Digital Event News January 2022 - Page 25

January 2022

Opinion 25

Is hybrid the new normal ?

Showcase ’ s Dave Harding-Lyle reports on the enduring appeal of hybrid events
ew normal ’, a phrase

‘ Nthat has been bandied about a lot , and nowhere more so than in the events industry . In September , the new normal was going to be the return of live events and the demise of virtual and hybrid . This was based on the opinion that everyone would be clamouring to get back to the buzz and atmosphere created by human beings being in the same venue , a feeling that is impossible to get from digital events .

Well that seems not to be the case , proof in point is the fact that at Showcase , there has been no drop-off in the number of hybrid enquiries .
In October alone , hybrid events have made up 40 % of all new business conversations , in comparison with 30 % for live and 30 % for virtual , testament that this type of digital event is going nowhere .
So what ’ s behind this continued interest ? A change in perception . People have got used to not needing to be in a venue , they are happy to watch and interact on a computer screen , they no longer feel that they or the event are second best . They understand the benefits to themselves , such as not having to travel , health and safety aside , they appreciate the time saved .
Conversely , the invited audience feel special that they have been handpicked to attend in-person . The organiser also benefits by reducing overheads – limiting the number of delegates it has to invite , with no detriment to the total audience , as the number of virtual visitors is limitless . Another benefit to the organiser is that it can attract a wider range of speakers , as now they can participate from wherever in the world they might be . Gone is the need to jump on a plane to speak at an event .
This lack of travel also has a knock-on environmental effect , which of course is incredibly important , with the events industry striving more and more to reducing its carbon footprint .
The realisation that if created properly hybrid events can be as engaging as live The secret to getting a hybrid event to work properly is to make sure that both audiences feel part of the event . This means that the live element and the digital element has to work for both parties . For example , we always make sure that we have a series of cameras on the live audience as well as the speakers so the virtual audience feel that they too are in the room , i . e . where the action is .
Treating the digital element as if it were live Showcase has a long history of creating interesting live events , with the wide skill-set that comes with this , and we apply the same approach when it comes to virtual events .
When clients choose Showcase for their hybrid event , they have two options when it comes to live streaming . They can either have it streamed to their own Vimeo account or
“ PEOPLE HAVE GOT USED TO NOT NEEDING TO BE IN A VENUE , THEY ARE HAPPY TO WATCH AND INTERACT ON A COMPUTER SCREEN , THEY NO LONGER FEEL THAT THEY OR THE EVENT ARE SECOND BEST .”
choose to use Showcase ’ s own platform Event @.
Showcase has designed this platform in response to clients ’ needs . They told Showcase they wanted a platform with completely flexibility , so it can be tailored to their event , ideally an on-line platform that best mimics a traditional event .
Other important elements included : pre-launch marketing , registration , exhibition , live stage , exhibitors and visitor tracking & analytics , polling , live Q & A , chats and sponsorship .
So while Showcase cannot speak for the entire events industry we can confirm that hybrid is definitely part of our new normal , a new normal that gives our clients a wide variety of options on how best they can create any form of event .