4 Ways Virtual and Hybrid Events Will Evolve in 2022
In April 2020, several organisations worldwide were faced with a striking level of uncertainty regarding anything that encompassed physical human interaction – all thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. By then, many of these organisations had already decided to create remote working opportunities and employ a virtual work model. Phrases like “the new normal” flooded our news coverage, emails, and everyday lives. Not even the most experienced virtual events agency could have projected this frenzy from an event planning standpoint.
Today, every organisation has realised the benefits of hosting virtual and hybrid events. Since the past few years, several virtual events companies have been working with organisations worldwide to reach a wider audience, gain access to talent and experts and save money in the process. However, because the virtual event platform field has become so swamped with conferences, it has started straining schedules and attention spans. As a result, organisations have started exploring hybrid events, meetings, and conferences.
4 Ways Virtual and Hybrid Events Will Evolve in 2022
While virtual and hybrid events have been around for almost two years now, they still have a long way to go. This section will discuss ways virtual and hybrid events are expected to evolve in 2022 and beyond:
1. More Convenience
Virtual and hybrid events are focusing more and more on convenience. From audience members and event planners to keynote speakers and special guests, everyone prefers virtual and hybrid events over traditional in-person events because of greater convenience to attend. In a survey, 84% of survey participants wished for an option to attend a virtual or hybrid event.
Virtual and hybrid events are convenient because no travel is necessary, nor are any visas needed. There is never a problem with missed buses, trains, planes, traffic, parking, or lost hotel reservations. You only need a few weeks to set up a virtual or hybrid event rather than months.
2. Greater Focus on Audience Enjoyment
As it turns out, people really like online events. This is primarily because of how event platforms have improved during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a global survey, 73% of event participants are pleased with virtual event experiences, and 93% believe virtual events companies have done a stellar job transitioning from in-person events to online events in the last two years.
According to feedback from several virtual agencies, audiences enjoy virtual and hybrid events because they believe they are more intimate than in-person events. Audiences get to see speakers in a more relaxed environment, such as in their home office. They feel like they can get to know the speaker better as a person after seeing personal photos on their desk or the books placed on their shelves.
3. More Cost-Saving Benefits
The cost of hosting and attending virtual and hybrid events is low compared to in-person events. Organisations and event planners are looking for ways to reduce these costs further. Since there’s hardly any need to reserve a venue, book hotel space for guests, or pay for speaker travel, parking or meals, organisations end up saving a large chunk of their event budget with virtual and hybrid events.
Great keynote speakers also charge much less to appear on a virtual stage than in person. Since they don’t need to travel, keynote speakers are projected to book more virtual events in the future and to do more events globally to increase their income.
4. Engaging Content
In 2022 and beyond, organisations, marketing teams, and event planners worldwide are expected to take a human-centric, experience-first approach to design an event. Such an approach makes a virtual or hybrid event more engaging, allowing audiences to become more curious about what the event has to offer.
Audiences like a chance to learn more. While in-person events provide a chance to network, virtual and hybrid events provide greater opportunities to learn about a brand, business, or company through product demos and engage with industry experts during Q&A sessions.
5 Tips to Plan Your Next Virtual or Hybrid Event
- Host an event that meets your objectives and fits your budget. When designing an event, it is very important to avoid the “all or nothing” approach, especially if it is your first time planning a hybrid or virtual event. Take a step back and assess your event goals and budget before planning.
- Develop a venue and audio-visual plan. To accommodate your virtual attendees, ensure you have enhanced audio-visual equipment, consistent Wi-Fi, streaming facilities, and on-site technology experts. When looking for a venue, look for hotels or conference halls that provide the amenities and support you need.
- Strategize and market to boost audience engagement. One of your goals should be to create an engaging and entertaining agenda for your in-person and virtual event attendees. Include small clips and vibrant screen production in your plan. Extend the same principle to your marketing and promotional strategy.
- Bridge the gap between your in-person and virtual audiences to build community. For many people, networking is the key driver for attending an event. You need to find ways to connect your in-person and virtual attendees to maximise audience satisfaction.
- Leverage technology to gather insights about your audience’s interests. Lastly, remember that technology is the foundation of a virtual event platform. It ties the virtual and in-person experience together, builds ROI, and assesses the impact of an event. Use technology wisely to analyse data from both virtual and hybrid events.
Final ThoughtsSince 2020, we have been observing and learning. We’ve concluded that virtual and hybrid events are not only here to stay, but they will evolve much faster in 2022. Event attendees and planners agree that virtual and hybrid events are more engaging, enjoyable, and convenient. They are also less expensive.
To explore the world of digital events, hire SevenEvents UK today as your virtual events agency. SevenEvents is a creative agency that will help you communicate and engage with your audiences via live and digital event experiences.