A Hybrid That Does More Than Make You Feel Good
They say the real reason they drive a hybrid is that it makes them feel good. The "feel good" factor may be a little hard to believe, but just check out the latest survey from CarGurus to see what I mean. The March 2011 survey states that while there are many reasons to consider purchasing a hybrid vehicle, gas would have to top $7 a gallon to make most hybrid vehicles the best, most economical choice.
In the technology world, a version of the hybrid exists that does more than make you feel good -- it provides efficiencies, cost-savings and improved experience. It's the hybrid meeting. A hybrid meeting combines a traditional face-to-face meeting with technologies used for virtual meetings.
In a business environment, where companies are cost-conscious and efficiency is the hallmark of success, professional meeting planners are leveraging technology in combination with their tried-and-true event strategies. At best, travel budgets are being scrutinized, and at worst, being slashed. People are working with less, or in many cases, making less work.
By embracing a hybrid strategy, professional meeting planners are able to satisfy both the needs of the sponsors and of participants in corporate events. This approach also helps build and maintain customer relationships by facilitating increased communication and engagement with meeting attendees.
Here are the hybrid meeting basics:
- Physical meetings are not going away. View technology as a tool to enhance the experience, not as a threat.
- Incorporating online meeting technology can increase your participation -- not cannibalize it -- by offering an alternative to onsite participation that enables more people to get in on the action.
- Encourage speakers and thought leaders to present online, so it's not necessary for them to travel. As a result, you are able to engage a greater number of meeting participants to enhance collaboration and connect onsite attendees with individuals from around the globe.
- Content is king, so don't be shy about charging for online viewership. Price your event in accordance with the meeting's value. If there is tremendous worth in the information shared and/or the speakers involved, participants will not be deterred by a fee. Additionally, charging for viewership often guarantees attendance and reduces the number of "no shows."
- Choose an online event vendor who will work with the physical event AV team. This will minimize production issues and provide a better experience for participants.
- Lead with video, but remember audio also works! It's all about your budget and the audience.
- Package your physical and online presence for sponsors. You can do this by simply ensuring that branding is consistent and offering opportunities to be visible online and with on-site event signage.
- Use polls and exit surveys during and after the virtual event to find out why attendees participated online.
- Offer virtual, on-demand online viewing of events to attendees of the physical meeting. This will allow them to participate in meetings they might have missed live. It's a nice perk.
Physical events are here to stay, as are virtual ones. Create a hybrid event that works for all of your constituencies. Get feedback from both the physical and virtual participants and make adjustments accordingly. You'll gather real metrics, real data, and real results. This is the opportunity to create a hybrid that does more than make you feel good. It makes less work for you and a better experience for your audience!