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We tend to think hybrid events are a new thing, prompted or otherwise forced on use by COVID-19 restrictions. This is actually an assumption. Hybrid events have been with us all along. Even long before the internet-fuelled Skype, Zoom, and social media craze. I will give you an example of a hybrid event. The Olympics is the original hybrid event. It may have been a lot more hybrid this year, but it has always been a hybrid event. The recently concluded Olympic Games in Tokyo differed significantly from previous versions of the event for several good reasons. The events were held behind closed doors, a measure that was necessary but detrimental in the economic sense. Around $800 million was lost in estimated ticket sales, adding to even more in losses of visitor expenditure on hotels, airlines, and opportunities for repeated visits. This is not to say that the event was unsuccessful. On the contrary, it achieved immense success. Indeed, for this reason, it serves as an important case study for modern event planners and promoters as the shift to a new paradigm of event planning and management takes shape.

When you give it some critical thought, the Olympics is what most people in the industry traditionally refer to as a hybrid event. Some audience members attend the events live. However, a vast majority participates remotely. Nevertheless, countries have always been competing to invest vast amounts of money into hosting the Olympics. The Olympic Games Tokyo 2021 is an event that provides some insights into combining destination seeking with hybrid and virtual events. However, it is hard to draw comparisons between the Olympic Games and meetings or conventions as traditionally held in business settings. The Olympic Games are broader in scale. However, the event tells a narrative. The takeaway here is that you can leverage remote audiences for nearly anything other than having them at the destination of your event. More importantly, you can have them spend money in the process.

So what are the possibilities for event organizers and promoters? Hybrid events can be used as avenues for promoting a vast array of elements, including cultural appeal and creative organizational elements and capabilities. For example, in the context of the Olympic Games, a vast majority of the revenues from past events came from selling broadcast rights. For event organizers and promoters, the lesson involves leveraging remote engagement. This is something the organizers and promoters of the Olympic Games take very seriously. As exemplified in the actions taken by the organizers of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2021. One week before the opening ceremony, the International Olympics Committee heightened its promotional efforts to virtual engagement. The organization collaborated heavily with the Paralympics Committee, several star athletes, and Airbnb, unveiling the different experiences of virtually attending the event.

The strategy was necessary for several reasons. Spectatorship was looking considerably different at the time and not in a good way. But the situation presented a unique opportunity. Audiences were on the lookout for ways through which they could support the Games and the athletes. A campaign primarily dwelling on Olympian and Paralympian virtual or otherwise online experiences was likely to have some key positive effects. The experiences help fans feel closer to athletes and perhaps more than ever before, considering the events that have transpired in the past one and a half years. Interactive activities represent a significantly intimate window into the Olympic Games, as enabled by more than two hundred athletes and a hosting community.

At the local level, the Olympics provide a template for leveraging virtual and in-person attendances to your event, a goal Peepalike is specialized in helping event organizers, and promoters achieve. Their ticket selling and promotions platform is a valuable way to promote your event, increase attendance (yes, even virtual attendance), and generate more revenues in the process. This platform is best used as part of more extensive promotional efforts to reach out to people and provide them with a platform for acquiring tickets to your event. It is certainly worth checking out if you aim to leverage and cash in on hybrid events.

  • 14 Aug 2021
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