virtual and live audiences, creating a fun and interactive experience with much higher attendance numbers.
2. Lower costs
From venue fees to costly travel expenses, there are countless ways to rack up your in-person event bill. With a much smaller audience in physical attendance, hybrid events eliminate thousands of dollars in venue costs in addition to cutting down on planning hours and day-of staff. A recent survey from Wild Apricot states that 84% of organizations who had already run a virtual event in 2020 reported that they spent less money on virtual events than in-person events. (Source)
3. Attendee tracking
There is a common misconception that hosting most of your attendees virtually means giving up on valuable attendee insights - not so! Stats that would otherwise be difficult to collect are made easy in a virtual environment. With a few extra steps in the planning phase, each session can track:
- Who watched a presentation (consumed content)?
- What percentage of attendees watched a session face to face versus digital?
- What medium generated more conversions (digital or face to face)? The most renewed interest?
- Which sponsorship content resonated the most?
Collecting a higher volume of attendee data has countless benefits for both sales and marketing teams. One example is instant feedback, which allows event professionals the opportunity to make (potentially instantaneous) improvements to your event offering, thereby increasing engagement and overall attendee happiness.
4. Sponsor engagement
Your sponsors want to know they are making a good investment by working with you. With the majority of your audience engaging with your sponsors in a virtual environment, you can track all attendee interactions with pinpoint accuracy. This increases the value of sponsorship deals for both you and your client. Additionally, by adding virtual attendees, you are now open to sponsorships for both your live and virtual environments. If done right, this can double your sponsorship gains!
5. Lead retrieval
During live events, one of the top complaints of sales teams is the time it takes to receive and follow-up with important leads as they appear. In a virtual environment, the data retrieval is immediate. In addition to session feedback, gather information on attendees that are interested in learning more about your offerings. By doing this, you instantly capture a lead for your sales team for follow-up. No more week-long turnover. No more missed connections. With virtual events, the platform handles the lead retrieval for you. Suffice it to say, hybrid events are proving to be an interesting opportunity for many Validar clients and we’ve rallied to meet their new challenges. One of the top anxieties for event planners is working with new tools and technology, so we’ve worked with a few leaders to develop Orbit. Orbit is the combination of white-glove service from our team of experts, with the robust backend data capture, scoring, and syncing software we’re known for. We handle all of the set up and event-day execution for you, eliminating hours upon hours of costly planning, not to mention the anxiety of messing up the live feed! If you or your team is hosting a hybrid or virtual event, we’re here to help! If you have any questions or are seeking advice on how to best manage your event, contact us!