First of all, it should be noted that return on investment is different from profitability for hybrid events. Even though they are two similar concepts, the first does not necessarily refer to the financial aspect. However, the latter means that the investment generates profits.
Therefore, to ensure the profitability of hybrid events, you must exceed the threshold. This means that the amount of money you make from your project exceeds the amortization of your expenses. Last year, it was difficult for planners to think about this aspect, especially with the new virtual format not being mastered. But with the gradual recovery of the economy and the need to cover losses due to the crisis, making money by organizing a profitable event is paramount.
On what does the profitability of hybrid events depend?
Profitability depends first and foremost on your understanding of hybrid event concepts. If are used to organizing face-to-face formats, rethinking your planning is necessary. It is difficult to combine the physical and the virtual. It is a real challenge. But it is not impossible.
So don’t skip steps. You will not get the profitability of hybrid events immediately, but it is better to move forward gradually and succeed than to hurry and fail. We advise you to create a smaller event before implementing a large concept. This will allow you to test the effectiveness of your planning, interest in your content and immersion in the new format.
First, get your target audience excited. Then, provide elements of engagement. Then, reinforce networking. The programming may not be completely the same for your two audiences. But meeting the needs of both will make your hybrid events profitable.
Evaluate your costs before embarking on a particular concept. Remember, you won’t have a profitable event if you are not able to raise money beyond the expenses allocated to your hybrid events. Your post-event budget studies must be thorough. Don’t forget to include contingencies.
Hybrid events are here to stay, even after in-person events make a comeback. In a survey of 20,000+ brand marketers, 78 percent agree that in-person events will pivot to hybrid models following the pandemic. A profitable event needs to be more than just one dimensional – it needs to allow participation from anywhere and not just live and in person.
But holding a hybrid event isn’t as simple as just streaming your in-person experience online. To really resonate with both your in-person and online audiences, you’ll need to create two engaging, immersive experiences within your one hybrid event to have a profitable event.
So if you’re planning a hybrid event, start with these FAQs:
What do hybrid events look like?
Hybrid events consist of an in-person gathering that is simultaneously streamed to an online audience via a virtual event software. While speakers present to the live audience onstage, the session is streamed to remote attendees via a hybrid event software.
Agenda sessions and breakout sessions are hosted in individual rooms on the hybrid event software, each with chat boxes, Q&A panels and other interactive features to keep virtual attendees involved.
Virtual networking centers and sponsor booths provide the same engagement elements for the online guests, all in a fully branded event environment. This guarantees a successful and profitable event.
What are some of the advantages of hosting hybrid events?
Reach More People: A common concern is that your hybrid event will cannibalize guests and revenue from your IRL option. But hosting hybrid events doesn’t cannibalize your audience—it creates a brand new one. 96 percent of online attendees at hybrid events were not planning to attend live, according to Matthew Ley, President of The Streaming Network. “They’re the ones who just aren’t that into you yet,” Ley says.
New lead generation pipeline: On-the-fence customers are more likely to give you a few hours of their time spent at home, on their own schedule, than a full day of travel and in-person activity. So through hybrid events, you can get time with a whole new source of prospects, then sell them throughout the event. If you really nail your online experience, you can build a whole new lead generation pipeline in no time.
Promote Accessibility and Flexibility: Whether they have children at home or work commitments keeping from traveling, many would-be guests may not be able to travel to and attend your whole weekend-long event in person. Hybrid events provide flexibility that enables parents and other professionals to attend events they’d have previously skipped, which broadens your audience pool.
The future of events will be hybrid experiences
With regards to profitable events, the goal is to create engaging, memorable experiences that are tailored to your audience. The experience of each participant is the key to a successful event. Those in the event industry know best that this industry requires a high level of adaptability and innovation, even more so in this era of digital transformation. This past year has forced us all to reinvent ourselves towards virtual and now hybrid models.
One of our objectives is to be at the center of this reflection in order to co-innovate with the various industry players to be at the forefront of trends for the future of events.
The hybrid event – which combines the realities of face-to-face and virtual events – is now slowly becoming the new industry standard. Indeed, this formula offers immense potential by granting great flexibility to participants and sustainability of content and micro-experiences.
The limitations of physical space and time are no longer relevant as hybrid event platforms allow for content sharing and networking opportunities outside of the event time window, even year round. Also, these platforms are an opportunity for event organizers to attract more participants while increasing the range and depth of experiences.
Hybrid events are breaking down the geographic barriers
In addition, the virtual component breaks down geographic barriers and creates international human connections. By maximizing the reach of the audience, the potential return on investment also increases. The hybrid formula therefore optimizes the profitability of your event content initiatives, in addition to offering new audiences to your partners.
The success of a hybrid event depends above all on an innovative experiential strategy that is adapted to each type of participant, with features that leave room for creativity.
Your hybrid experiential strategy goes far beyond simply delivering your content virtually. Virtual courses must be distinct from face-to-face courses in order to have a tangible and lasting impact on all participants. The key to success lies in personalizing these two experiences by conceptualizing two complementary value propositions.
The first step is to master the understanding of your persona. Get to know your participants, their interests, their meeting goals and their needs. This will allow you to customize your offering and create more value for your entire community.
The advantage of the hybrid event doesn’t end there. Typically, your events are also your brand. One of the challenges of events is to attract participants, but also to optimize your retention rate and create long-term relationships with your clientele.
Use virtual events to keep in touch
To create that sense of loyalty with your attendees, use the hybrid event to create more excuses to meet and generate a continuum of engaging experiences that will keep you in touch with your attendees more often and throughout the year.
Whether it’s with monthly mini-conferences, recurring networking moments or ongoing knowledge sharing, hybrid event platforms allow for increased communication and engagement opportunities to create lasting connections. Some participants will even naturally become ambassadors within your communities.
Another important aspect to consider is the connection between your virtual and face-to-face participants. We strive to offer features that allow you to push the limits of what is possible and create a bridge between your participants.
The networking features we’ve developed allow event organizers to create a continuum of exchange between their participants. Our hybrid event platform, accessible on desktop and mobile devices, allows face-to-face participants to create opportunities to meet and exchange with virtual participants. Whether in chat or private video conferences, participants will be able to create links and connections in one click.
Our networking and collaborative learning feature allows participants to create their own meeting opportunities, at a time that is convenient for them. With just a few clicks, participants will be able to create conversation topics and set a time to meet with other participants who share an interest in that topic, either virtually or in person.
Hybrid software is about to evolve
For the future, we can certainly expect the technological dimension to continue to evolve to amplify the connectivity of events and encourage the creativity of organizers. This will include the integration of new interactive features supported by artificial intelligence to stimulate the community.
Also, we expect to see a transformation of event models towards smart community models; virtual event platforms would give way to permanent environments where community members could engage year-round through knowledge sharing, value adherence and continuous content discovery. These smart community models are punctuated by face-to-face or hybrid events.
Building sustainable value-creating experiences is our mission. The development of our platforms aims to put technology at the service of human connections in order to create connected communities and generate a real impact and ensure a profitable event for our customers..
As players in a constantly evolving industry, we at expertshare are committed to continuously exchanging with our partners and clients in order to stay ahead of the curve and offer solutions that adapt to the realities and needs of the industry.