Benefits of Hybrid Events Your Decision-Makers Will Want to Hear

November 30, 2021

Brett Hyams

Brett Hyams is a Senior Solution Sales Executive with SmartSource with over 25 years of event industry experience. He works with exhibit and event companies, associations, show organizers and event owners, and has extensive knowledge of the event industry’s technology and logistical needs.


If you’re proposing a hybrid event to co-workers, senior management or an association board, it’s essential to outline all the benefits. With the right event objectives, budget, audience and platform, hybrid events deliver on more than just eyeballs.

Savings: Hybrid events can expand the global audience of an event without commensurately expanding the budget. In other words, if you want to add more attendees to your live event, it typically costs more in physical infrastructure (meeting space, transportation, food and beverage) than it costs to add the same number of attendees virtually. 

Exposure: Hybrid events can provide your organization with visibility into pockets of people who may never attend in person. And these virtual attendees could become customers, members, influencers or buyers of your exhibitors’ and sponsors’ products without ever having to set foot at your live event.   

Growth: Increasing the size of your audience can increase your chances of attracting more overall exhibitors, sponsors and revenue. More eyeballs in more audience segments translate into more types of exhibitors and sponsors interested in participating in your event. More attendees can help raise the value and price of booth space and sponsorship.  

Promotion: Hybrids offer many more branding and promotional opportunities than in-person-only events. There is more real estate online than onsite. Plus, your organization, exhibitors and sponsors can offer more immersive experiences at a lower cost online. 

Worth: Presenting hybrid events increases the value of your brand and event holdings. Potential investors, sponsors and customers will increasingly lean toward event organizers that can work successfully across multiple channels and event formats.

Choice: Hybrid events provide your stakeholders with participation options beyond yes or no. Some attendees, exhibitors and sponsors may choose to go live one year and virtual the next. Hybrid events in which the live and virtual components are asynchronous give stakeholders the option of participating in both live and virtual at different times during the same event.

Thinking: Hybrids can deliver an influx of ideas, information and data that in-person-only events can’t. People, research, conversations and light bulb moments are limited in physical events because not everyone can come. You can bring in more brilliance if you allow some of it to come in virtually.

Scalability: Hybrid events are more flexible than in-person-only events because they allow you to modulate the number of attendees in the physical and virtual spaces to accommodate changing conditions. In the future, it may be more effective for some organizations to intentionally scale down in-person audiences (power buyers, CEOs, vaccinated persons) but scale up virtual audiences.

Conversion: Hybrid events can create FOMO for the virtual audience and convert them to in-person participants in the future. Free samples, low-cost introductory offers and test drives have one thing in common: They have a way of convincing people to take the next step. It works for Costco, and it can work for events. 

Continuity: Even if you choose not to live stream content from your in-person event to a remote audience during your hybrid, standalone virtual event content can be archived and repurposed for marketing, education and promotion.

In the early days of hybrid events, when the virtual component was a live stream of content that was simultaneously presented at the live event, transforming an in-person event into a hybrid event came with fewer benefits. Today, hybrid events are becoming more sophisticated, and the cross-pollination of people, ideas and buyer-seller opportunities has created many more opportunities for organizations to advance their event objectives.

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Partner Voices
Less than six months ago, Lisa Messina joined the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) as the first-ever chief sales officer after leading the sales team at Caesars Entertainment. A 12-year Las Vegas resident, Messina is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and serves on MPI International’s board of directors. TSNN had a chance to catch up with this dynamic leader and talk to her about her vision for the new role, current shifts in the trade show industry, creating more diversity and equity within the organization, and advice to future female leaders. Lisa Messina, Chief Sales Officer, LVCVA With Las Vegas becoming The Greatest Arena on EarthTM, what are some of the things you’re most excited about in your role? Our team was at The Big Game’s handoff ceremony earlier this month, and I couldn’t help but think, “We’re going to crush it next year!”  These high-profile events and venues not only drive excitement, but also provide unmatched opportunities for event planners. Allegiant Stadium hosts events from 10 to 65,000 people and offers on-field experiences. Formula 1 Grand Prix will take place in Las Vegas in November, after the year-one F1 race, the four-story paddock building will be available for buyouts and will also offer daily ride-along experiences that will be available for groups. And, of course, the MSG Sphere officially announced that it will open in September, ahead of schedule, with a U2 residency. It’s going to be the most technologically advanced venue as far as lighting, sound, feel, and even scent, and it will be available for buyouts and next-level sponsorships inside and outside. There’s no ceiling to what you can do when you’re doing events in Las Vegas.  Allegiant Stadium As the trade show and convention business returns to the pre-pandemic levels, what shifts are you noticing and how do you think they will impact the industry going forward? Our trade show organizers are very focused on driving customer experience. Most of our organizers are reporting stronger exhibitor numbers and increased numbers of new exhibitors, with trade shows proving to be almost or above 2019 levels. Now our organizers are really doubling down on driving attendance and focusing on the data to provide that individualized, customized experience to help attendees meet their goals and get the best value. Some companies continue to be cautiously optimistic with their organizational spend when it comes to sending attendees, but I think it will continue to improve. As the U.S. Travel Association makes more progress on the U.S. visa situation, we also expect a growing influx of international attendees. What are some innovative ways the LVCVA helps trade show and convention organizers deliver the most value for their events? We focus on customer experience in the same way that trade show organizers are thinking about it. We got rave reviews with the West Hall Expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), so over the next two years, we will be renovating the North and the Central halls, which will include not just the same look and feel, but also the digital experiences that can be leveraged for branding and sponsorship opportunities.  Vegas Loop, the underground transportation system designed by The Boring Company, is also a way we have enhanced the customer experience. Vegas Loop at the LVCC has transported more than 900,000 convention attendees across the campus since its 2021 launch. Last summer, Resorts World and The Boring Company opened the first resort stop at the Resorts World Las Vegas , with plans to expand throughout the resort corridor, including downtown Las Vegas, Allegiant Stadium and Harry Reid International Airport. The LVCVA also purchased the Las Vegas Monorail in 2020, the 3.9-mile-long elevated transportation system that connects eight resorts directly to the convention center campus. This is the only rail system in the world that integrates fares directly into show badges and registration. For trade show organizers, these transportation options mean saving time, money and effort when it comes to moving groups from the hotels to LVCC and around the city. Also, the more we can focus on building the infrastructure around the convention center, the more it supports the customer experience and ultimately supports our trade show organizers. Scheduled to debut in Q4, Fontainebleau Las Vegas will offer 3,700 hotel rooms and 550,000 square feet of meeting and convention space next to LVCC.  What are some of the plans for advancing DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) within your organization? We’re currently partnering with instead of working with a leading consulting firm, to lay the foundation and create a solid DEI plan and be the leader when it comes to DEI initiatives. The heart of that journey with the consulting firm is also talking to our customers about their strategic approaches to DEI and driving innovation in this space.  What are your favorite ways to recharge? My husband and I have an RV and we’re outdoorsy people. So, while we have over 150,000 world-class hotel rooms and renowned restaurants right outside our doorstep, one of my favorite things to do is get out to Red Rock Canyon, the Valley of Fire, and Lake Mead. Five of the top national parks are within a three-hour drive from Las Vegas, so there’s a lot you can do. We love balancing the energy of Las Vegas with nature, and we’re noticing that a lot of attendees add activities off the Strip when they come here.  Valley of Fire What advice would you give to women following leadership paths in destination marketing? I think it’s about being laser-focused on what you want to accomplish; building a team around you that lifts you and helps you achieve your goals; and being humble and realizing that you do it as a group. No one gets this done alone. Thankfully, there are a lot of women in leadership in this organization, in our customers’ organizations, and in this city that we can be really proud of. We’re a formidable force that is making things happen.   This interview has been edited and condensed. This article is exclusively sponsored by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. For more information, visit HERE.