Hybrid Event Trends that Dominated 2021 – How to Prepare for 2022

The world of events has seen prominent changes in recent times. Although we are slowly heading towards the pre-COVID times, events are never going to be the same. Hybrid events have grown in significance around the world and are set to be the top choice for businesses and organisers while planning an event.

When it comes to hybrid events in 2021, there have been quite a few trends that have changed the events game completely. Trends such as downloadable content, increased broadcast quality, live translators, seamless check-ins, etc have been instrumental in making hybrid events much more impactful as well as profitable initiatives.

2022 will be a year when these trends materialise and evolve into more powerful and valuable elements of hybrid events. Check out the top hybrid event trends of 2021 and know how you can be prepared to successfully plan, organise, and carry out top-class events in 2022.

1. On Demand Content

As the events go global, catering to a wider audience at the same time becomes difficult, primarily due to the different time zones. Short attention spans, hectic schedules, and various other distractions are also major obstacles for attendees to be part of live events. 2021 saw an increase in the creation of downloadable virtual assets and the provision of on-demand content. This is enabling attendees to get access to the event content anytime at their convenience and thus, improving the event’s reach.

2. More Sponsorship Opportunities

While 2020 was a nascent year for hybrid events, 2021 saw a steep rise in the returns on investment for these types of events. The widened reach and enhanced accessibility of events through the virtual medium across the world are attracting new players to invest in hybrid events. Greater insights into the event audience, increased data capturing capabilities and better exposure are also proving to be a great incentive for sponsors.

3. Broadcast Quality is Improving

The era of virtual and hybrid events began in 2020, post the initial onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it was marked by bumpy streams with interruptions throughout the event, primarily due to poor broadcast quality. Event organisers soon realised that this was taking a toll on attendee attention. As a result, good broadcast production has quickly moved up the ranks and was amongst the topmost priorities of organisers while planning hybrid events in 2021.

4. Technology Powered Personalisation

No matter how creative and impactful virtual/ hybrid events might be, in-person event experiences have, for a long time now, been preferred and considered to be more personalised. However, with increasing tech advancements, it is now becoming possible for event planners to capture extensive data and make hybrid event experiences as enjoyable and engaging as in-person events. The use of artificial intelligence for matchmaking is also a great feature that is delivering more personalised experiences by connecting the right people.

5. Real-time Check-Ins

With both virtual or live events, the one thing that’s most common and which everyone hates – is long waiting/check-in times. Event planners that are utilising systems to automatically update and keep track of the number of attendees are being able to deliver much more satisfactory experiences to their attendees. Along with speeding up the check-in process, the use of a facial recognition system, integrated sensors, etc is also helping in monitoring capacity limits and alerting organisers when in-person thresholds are met.

6. Interactive and Engaging Elements

Engagement is at the heart of every successful event. However, with plummeting attention spans and growing distractions, keeping people engaged, especially in today’s environment, is extremely demanding. The use of polls, questionnaires, surveys, and similar activities is a useful tactic that is helping organisers in keeping people hooked and active throughout the event. Integrating gamification elements into the event is also turning out to be a great way to not just offer information but actually deliver fun-filled experiences.

7. Live Translators and Interpreters

The event industry is growing at an unprecedented pace with the virtual and hybrid formats enabling events to enter new geographical locations. But although the issue of accessibility is resolved, there’s still a major hurdle – language. To overcome this barrier, event organisers have started investing in live interpreters and translators to provide a more inclusive experience to international attendees. This feature can also minimise the hassles for businesses wanting to grow their operations globally.

8. Structured and Meaningful Breaks

No matter the type of event – a virtual, hybrid, or in-person, breaks are absolutely necessary. Striking the right balance when it comes to breaks is vital for your event’s success. Too less and the attendees may struggle to concentrate. Too many and they may get bored. As a result, event organisers are putting a lot of thought behind structuring breaks in the right amount and manner so that they act as small intervals where attendees connect, network and share ideas with like-minded people. This way, they stay engaged throughout the course of the program and also gain value beyond the content of the event.

9. Safety and Security

Attendee safety and security has been something that hybrid event planners and organisers have been compelled to focus on in 2021. This involves following all the COVID-19 protocols such as verifying vaccination status, rapid on-site testing, etc and maintaining the highest standards of hygiene at event venues. Similarly, using 2-factor authentication methods and encrypting data has become essential in safeguarding the data of virtual attendees. Going forward, hybrid event planners, have to thus be extra conscious about safety and security to deliver stress-free and enjoyable experiences to attendees.

The events industry is in a transformative stage. With the world changing rapidly in the last two years, events have also evolved tremendously. Although virtual events dominated 2020, hybrid events have gained much more importance after the pandemic has subsided. The above-mentioned trends are behind the staggering growth of hybrid events in 2021 and are likely to continue aiding its progression in 2022 as well.

Now, planning and organising your next hybrid event is simpler and than ever with Spalba. Our virtual marketplace of venues and vendors is an excellent platform to streamline your hybrid event planning. With customised solutions and end-to-end assistance, Spalba helps you host exceptional hybrid events with ease. Get in touch with us to delve deeper into our platform’s capabilities and know more about how we can help you organise hybrid or virtual events.

Ankit Sehrawat
Ankit Sehrawat

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