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Myth Busters: The Truth About Virtual and Hybrid Events

BCDME Hybrid Event

5 Facts About Virtual and Hybrid Event Experiences

For nearly a year, virtual has been the most prominent method for executing corporate events. And as parts of the world, such as the Asia Pacific region, begin to reopen, hybrid events are gaining popularity. But there’s still misconceptions around these formats and just how they are being utilized. Here, we look at some myths surrounding virtual and hybrid events and reset realistic expectations.

EXPECTATION: ONE PLATFORM OR SOLUTION CAN DO IT ALL

REALITY: Given the complexities and requirements of virtual events, a single platform often doesn’t cover all the key elements needed to drive engagement. If you’re looking for a solution to host a panel discussion or presentation, an off-the-shelf solution might work. However, for industry-leading, large-scale events, one miracle solution for high end production doesn’t exist. Working with an agency that can help create TV-like broadcasts will elevate your messaging and energize audiences.

EXPECTATION: VIRTUAL OR HYBRID EVENTS SAVE MONEY

REALITY: Since transitioning into virtual events there hasn’t been much in the way of a differentiation in costs with those incurred during live events. Although cuts have been made in certain areas, the increased need for enhanced technology, engaging content and technical management for virtual means there is more of a redistribution of costs rather than elimination.

EXPECTATION: ATTENDEE BEHAVIORS ARE THE SAME AS IN LIVE EVENTS

REALITY: There is a clear contrast in attendee behaviors during virtual and live events. Some influencing factors include the length of content, the way in which it is delivered, as well as the option to view content once an event has concluded. These can all largely affect the level of attendee engagement during a virtual event and therefore the overall rates of live attendees.

What does the attendee experience at hybrid events look like?

EXPECTATION: VIRTUAL EVENTS ARE ONLY A SHORT-TERM FIX 

REALITY: We’re all ready to move on from 2020. But the reality of virtual and hybrid events is that they can remain a healthy part of your meeting and event strategy. We now have the tools, knowledge and most importantly, experience, in creating successful virtual experiences so why not leverage them as part of your toolkit going forward? Now that proper infrastructure, content strategies and staffing have been developed for these formats, focus on creative ways to integrate them into the mix. Building a robust virtual presence can be a valuable tool moving forward and shouldn’t be disregarded.

EXPECTATION: HYBRID EVENTS ARE TOO DIFFICULT TO MANAGE

REALITY: Hybrid events are more than possible - they can be very successful. One recent example is the PCMA Convening Leaders 2021 that took place in Singapore mid-January. 

Leaders on stage at PCMA Convening Leaders 2021 in SingaporePhoto from Meetings & Conventions Asia

Read more in: We have vaccines. Are we back to normal yet?

The event involved a hybrid convergence of some 3,000 attendees who joined virtually, whilst more than 300 people attended in person at the Marina Bay Sands. Live broadcasts streamed in from all over the world including Australia, Canada, the United States and more. Strict safety standards and security measures set by the Singapore Government and delivered by the venue were key to the event's success.

Granted, attendees may have to arrive early, undergo antigen rapid tests and face other limitations due to safe distancing measures, but when all aspects of an event are planned by event professionals, all this is simply part of an event journey which can be curated to be engaging, educational and yes- even entertaining.

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