By Dries Mahieu, Client Director and Ruben Brama, Senior Project Manager
Since COVID-19, many events have gone virtual. It has allowed us to stay connected but, to be honest, there are certain things we miss in the cloud: that casual chat with other guests over coffee, the walking lunch where chance encounters offer us new insights, or the afterparty during which new connections are forged. Not to mention the physical experience that has us laughing, crying, dancing, and experiencing things together, which we cherish as a warm souvenir.
At the same time, these virtual meetings offer many advantages. Because does anyone really miss the endless traffic jams before arriving on site? As an organiser, you have almost no limitations in terms of capacity, and you can easily reach a larger audience. Which is also rather nice. Our thoughts? Digital events are here to stay, in addition to and in combination with physical events.
Of course, we have to ensure live events pay off optimally. They might address smaller audiences and be held more locally, and we certainly have to take strict health and safety guidelines into account, but these are all opportunities to connect with our audiences on a deeper, more personal level. But when we want to maximise impact and reach as large an audience as possible, the combination of online and physical events offers massive potential.
Organising such a hybrid experience does come with new challenges, such as keeping both target audiences involved. You cannot keep your digital audience waiting due to live setbacks. And how do you combine coffee and networking breaks in the physical world and offer a similar experience digitally when you and your team are mingling with speakers and guests at the event venue?
Our experience these last 12 months has convinced us that hybrid events will become increasingly popular, as both live and online offer distinct advantages. However, events where online and physical audiences are served simultaneously will probably form a minority due to the organisational and technological challenges involved.
We believe that most hybrid events will be events where the same content is distributed separately to both a virtual and physical audience. So to make hybrid events successful, organisers need to focus on experience driven communication that works equally well on the live stage and on the online web platform.
For the time being and in anticipation of COVID ending, we create engaging digital experiences.
Watch hereunder a compilation.