Why the future of events will be hybrid_background

Do you want to know how powerful will be hybrid events?

After the shock and anxiety, event professionals have reacted to the crisis by launching 100% digital events.

After a year behind the screens, they are all eager to return to the aisles of their trade shows and the discussions around a coffee. But this year has also shown all the advantages of digital and nobody wants to go back to the past. Half physical, half virtual, the future of events will be hybrid

In March 2021, the "Digital Tourism Week" took place. The event organized by Comexposium was a first for this company, leader in the organization of trade shows in France.

This event was highly regarded at Comexposium, which organizes many trade shows. We knew that the result of this first digital trade show would be analyzed and would influence our future decisions. It showed that it could work. In the future, we imagine hybrid events where digital will complement the physical event,
explains Marianne Chandernagor, Director of the Exhibition division.

The hybrid event revolutionizes the world of events

The hybrid event, also called phygital, is indeed revolutionizing the world of events. "Hybrid events are for me the future of the event industry. I've always believed in them, even before the health crisis," says Anne-Sophie Frenove, CEO of the start-up Cosmo Connected. This young company offers city dwellers connected objects to get around by bike, scooter or motorcycle in complete safety. For the past year, it has been organizing round tables on the theme of mobility in order to position itself as a major player in road safety. "The face-to-face meeting is necessary because we need to meet and exchange. But the digital version will allow us to reach all those who cannot travel or who are abroad", she adds.

A large audience at low cost

From the largest international trade shows like those of Comexposium, to Cosmo Connected conferences, to networking events like the CapHorn investment fund, all events can be imagined as hybrids. Indeed, the phygital format offers many advantages. First of all, hybrid events give you the opportunity to reach a much larger audience and to develop your notoriety without increasing the bill! The ROI is therefore much more interesting. All the big companies are doing it. In 2020, the BPI organized the sixth edition of "Inno Generation" in a hybrid format. The event brought together 6,000 visitors physically at the Accor Arena but reached 18 million people thanks to digital technology!

The hybrid event increases exchanges and engagement

A hybrid event is much more than a simple replay of physical events in virtual format. It is really a combination of both formats. Indeed, whether in front of a screen or in a room, each participant benefits from the same content, can ask questions, exchange and network. Thanks to chat options and interactions based on interests, participants can search for other visitors with their names, their emails, make appointments and exchange one-to-one with them. The BPI event generated 16,000 interactions and business appointments.

The hybrid event generates leads and valuable data

The phygital event generates leads thanks to quality content and good communication. "56% of the registrants were not in our database. They didn't know about our trade shows but they attended a digital event", explains Marianne Chandernagor.  And thanks to the statistics provided by MeltingSpot, Comexposium was able to retrieve a large amount of data on visitors.

The platform's statistical tool gave us precise figures on the number of registrations, the transformation rate, the number of exchanges and questions, the most listened to topics, and the time spent on each live session. We found that 57% of the registered users came to watch a live or consult a partner profile. The transformation rate is very good and even better than the transformation rate of our physical events.
The detailed analysis of visitors' behavior allows us to determine the real return on investment of the event and to improve the content and the experience of the visitors.

Phygital makes the event live beyond the show

An additional advantage is that the event can be extended before and after D-day. In fact, in phygital, not everything happens on the day. It is possible to start talking about it very early on social networks, thus feeding the suspense and anchoring the event in the memories. "We wanted an active participation during the lives but the success of the event was also based on the number of people reacting, liking, sharing on social networks before and after the conferences", explains Anne-Sophie Frenove. After the day, all the recorded content offers a wealth of information that can be retrieved and made available on social networks in replay.  "At the end of the live sessions, the idea is to extend the discussion around the themes covered during the conferences and to come up with other ideas for future conferences," she adds.

The hybrid is a force for creativity and innovation

On July 16, 2020, the fashion designer Jacquemus brought 110 people in strict compliance with sanitary norms 1 hour from Paris to attend his fashion show. 55 models presented the spring/summer collection in the heart of a wheat field. The show is striking for the happy few. But the show is also thought for social networks, with a live broadcast on the Instagram account of the brand that has more than 3.4 million followers. His creativity paid off. The media impact is immense. All the press is talking about it. In the watch industry, the sector has also bet on audacity. At the beginning of September 2020, the first "Geneva Watch Day" was held, bringing together the most beautiful watch brands. For the first time, this exhibition was offered in phygital. The concept of the Geneva Watch Days was based on three pillars: decentralization of the exhibition locations of the collections in various places of the city, digitalization in parallel in order to share the information with the whole world, and finally the opening to the public. This innovative format has been so successful with clients and the press that it has been renewed in 2021! The hybrid does not hinder creativity, it makes it a strength!

Trust a good platform

For phygital event organizers, technology is the biggest source of stress. In face-to-face events, the focus is on the participants and their feelings. In a virtual environment, the focus tends to be on the technique.
For Valérie Bihet, founder of the Vibe agency :

it's a mistake to focus too much on the technical aspect of online events. The platforms are there to meet the needs of event organizers. What we need to do is change our mindset so that an online event becomes a real experience rather than a webinar. This is the foundation of phygital. The sooner event organizers start thinking phygital, the sooner they will be able to maintain the trust of their customers.

And adds Valerie Bihet, "It's not a trend, it's reality."

Hybrid will bring events into the heart of the marketing strategy game for companies

The future of event management is therefore well and truly in the phygital. The hybrid event brings to each company an opening on the world and a manna of data! Thanks to the knowledge of their audience, event organizers will be able to offer to each visitor real tailor-made and customizable experiences. The hybrid will undoubtedly make events a key part of companies' marketing strategies. And platforms like Melting Spot will no longer be simple technological tools but a real resource where everyone can come and enrich themselves with live and replay content.

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