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.
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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 events can be effectively divided into two different types. One is internal events and the other is external 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:
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:
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
Here are some important things to consider before the event:
Here are some important things to consider on the day of the event:
Lastly, here are some things to consider after the event:
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.
In theory, a hybrid event uses live web streaming technology to bring together virtual and in-person participants and presenters.
A hybrid event differs from a traditional event in that it incorporates in-person attendance (or an audience).
Through relevant content, it's critical to keep both online and in-person participants equally interested.
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.
A hybrid event is different from a virtual event. The minimum you would require is:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Open a seller account on Alibaba.com, it’s the perfect platform for maximum exposure to hybrid events!