How to maximise hybrid formats in event design

Planners debate why hybrid is still very much in the event mix and why it remains a medium of value.

Planners share insights on the right way to harness the advantage of hybrid events.
Planners share insights on the right way to harness the advantage of hybrid events. Photo Credit: gettyimages/TarikVision

With different countries within Asia Pacific reopening at different rates, it’s unlikely that live events will be possible in all markets concurrently. And even in those destinations where travel restrictions have eased, people have become more cautious, questioning those events that justify travel.

Here are four tips to ensure you are using hybrid in the right way and what to expect.

The name of the game is a blend

Oscar Cerezales, MCI chief strategy officer and chief operating officer, Asia Pacific, says most audience activations, such as shows, corporate and associations events, are ‘O2O2O’ - online to offline to online. "Audiences move from one to another in real-time," he says. 

The key to effective event design is an "online to offline to online" approach, says Oscar Cerezales, MCI chief strategy officer and chief operating officer, Asia Pacific.
The key to effective event design is an "online to offline to online" approach, says Oscar Cerezales, MCI chief strategy officer and chief operating officer, Asia Pacific.

"It is common to speak about hybrid bringing together two main things from face-to-face and digital events, namely experiential value and scalability. However, the reality is that their design, the associated technologies and the economics are more complex."

Use hybrid to reach out to growth markets

Souad Saied, VP, head of growth at Jack Morton Worldwide Asia says that providing a digital solution to complement in-person events not only delivers greater access to individuals, but also helps brands to reach more people. “Hybrid enables brands to create digital experiences for their growth markets where perhaps they are not yet ready to make a larger-scale investment for an in-person event,” she says.

“We can expect to see budgets increase on the provision that we are able to reach more people and have more impact.”

Making hybrid compelling is a balancing act

MCI’s Cerezales says that first and foremost, it is essential to include strategic planning in the event design. “You shouldn't forget that the fundamental problem of hybrid events is that organisers start with the tech, whereas they need to start with the event design,” he says. “Money makes the difference – wise investment in design and marcomms will attract people.”

Take advantage of the metaverse

Jack Morton’s Saied believes that growing curiosity around the metaverse will mean customers will demand access to events in the digital world. “The challenge will be ensuring that the digital offering is compelling enough to attract and retain guests, rather than it being an afterthought or simply a content upload,” she says.

“Leveraging existing immersive, augmented and emerging technologies can help to create memorable, visceral experiences without the need to travel. And as brands begin to unearth the potential in these technologies, we will see investments in this area increase.”



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