Event professionals rejoice: In-person event planning has officially returned! However, it may not look exactly like it did just a few short years ago—but that’s not a bad thing.

During the pandemic, event planners hosted virtual events. Not only did this allow them to host a wider audience around the world, but it also paved the way for the future of the industry: hybrid event planning.

According to Skift, nearly 75% of event professionals plan to continue incorporating a virtual component into their event strategy moving forward. In other words, they’re openly embracing the hybrid format’s potential. 

In this blog, we’ll talk about the power of hybrid event planning and learn from four of the best hybrid event examples in 2022.

The basics of hybrid events

Before we get into it, let’s define hybrid events

A hybrid event is an immersive combination of both in-person and virtual event experiences. Whereas people from the former group attend the live event at the physical venue, remote attendees do so through a live stream, which is typically broadcasted over a virtual event platform.

Ideally, a successful hybrid event should bridge the gap between the physical and virtual audience so that all event attendees can seamlessly connect with one another, not to mention you and your sponsors. This may not be easy—in fact, according to 71% of event planners, it’s a major challenge—but it’s an essential part of the hybrid event planning process.

Here are a few ways event professionals try to overcome the distance:

  • A mix of pre-recorded and live event content.
  • Hybrid breakout rooms where online attendees can participate and interact with each other.
  • Live polling and Q&A so that the remote audience can feel like they’re in the room.
  • Networking tools that make it easy for all participants to connect regardless of their location.

Keep in mind that hybrid events normally fall into two categories:

Internal hybrid events

Internal hybrid events are private, company-facing get-togethers where event planners cater to employees and internal stakeholders. Some examples might include:

  • Team building events.
  • Professional development workshops.
  • Corporate retreats.

External hybrid events

External hybrid events are customer-facing gatherings of people generally interested in the same topic or industry. Common examples include:

  • Trade shows.
  • Conferences.
  • Networking events.

4 of the best hybrid event examples in 2022

Remember: Hybrid events are a combination of two very different experiences. A successful hybrid event will blend them together as effectively as possible.

Okay—but what does that really look like? To demonstrate, here are some of the best hybrid event examples from 2022:

1. Apple Special Events

As a globally recognized titan of technology, Apple is consistently ahead of the curve. Unsurprisingly, its events are no exception.

Apple Special Events are a great example of the hybrid format being leveraged to its fullest potential. Why? Because they’re always a smashing success. The company organizes a handful of events each year to showcase its newest products, updates, and innovations to rave reviews.

Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference, for example, offered both in-person and virtual attendees a chance to get a firsthand look at its latest technologies through a combo of physical and digital sessions. Rather than offering this experience only to the attendees physically present at the conference, Apple made sure to take their remote attendees along for the ride.

2. INBOUND by HubSpot 2022

One of the most important aspects of hosting a successful hybrid event—or any event in general—is connection. There’s perhaps no better example of a hybrid event that takes this to the next level than INBOUND 2022.

INBOUND is HubSpot’s annual three-day marketing, sales, and customer success conference. With keynote speakers that included former President Barack Obama, actress Viola Davis, and biologist Dr. Jane Goodall, HubSpot had no trouble generating excitement in its target audience.

In 2021, INBOUND was a purely virtual event. But, being that this year’s theme was connectedness, it’s only fitting that HubSpot embraced the hybrid format this time around. In 2022, event planners offered a variety of tools that made networking simple for both in-person and virtual audiences. Using a mobile event app and hybrid event platform, attendees could easily connect with each other, chat about session topics, exchange ideas, and jump into a meeting if the opportunity arose.

After the success of INBOUND 2022, HubSpot is sticking with the hybrid approach for its future events.

3. Social Media Marketing World 2022

Social Media Marketing World is a go-to event for the world’s top social influencers. Each year, attendees gather in San Diego to discuss the latest trends and best practices for social media promotion. Although it leans heavily toward the in-person format, the event goes the extra mile to incorporate a virtual component into the mix.

In 2022, the event planners made sure virtual attendees had access to the same quality content as the physical audience. Through a tiered registration system, certain ticket-holders had access to recordings of session content after the fact, whereas others could live stream all activities as they were happening. 

And, to blend the experiences, Social Media Marketing World also invited attendees to participate in private networking groups, live online meetups, and other forms of connection. 

4. MAD//Fest London 2022

MAD//Fest isn’t your typical marketing festival. It thrives on excitement, disruption, and innovation, which is exactly what its founders brought to the table when they migrated to the hybrid format in 2021 and again in 2022.

Simply put, MAD//Fest is where marketers around the world go to share ideas and network with their industry peers. At its 2022 conference in London, in-person attendees chowed down on delicious food in between a mix of physical and virtual sessions, which were broadcast live to a remote audience.

To overcome the distance between groups, MAD//Fest leveraged hybrid event technology, which helped them keep everyone engaged. Attendees could easily network with one another through an event platform that was accessible through a branded mobile app. From here, they could also interact through a social wall, chat with their peers, and see a leaderboard of participants who had made the most connections

Still need some inspiration? Check out our list of hybrid event ideas.

The benefits of hybrid events

Hybrid events such as the examples listed above are increasingly the go-to format for event professionals around the world. According to Skift’s State of the Event Industry Report, the vast majority of organizations see their future events becoming hybrid. 

Why? Well, let’s consider the advantages of hosting a hybrid event:

  • Wider audience: Venue capacity, travel limitations, and extra costs are major barriers of entry for some attendees. What’s also important to remember is that a portion of your target audience may not be physically capable of moving around a large event space. Adding a virtual layer to your strategy allows you to reach more attendees and create a more inclusive experience.
  • Increased ROI: Event revenue is a top priority for event professionals. With a hybrid event, you unlock an entirely new virtual audience, which can drive ticket sales and increase ROI. In fact, per Markletic data, 86% of B2B organizations see a positive ROI seven months after their hybrid event.
  • Improved data collection: A hybrid event platform makes it easy to acquire attendee information. The right choice of platform can even offer a 360-degree view of your real-time metrics before, during, and after the event.

Support your next hybrid event with Webex Events

By now, you may have realized that hybrid events are surging full-steam ahead across the event planning industry. Luckily, it’s not too late to hop on board.

In this blog, we’ve given you four of the best hybrid event examples that rocked 2022. Each of them had something in common: event technology. Without the aid of a robust tech stack, it’s likely that none of them would have been as engaging or successful.

That’s why hybrid event platforms are essential. With a solution like Webex Events, you can seamlessly connect in-person and virtual attendees through a comprehensive set of immersive features, including:

In sum, Webex Events is your one-stop shop for in-person, virtual, and hybrid events. With these tools on your side, you can fully leverage the power of the hybrid format.

Learn more about how Webex Events can take your hybrid event to the next level. Schedule a personalized demo today.