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In-person, Hybrid, and Virtual Events; What’s the difference?

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In recent years, the world has experienced a dramatic shift in the way events are taking place. From traditional in-person arrangements to hybrid and virtual events, there are new ways continuously being explored to maximise viewer engagement and make their events as successful as possible. These three main event types all have their benefits and drawbacks depending on the event goals, budget, and target audience, and despite hybrid and virtual events taking the rise during the pandemic, they’re here to stay!

We’ve all heard these words be used when describing events, and often interchangeably so it’s no wonder where the confusion lies. So, what differentiates one from another?

In-person

In-person events are the most traditional and well-known of the three formats. They’ve been around for the longest by far, and it’s likely you’ve been to one recently. These take place in a physical location and can vary in size from just a small gathering for a meeting, or to a large conference with thousands of attendees. Being at this event in-person allows for unparalleled networking and relationship-building with one another and allows individuals to engage face-to-face which is important. Another benefit of in-person events is the atmosphere that is created by being present. Whilst not impossible, it is incredibly difficult to replicate the same energy and atmosphere that one experiences at an in-person event and is arguably one of the most appealing factors about these types of events, in comparison to Hybrid or Virtual.

Despite being classed as an ‘In-person’ event, this doesn’t mean remote guests don’t belong in this type of event. For example, a guest speaker may be unable to attend in-person and therefore would have the ability to join the conference via a remote guest contribution platform (such as QuickLink StudioCall). Introducing a remote guest using QuickLink StudioCall will allow you to still access the high-value content of the remote guest even though they are not able to logistically make it in-person.

Hybrid

Often seen as offering the best of both worlds, hybrid events combine aspects of both in-person and virtual events. Allowing attendees to watch either virtually via a streaming platform or in-person at the location itself, this offers individuals the choice depending on what works best for them and suits everyone’s needs. It also enables the organiser to have a wider reach that isn’t limited by a venue size or the ability to travel in-person.

This hybrid format offers an elevated level of flexibility that fully in-person events can’t compete with, by allowing guests to attend no matter where they are in the world. This can be further beneficial by allowing the event hosts to reach out to any guest they want. For example, in a conference scenario with guest speakers, the hosts would have the ability to obtain their perfect guest who is exactly suitable for their requirements, without being limited to selecting an individual who is just in close vicinity of the event location.

On the other hand, however, hybrid events can be challenging for the organisers to get right. Careful planning and consideration must be done to ensure that the experience for both in-person and remote guests is seamless, and that there isn’t a drastic and noticeable difference in experience for the individuals no matter how they are attending – i.e., the remote guest shouldn’t feel as if they are being ignored or feel like they’re missing out when compared to those at the physical event themselves.

Virtual

Typically, entirely online, virtual events take place via a video platform and offer attendees complete flexibility of joining anywhere in the world with an internet connection or even just the comfort of their homes. These events can feature a range of activities such as webinars, online workshops, pre-recorded performances, or interactive discussions.

Whilst virtual events have seen a rise as a result of the global pandemic, the cost-effectiveness and convenience have also been huge drivers. Without the need to pay for a venue, travel, catering, equipment etc. companies can save this money and invest it into other areas that could benefit more from this. This cost-effectiveness extends to the attendees themselves too, for those not within close proximity to the venue, travel and accommodation costs would often need to be considered.

Despite this though, unlike in-person events, the atmosphere and energy that attendees would normally experience may be lost in this format. Whilst not always true, it can be very difficult to replicate the same guest experience when everyone is virtual and not there ‘in the moment’, leading to some users feeling disconnected and less engaged. However, with thorough planning and a well-chosen strategy, this can be avoided.

Conclusion

When planning an event, it’s essential to consider not only your audience but also the goals of the event, in order to choose what works best for you. In-person events are excellent for building personal connections and relationships with one another, Hybrid events offer vast audience reach by allowing members to attend no matter their preference, and Virtual events, offer unparalleled cost-effectiveness. However, regardless of which event format you choose, remote guests can be present in each, and play a crucial role in the overall experience, making events further accessible to the audience, and offering a new level of flexibility. It is therefore crucial to use a reliable, high-quality remote guest solution that you can trust in order to maximise the quality of your event QuickLink StudioCall allows just this, the ability to professionally introduce remote guests in high-quality into your in-person, hybrid and virtual events.

Find out more about QuickLink’s remote guest solutions here or contact us at sales@quicklink.tv to see how we can help with your workflow.

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