After 2020 rolled out its series of unfortunate events, many businesses and event professionals turned to digital platforms.
Around 70% of meetings were switched from physical to virtual or hybrid events.
While this technology had been around for some time, companies were not fully prepared to take on those unexpected challenging tasks.
However, now things are changing for the better.
Most events are moving to hybrid platforms.
And as organizers continue to learn and use newer innovative strategies, events are evolving.
Here are 25 rising hybrid events trends as the industry embraces them as the new normal.
What Are The Hybrid Event Trends In 2021?
- Accepting Hybrid Events
Likewise, statistics show that last year 53% of event professionals considered themselves to be good at virtual event tech.
And since then, this figure is only increasing in size as more companies migrate to hybrid events.
- Destination Events
For safety reasons, outdoor destination events are growing in popularity.
The breathtaking scenery serves as the perfect background for videos and live conferences.
And for the few attending the event in person, it creates an enjoyable experience while keeping the COVID-19 SOPs in check.
- Lower Staffing Requirements
Because there aren’t any huge venues that need booking and managing, hybrid events need less staff for event management.
This means there is more saving in terms of staff salaries, which you can invest elsewhere. For instance, into marketing.
- Greater Interaction
When the audience is behind the screen, things can get stagnant quite fast.
So to avoid losing engagement and keep the audience tuned in, event organizers are making use of gamification, real-time polling, and voting.
- Signage For Event Venue
Just like in restaurants and stores, safety signage will be seen everywhere in hybrid events.
21% of event organizers think that smaller-scaled meetings will be most common in 2021 for in-person, hybrid, and virtual platforms.
But even with fewer people, the spread of the virus needs to be controlled.
Safety signages keep reminding people to wear masks, sanitize their hands, and practice social distancing.
- Focus on Education
Physical events mostly focus on selling products and services to the attendees.
However, virtual and hybrid events are becoming more education-centric. The main reason why most people are attending these events is for the pursuit of knowledge.
- T.V Show Format
Following the move from virtual to hybrid events, 2021 observes the rise in the use of a T.V show-like format.
You can expect hybrid events to put more focus on the production and videography quality.
- Increased Use of Augmented Reality
The biggest challenge of virtual and hybrid events is creating better engagement for the audience at home.
But event organizers are solving this issue by using augmented reality (AR).
AR simulates a real-life experience for all attendees.
Whether you use mobile devices, laptops, or VR headsets, AR technology creates a wide range of possibilities for better engagement.
You can create interactive training, showcase new products, or create virtual booths to increase engagement.
- Event Production Quality
Gone are the days when you could use a single camera to record your event.
Because if you do that with hybrid meetings today, your audience won’t be thrilled, to say the least.
2021 IS THE ERA OF HIGHER PRODUCTION VALUE.
The virtual event attendees want to feel the same sense of engagement as those on-site.
You have to use professional broadcasting techniques if you want to make your hybrid event a success.
- Shorter is Better
According to Jack Morton, a leading brand experience agency:
“Highly personalized, snackable, episodic content has replaced multi-hour and multi-day agendas.”
Unlike face-to-face events, hybrid events don’t last as long.
A CEIR report suggests that it takes six hours to virtually wrap up an entire 8-hour long physical event.
With hybrid events, the traffic of on-site audiences is much lower.
It means that hybrid events take less time to seat people and to move them from place to place in the venue. It makes the event finish quicker than it would otherwise.
- Keeping Things Clean
The in-person part of hybrid events won’t be the same as regular conferences before the pandemic broke out.
There is a greater safety concern.
Therefore, furniture like sofas and couches are being ditched for plastic and wooden chairs.
The venues, including the furniture, are also disinfected regularly to avoid cross-contamination.
- Take a Break
Since hybrid events aren’t exactly the same as physical ones, some adjustments are necessary to be made.
And taking more frequent breaks is one of them.
While attendees at the event have the option to move around.
Focusing your complete attention on just one screen for hours is draining for the people watching from home.
So don’t overdo it.
Take a break every once in a while to keep things fresh.
- Greater Marketing Potential
With events going digital, your audience in most cases is not limited to just your local area any more.
Now, you can easily connect with attendees from overseas.
But how do you get them interested in the first place?
The answer is: By having a BIGGER MARKETING BUDGET.
While you save money on travel due to restrictions, you need more investment in advertising and campaigning. Because with a wider audience, you can easily recoup those marketing costs and get more exposure at the same time.
- Dedicated Event Platform
Many businesses are starting to use a single platform for all their event needs.
Because this results in more efficient planning, secure data collection, and better marketing strategies being formulated.
With the option to attend the event either in-person or virtually, hybrid events are providing people more flexibility.
Likewise, anyone can join the event from anywhere, making it more convenient for audiences in different time zones.
Also, members who can’t attend the live event for whatever reason can watch the recorded version later.
- Custom-made Event Bags
Event merchandise and swag bags are a raging trend for sure.
They create a pleasant and more intimate experience, especially for those who can’t make it to the venue.
- Breaking Barriers
Virtual events were a huge success in 2020.
But 2021 is the year of hybrid events.
Kurt Burtscher cofounder b2match says,
“For the first half of 2021, we are seeing that our customers are still planning virtual events. As the pandemic recedes, we are anticipating the second half of the year to conduct more hybrid events.”
Thanks to their global outreach, hybrid events are turning traditional events more inclusive.
They allow people to connect with attendees from across the world, ranging from varying backgrounds and career levels. This makes for a more enriching and great learning experience for the audience.
- Level Up Skills
With new advances in hybrid event management, new roles are popping up everywhere.
There has been a sudden surge in the need for event monetization, hybrid event design, technical support, and more.
So, while the pandemic has made many jobs redundant, hybrid events offer new roles that people can fill by obtaining certifications in these areas.
- Need for Control
By transferring a major portion of events to the internet, the risk of data being breached is a lot higher.
This calls for better security measurements. It means that hybrid events need clear disclosures on how attendees’ data will be handled by the event production team and any third parties involved.
- Hiring Speakers
Choosing the right speaker can really make or break the deal for your hybrid events.
To mitigate risks it is better to stick to hiring professional speakers. They know how to do their job and make your event successful.
- Rising Revenues
The virtual element of meetings, that was once free, will now have a price tag on it.
And it is not going to be cheap. Instead, tickets for in-person and virtual attendees will cost about the same amount.
- Less Pollution
The decrease in travel is resulting in less energy being wasted and lesser carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere.
According to reports, in 2020, virtual and hybrid events brought down the global energy use by 6%.
And this decrease is expected to be carried into 2021.
An eco-friendly event design, right?
- Events Apps are on Rise
From conferences to trade shows to product launches, pretty much any event you can think of has a mobile app for it.
The reason behind this is simple. They are the hub of all important information for the attendees.
But they do it in a fun and engaging way, which is why they are becoming so popular.
- Innovation Means Success
For the sake of hybrid events…
The WEIRDER it is, the better chance you have to captivate your audience.
Production teams are making greater use of art, creativity, and unique ideas to incorporate in their event strategy. That’s because thinking outside the box gets people’s attention.
And this is the road that future events will be following until things clear up.
- Facial Recognition at Events
Event-goers will now be able to confirm their identity in a safe and completely contactless way. Thanks to the evolving facial recognition technology, the need for manual I.D checking is being completely eliminated.
To Wrap it Up
So, these are some of the many rising hybrid event trends. Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of all the new hybrid event trends that are on the rise.
As times are changing, 2021 is providing us ample opportunity to innovate, rethink, and redesign how we view events.
But this is just the beginning of the future.
So, learn, adapt, and grow.
Create exciting events without fail.