Hybrid events: What you need to know

Alibaba.com MAY 09, 202215 MIN READ
Hybrid events: What you need to know

In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about hybrid events — what they are, why they are so important, and how you can create successful hybrid events for B2B e-commerce. We will also highlight the benefits of hybrid events for your business and how you can register for hybrid events on one of the world’s leading B2B online marketplace, Alibaba.com.

Let’s start off by understanding what hybrid events are.

What are hybrid events?

A hybrid event is one that uses a combination of in-person and digital elements, tailored to each audience for optimal experiences.1 The in-person and online events can be hosted simultaneously or separately as per the needs of the organizer.

Each part of a hybrid event, whether in-person or virtual, is specifically designed and personalized for each audience to drive action and exploration. Your in-person audience gets the high-touch VIP experience that helps you drive leads, and your virtual audience can explore your content and create new connections, conveniently from the comfort of their home.

New event planners might be perplexed by hybrid events and how they vary from typical meetings. Here's a straightforward explanation:

Physical events are in-person meetings where attendees and exhibitors may meet and connect. These gatherings take place in actual spaces like conference rooms and convention centers.

Virtual events are entirely online, with participants being able to check in from anywhere in the world, chat, and connect via an online event platform.

Hybrid events combine elements of both physical and virtual events to provide participants with a more flexible and accommodating experience.

hybrid event

Types of hybrid events

Hybrid events can be effectively divided into two different types. One is internal events and the other is external events.

Internal events

These are programs organized for the benefit of your company's internal stakeholders, such as workers, management, and staff. For many businesses, getting all of their internal stakeholders into the same room for a meeting is practically difficult, so hybrid events are useful in this situation. Choose a location for your event, such as your company's headquarters, then live broadcast the meeting to the rest of your team.

Some instances of common internal hybrid events are:

  1. Sales kickoffs
  2. Global town halls
  3. Larger team meetings
  4. Company spirit weeks

External events

These are programs that are aimed at your customers, prospects, clients, and other interested parties. Converting your live external event to a hybrid format can help you attract more guests while also reducing your carbon footprint. The following are examples of external events that can be made hybrid:

  1. Conferences and trade shows
  2. Customer conferences
  3. Product demonstrations

6 benefits of hybrid events

Virtual events rose in popularity in 2020 as 'quick solutions' for in-person events that were canceled or postponed.

The events industry was able to stay connected and keep its businesses afloat as a result of this. However, it's a very different picture today than it was two years ago.

Vaccine regulations and venue safety standards have reasserted people's confidence in meeting face-to-face. Organizers are returning to physical exhibitions at a quicker rate than before. Despite this, the digital component will continue to play a significant role for the following reasons:

  • Flexibility
  • Convenience
  • Reduced operating expenses
  • Ability to launch large-scale marketing campaigns
  • Protect events from physical disturbance
  • Content sharing, exhibiting, and sponsorship opportunities have expanded.
  • Utilize internet platforms to generate new revenue streams and lead generation opportunities.

In fact, 54% of event organizers feel that these physical and digital experiences would become increasingly important in the future.2

This is because a full recovery might be jeopardized owing to a variety of causes. This can include the potential of new variants of the virus, attendance apprehension towards physical events (particularly those with pre-existing medical problems), and cost, location, and accessibility concerns.

Hybrid events are a terrific method to bring a huge number of people from all over the world together. Anyone with a computer and an internet connection can participate from anywhere in the world and capitalize on doing international trade.

Let’s take a look at six benefits of hybrid events:

1. More flexibility

In the case of travel restrictions, hybrid events provide more options.

Hosting a live event without a digital backup is risky, especially now that technology is so widely available.

Hybrid events are a great way to diversify your event portfolio and ensure that you have a successful event no matter what.

2. Sponsor opportunities

Hybrid events provide sponsors with a variety of sponsorship choices, including increased reach and measurable analytics.

Sponsors are always looking for fresh methods to justify their spending, and these events can give data to support these expenditures.

Sponsors may benefit from them in a variety of ways, including a larger lead pool and the chance to engage directly with interested people as well as online virtual guests.

3. More environmentally friendly

Reduced travel has had a big environmental impact. For example, by the end of March 2020, the global average road transport activity had dropped over 50% from the previous year.2

Hybrid events aim to cut manpower needs while also assisting in the transition to carbon neutrality.

Furthermore, the rising emphasis on sustainability and "net-zero" means that event professionals will continue to rely on digital to meet their corporate social obligations.

4. Build up your marketing funnel

To maintain a continual supply of digital material coming to your audience, repurpose and reshare it.

Streaming your event also ensures that you don't neglect to record anything important.

Attendee interactions with prior material may potentially be used to predict future marketing campaigns.

5. Increased return on investment (ROI)

Because of their broader reach and scalability, hybrid events provide a higher return on investment.

A virtual event platform eliminates the need for crews for set-up and take-down, allowing live events to be scaled down as their online presence grows.

As a result, the bottom line shrinks, top-line revenue grows, and client acquisition costs decrease.

6. Valuable data

Hybrid events give useful information that is difficult to quantify in a traditional setting.

Data on participants' behaviors and involvement, as well as website hits and social media posts, are included.

You can better serve your guests and convert them into customers by gathering this information.

You may get a better understanding of how your event influenced brand awareness by looking at how many individuals your postings and theirs reached.

How to create a successful hybrid event

hybrid event

As we mentioned earlier, there are two types of hybrid events, external and internal. Let’s discuss how we can successfully create and host each of these, including some tips on what to do before and after a hybrid event.

Planning and preparation are crucial, just as they are for in-person events. Many people believe that all you need is a reliable internet connection and a platform that can accommodate the number of people that will attend your hybrid event. Hybrid events need a great deal of forethought and rigorous event management.

Here are some suggestions for making your internal hybrid event a success:

  1. Create engaging content — many people are already screen-fatigued, and if you're providing statistics and data online, your online audience might easily become sidetracked. To keep your audience involved, be sure to incorporate a variety of media types and make your event as interactive as possible.
  2. Ensure a simple registration flow — Use a platform with a simple registration process that can still be customized to gather the information you need from your guests.
  3. Incorporate a calendar integration — including a calendar integration on invites or ticket confirmation emails is not only easy for your guests, but it may also boost your event's attendance rate, especially if it's a one-time event.

Similar to planning an internal hybrid event, external hybrid events need meticulous preparation. Your objective for external hybrid events might be to make a profit or sell a particular quantity of tickets. Here are some helpful hints for hosting an external hybrid event:

  1. Have a straightforward registration procedure — there are a lot of platforms out there, each with its own unique features. When individuals are unfamiliar with a platform and it requests too much information, you risk scaring them away. Make sure the procedure isn't overly complicated, as this might lead to guests dropping out along the way.
  2. Get input from participants — getting feedback from attendees may help you figure out what worked and what didn't. Because you don't have direct experience attending the event as a participant or as an event planner, feedback on the event might assist you to improve your blind spots for future events.
  3. Data collection — you may wish to collect information about your guests so that you may re-target them in the future. Make sure that the platform you use asks for permission from your attendees.
  4. Choose relevant information — everyone is more likely to be on the same page when it comes to internal events. External events are a little different in that you must presume the guests' interests. This is why it's critical to plan an event that's both entertaining and informative while also displaying your product or service.
  5. Have a mediator — Using a mediator might be a fantastic method to encourage participants to interact. They can read comments, make ideas, and ask questions of presenters, even if the speakers and audience are in separate rooms. The speaker will concentrate on his or her function, while the mediator will be in charge of the interaction between the audience and the speakers.
  6. Separate content — While many events may broadcast live events with a chat platform for virtual attendees and label it a hybrid event, event specialists advise against doing so. It generates an environment that makes viewers that are not actively participating feel as though they are missing out, leading them to check off after a while. Given that virtual guests have already lost out on the opportunity to attend, provide them with a small perk to make them feel like their time at your event was well spent. To keep your virtual participants interested, separate panel discussions, Q&A sessions, and virtual networking sessions could be offered.

Here are some important things to consider before the event:

  • Determine the goal of your event
  • Determine who your ideal event guest is
  • Make material that your target audience can relate to
  • Choose a platform that meets both your and your attendees' demands. Creating an online marketplace that brings your target audience together and prepares them for collaborative business prospects and negotiations is a great way to achieve this
  • Set a budget for both the in-person and virtual components of your event. Look for partners and sponsors who will be able to make a significant contribution
  • Choose a day and time that is most convenient for your event and guests
  • Prepare your attendees to utilize the selected platform, and have some hands-on deck to assist participants on the day if necessary
  • Your speakers should be trained or briefed on how to present utilizing the chosen platform
  • Promote the event thoroughly ahead of time
  • Through email engagement, include important information and tools to create a tailored attendance experience
  • Make the process of purchasing tickets as simple as possible for your attendees, and walk them through it step by step

Here are some important things to consider on the day of the event:

  • Many of your participants may be unfamiliar with the virtual aspects of hybrid events, so virtual event etiquette is essential. Be kind and inviting, and let them know you'll be available to help them if they need it during the event.
  • Encourage your audience to interact with one another as well as the speakers. The level of engagement at your hybrid event might be a good statistic to use to assess its success.
  • Your participants will be able to access special on-demand content if you record your virtual sessions. If this is a recurring event, you may use it to promote snippets of your guest speakers or headliners for the next one.

Lastly, here are some things to consider after the event:

  • Using live analytics to collect data from your guests may help you assess the performance of your event, as well as aid your marketing efforts for the next one.
  • Follow up with the people that attended your event. Learn what people had to say about the platform, the presenters, the material, and so on. This information will help in making better decisions for your next event. After the event, attendees might appreciate a small "thank you”, as a gesture of appreciation.


Hybrid events have the potential to be the most effective drivers of maximum engagement, insights, and sponsorship worth, but people are still questioning how to run them. Here are several recurring questions that can help you prepare for your hybrid event.

  1. What is a hybrid event?

    In theory, a hybrid event uses live web streaming technology to bring together virtual and in-person participants and presenters.

  2. How is it different from a virtual event?

    A hybrid event differs from a traditional event in that it incorporates in-person attendance (or an audience).

  3. What are the challenges of a hybrid event?

    Through relevant content, it's critical to keep both online and in-person participants equally interested.

  4. Can physical and virtual attendees interact?

    One of the main problems that event planners have with virtual events is audience participation. Consider having in-person and virtual attendees participate in conversations and Q&As. Conversations may be fostered and participation between the two audiences can be readily promoted with the presence of a moderator. Someone should be available at all times to ensure that everyone in attendance is on the same page. Social media outlets, hashtags, and email contributions all go a long way toward ensuring that everyone is involved.

  5. What equipment is needed for a hybrid event?

    A hybrid event is different from a virtual event. The minimum you would require is:

    • A camera to record what is happening on stage
    • A way of capturing and mixing the audio from the speaker into the video
    • A software or hardware-based video mixing solution
    • A method to introduce your speakers with text overlays and lower thirds
    • An encoder that converts real-time audio and video into a data stream
    • A hybrid event platform where you can share your video material and keep track of your online visitors
    • Finally, you'll need a service that allows you to engage with your visitors in a Q&A format.
  6. Are there any hybrid event best practices?

    Ensure that your website and social media campaign are simple to access and comprehend. Pre-plan all of the essential arrangements, such as venue space and supplies, and then live stream the event so that those who can't attend can watch what's going on.

  7. What are the benefits of a Hybrid event?

    In a nutshell, a hybrid event combines the best of both worlds, allowing individuals from remote locations to participate virtually while still allowing those who want to go in person to experience the event firsthand, hence increasing overall attendance. They're also scalable, cost-effective, and capable of providing higher degrees of information (through data collection).

    The main advantage of a hybrid event now, more than ever, is that it allows for a certain amount of actual human connection and engagement. People need sentiments of closeness and contact, even if it's in small clusters, after months of obligatory social distancing measures.

    When you add in the benefits of being able to reach a global audience who is interested in the material you're delivering, you've got yourself a profitable and lucrative opportunity.

  8. In a hybrid setting, how do you assess the success of networking?

    Consider employing the same methods you'd use to assess networking at any other type of event. Gather feedback from guests via surveys or polls, track how many times people clicked to book a meeting with an exhibitor, or ask for email feedback after the event.

  9. What kind of reach can I expect?

    One of the nicest aspects of hybrid events is that they allow you to reach a far larger audience than traditional events might. You're not only catering to those who are physically present, but you're also allowing individuals from all over the world to participate in this incredible experience.

contact with alibaba.com

Join Alibaba.com for more hybrid events

Alibaba.com is a leading platform for global B2B e-commerce that strives to make it easy to do business anywhere. It offers a wide range of services to businesses, including strategies to help them reach a worldwide audience, including tools to assist customers in discovering products, identifying suppliers, and placing orders online quickly and easily.

Alibaba.com has hosted numerous invite-only virtual trade shows for wholesale sellers and buyers to connect live online. “Made in the USA” was a huge success, which brought exclusive interactions, zero cost, and zero travel for attendees. This virtual trade show brought real-time interactive, curated experiences designed to help buyers and sellers meet — all online.3

Virtual experiences are an alternate approach to engage with the B2B community and educate clients, while live networking events are being canceled and postponed. At Alibaba.com's monthly category-specific events, top sellers promote their products to interested buyers willing to do business. It is Alibaba.com’s mission to help SMBs connect with each other, create a community, and reach customers from the comfort of their own homes.

What you can expect with virtual trade shows on Alibaba.com:

  • Industry experts provide perspectives on the global supply chain and how businesses can adapt to the new normal.
  • Based on trends detected in the Home and Health categories, you'll have access to educational information and recommendations on how to procure and organize your inventory.
  • Quality suppliers display their newest and most innovative products to help people all around the world thrive at home, at work, and in their health.

Open a seller account on Alibaba.com, it’s the perfect platform for maximum exposure to hybrid events!

1: https://www.freeman.com/resources/what-is-a-hybrid-event-really/
2: https://expoplatform.com/blog/hybrid-events/complete-guide-to-planning-hybrid-events-in-2021/#stepfive
3: https://www.alibaba.com/ustradeshows