Hybrid events — events that have both face-to-face and virtual components — are not only increasing in popularity, but also in impact, according to The Virtual Edge Institute (VEI), which last week released the second report in a multi-year study into the effectiveness of hybrid events.
According to the study, "Measuring and Maximizing the Impact of a Hybrid Event," virtual components create revenue opportunities for and promote attendance at face-to-face events. As evidence, VEI surveyed 247 attendees of its 2011 Virtual Edge Summit and found that:
• While only 7 percent of virtual attendees would attend a face-to-face event if no virtual component were offered, 78 percent of face-to-face attendees would attend a virtual event if no face-to-face component were offered.
• Face-to-face and virtual attendees have different motivations: Face-to-face attendees want to expand their network (43 percent), interact personally with presenters and/or attendees (41 percent), access in-person learning (30 percent) and build deeper relationships with their network (26 percent). Virtual attendees, on the other hand, want to save money (56 percent), save time (52 percent), choose what sessions they attend (40 percent) and try a virtual event (37 percent).
• Eighteen percent of people who attended a virtual event in 2010 attended the same virtual event in 2011.
• Eighty-two percent of people who attended the 2011 Virtual Edge Summit — they attended virtually in 2010, and in-person in 2011 — said attending the virtual component was "very helpful" in deciding to attend the face-to-face component.
"The survey results provide great insight into the motivations behind why people attend an event in person or virtually, underscoring the intrinsic value of a virtual option itself for attendees," said VEI Executive Director Michael Doyle. "Not only can a hybrid event extend your reach, but as we've seen with Cisco Live in the past, and now with this case study, it can also drive virtual attendees to attend an in-person event in the future."
For more information about "Measuring and Maximizing the Impact of a Hybrid Event," download the full report at www.virtualedge.org.