Prior to the pandemic, in-person meetings and events were a global staple for many. Then in 2020 we all made the pivot to gathering in the virtual world. As we move through each phase of the pandemic, we are seeing the return of in-person meetings, but also witnessing a new breed of meeting and events – Hybrid, to include both in-person and virtual audiences.

Hybrid is more than just an emerging format. It presents a diverse option to connect with your audience or attendees. Our personal and our professional lives have changed considerably over the last three years, defined by a new set of priorities. The days of jumping on a plane and leaving for a week to attend a conference still works for many, but there are others that may re-think its value and weigh it against the need to leave home. For some, attending an in-person conference may not be possible for several personal reasons such as finding child-care or family scheduling conflicts, or business concerns where they are struggling with a reduced or nonexistent travel budget. Yet provide this person with the option to stay at home and connect to the conference virtually, they may be more inclined to attend and fully participate.

Also, think about how many more people you can attract by offering a Hybrid event. Your meeting and event financial plans generally account for a set number of in person attendees, limiting you to a finite number of participants. However, with a Hybrid event you can readily extend your reach to a global audience. You’re inviting people to attend virtually, asking them to be a part of your meeting/event while you cost-effectively expand your audience reach. You now have the chance to reach more constituents on their terms, where they want to be and when it’s convenient for them.

Here, too, is your opportunity to reach high potential employees who may not have been invited in the past due to budget constraints.  Through virtual participation, you can start to unlock their full capabilities with exposure to corporate meetings and events. Inclusion in these types of programs creates engagement and excitement for your up-and-coming team members. It’s another way to show them their value and how you are investing in their future.

Gone are the days of limiting your number of attendees. Now we welcome the days of expanding to a larger, diverse audience.

The time is now to reimagine meeting and events. Nothing compares to in-person collaboration and the excitement of a room full of people in delivering compelling content with multi-faceted production elements. This is the essence of our business. Hybrid just opens the door to more attendees and affords them the opportunity to enjoy the same experience and excitement as the in-person attendee in a format that meets their needs. Rather than locking the door to these folks, let’s unlock the promise of Hybrid and create the next generation of best-in-class meetings and events for all.