The pandemic changed the way events have taken place throughout 2021 and now 2022, creating a need for hybrid events. Hybrid events entail both in person and online elements of events. Due to the pandemic, hybrid events and tradeshows allow for more flexibility for attendees than traditional in person events and tradeshows. Research has shown that 59% percent of people prefer to attend events virtually. Furthermore, hybrid events allow for more individuals to attend events that would normally only be accessible to those in-person. In 2020 a higher percentage of working parents attended virtual events than those without children, in every region around the world.
The hybrid trend is likely to continue with working parents 12% more likely to choose a virtual event over an in-person event after 2021. Since the start of the pandemic, virtual events and trade shows allow better access to a larger audience. Due to the wider reach, there is a huge marketing opportunity with advertisers able to reach larger audiences. Individuals and organizations don’t have to worry about the cost of travel, including airfare and accommodations making hybrid events much more appealing. Traveling is one of the largest contributors to CO2 emissions and hybrid events reduce the environmental impact these events normally would have by minimizing or eliminating the need for travel. The circumstances which would normally keep an organization from hosting or participating in an in-person event are resolved by the problem-solving nature of hybrid events.
When it comes to a hybrid tradeshow, there are a variety of platforms to choose from. One of the most important ways to have a successful event or tradeshow is to keep the audience engaged, both virtually and in-person. The virtual aspects of hybrid tradeshows should be live in real time, rather than prerecorded. To keep a virtual audience engaged, events should fuse the two audiences together. In question-and-answer portions of a tradeshow rather than having virtual audiences submit questions via online chat, ask virtual attendees to share questions aloud. Another key component for a successful tradeshow is incorporating breakout rooms and small groups to allow for networking, linking with colleagues, and sales opportunities. Virtual trade shows can offer virtual booths for exhibitors, similar to what is offered in-person, which would allow for virtual attendees to still have the networking benefits. To capture the attendees attention, virtual booths should be customizable to vendors. Vendors should use their virtual boots to show off their branding, logo, social walls, and any other creative content. These virtual booths are reflective of the in-person booths at a traditional tradeshow.
Hosting and marketing a hybrid event or tradeshow require the same attention to detail as a traditional in person event. There are a few things marketers should utilize to promote their event. To start, it’s important to create a landing page for the event where you can communicate why someone should be interested in the event and encourage people to register for the event. Next, it is important to include key words that will boost your search potential. Marketing should include relevant search words to promote virtual content in online searches. Then, it is important to leverage social media across all platforms. When it comes to a hybrid event a press release is still important to spread the word and create a buzz around the event. Finally, marketing must be consistent in order to keep attendees engaged and excited. When it comes to marketing a virtual event its important to utilize all your resources, from content marketing, like blogging, to social media and press releases.
In 2020, the Organic Produce Summit hosted a virtual trade show for the produce industry. The event adjusted their usual in person show to a virtual show due to the pandemic. Organic Produce Summit had a virtual booth for each participating company which attendees could visit any time during the 3-day event. These booths included all history and background of the company, as well as contact information. There were also live events and workshops everyone could attend at designated periods. Some examples included panels on topics such as marketing produce or merchandising as well as mixer/networking events such as yoga or happy hours.
The future of events and tradeshows is hybrid. Hybrid tradeshows allow for a wider reach, from attendees to marketing opportunities. When it comes to marketing your next hybrid event consider Oster and Associates. Schedule a free consultation with our team!