Hybrid Events Vs. Blended Events: What’s the Difference?
While gathered around our community desk, my colleagues and I typed away at our computers. The only noise in the office was the pitter-patter of fingers hitting keyboards. Breaking the moment of silence, my CEO speaks up and asks if we have ever heard of a blended event. We both answered no and the research began.
A new form of event hosting has made an appearance in a blended form. A blended event is an event held partially in person and partially online. Simply defined, it sounds too similar to a hybrid event. A hybrid event is a combination of a "live" in-person event with a "virtual" online component. What is the difference between the two?
A blended event has two separate segments happening within the event; one virtual and the other in-person. The two gathering times each include different information. The virtual portion can almost be seen as “replacing” general sessions for the time being as it is not safe to gather in large numbers. The in-person portion would allow small groups to come together and connect again. However, a downfall may be that people are not comfortable with meeting in-person again. Why would they leave the comfort of their own home only to go into danger? Through blended events, we as a community are able to take a proactive approach to host in-person events while still creating a meaningful and safe experience for those who are more comfortable at home.
A hybrid event is hosting a live event online. An example of this would be a Facebook Live of your company’s CEO answering questions or using a Livestream to host a webinar about your product. The same information is being relayed and presented online as it is in-person. A hybrid event may have an advantage when wanting to continue to be as inclusive as possible. However, it is easy for attendees to get sidetracked or not even attend an event that is solely through a device’s screen. Although offering the same, exciting information as one would get face-to-face through an easy to reach platform, like Connect Space, allows anyone (if you so choose) to attend your live event.
In the beginning, it may appear that blended and hybrid events hold very little differences; however, the two create different opportunities that the other cannot provide. Blended implements the value of networking face-to-face again and satisfies the desire to experience two different segments of an event. On the other hand, hybrid equips attendees with the tools to safely attend an event, and also provides the company with an opportunity to reach a large audience.