Is a Hybrid Event Right for You? Find Out.

Virtual and hybrid events have seen a sharp uptick in popularity, and that’s not likely to change. In particular, hybrid events, which combine aspects of virtual and in-person events, have significant benefits that may make them a popular choice in the future. If you’re on the fence as far as online events go, learning more about their offerings may have you wondering: Should I plan a hybrid event? Find out who hybrid events work great for and whether they’re right for you.

What Is a Hybrid Event?

Live events take place at a physical venue, for instance a convention center or hotel. Virtual events take place online, in a variety of virtual spaces and platforms. Hybrid events combine elements of both. At the first hybrid events, the bulk of the event’s content still happened at the physical venue. For those who couldn’t make it, supplemental content, such as video of speakers and presenters, was made available online.

However, partly in response to COVID-19 and partly due to the natural evolution of the event industry, hybrid events are changing. It used to be that most content was available at the live venue only. But now the online part of the hybrid event is an increasingly significant part of the whole. And it’s increasingly important to deliver a quality event experience online as well as at the venue. There’s also a new emphasis on a unique online experience, rather than a second-rate version of the in-person event.

How Do Hybrid Events Compare to Virtual Events?

Online events have some major advantages, but live events have unique benefits too. The biggest overall benefit of the hybrid event is that you don’t have to choose between the two. Holding a hybrid event, versus a solely live or solely online event, lets you retain the advantages of both.

Advantages of Virtual Events

Online events—and by extension, hybrid events—have significant advantages. They are unmatched in terms of their ability to generate useful data. While an in-person event can also provide useful attendee data, it can be difficult to track individuals seamlessly across the entire event space and timeline. Online, it’s exactly the opposite. It’s easy to track individual users and just as easy to combine individuals into different user groups to monitor trends. The ease with which this data can be generated, categorized, and analyzed, is unmatched. A virtual event can provide a wealth of useful information.

Virtual Event Data Is Superior

Another major benefit of virtual events is that there are fewer barriers to attendance compared to live events. Ticket prices are generally lower. Other financial costs are eliminated, as attendees don’t need to travel or book accommodations. There are no accessibility issues, apart from those that might apply to computer use. And there are no geographical barriers. Anyone can attend any virtual event, from almost anywhere in the world.

Disadvantages of Online Events

In-person events have a social interaction aspect that virtual events can’t quite replicate. A well-designed virtual environment can do a good job at replicating parts of the experience, but for many people, live events are better when it comes to networking and other interpersonal interactions.

Another aspect of live events that virtual events can’t replicate is the sheer spectacle. Think of huge events such as E3 and CES. The biggest brands in attendance compete to build the largest, showiest, most impressive exhibits. Nobody will ever forget Google’s huge playground installation at CES in 2019 or the E3 2019 moment when Keanu Reeves casually dropped in on Microsoft’s Xbox press conference. These moments are well known even among people who didn’t attend those events. It’s impossible to overstate their value, and, for now, they’re unique to in-person experiences.

The Hybrid Difference

Hybrid events combine both live and virtual events in the same package. This means they retain all the advantages of virtual events, including reduced barriers to attendance and improved data analytics. But, thanks to the inclusion of the live event aspect, the disadvantages of online-only events no longer apply. Attendees can visit a physical venue to see amazing exhibits and experience the networking and social benefits of live events. Meanwhile, those who are unable to attend in person—or who prefer not to—can still enjoy a valuable event experience online.

Should I Plan a Hybrid Event? Pros and Cons to Consider

Hybrid events compare well to both live and virtual events, of course, since they retain all the benefits of both. But hybrid events themselves also have some unique benefits and a few challenges that it’s important to consider.

Pro: More Options for Attendees

For attendees, hybrid events mean more choice. Reduced attendance barriers allow more people the option to attend. Plus, the ability to have a valuable event experience both online and in-person makes attending virtually a viable choice; it’s no longer just a fallback option for people who can’t go to the “real” event. With hybrid events, the online option is just as “real” as attending in person.

Pro: More Inclusion Equals Greater Attendee Diversity

The hybrid model eliminates many barriers that prevent people from attending events. It’s cheaper to attend an event online, and both geographical and physical attendance barriers are eliminated. People who previously couldn’t attend an event may be able to if that event becomes hybrid.

When you reduce barriers to attendance, your event can attract more people, as well as different types of people. And with a more diverse range of people comes a more diverse range of experiences, ideas, and opinions. And that makes for richer debates and discussions, lending even more value to the event content itself.

Con: Hybrid Events Have More Moving Parts

In some respects, a hybrid event is like producing two events on the same timeline. This is especially important to remember when it comes to your audience. Both in-person and online attendees expect a high-quality experience. Neither will want to feel they’re getting second place in that regard. These days, your online audience wants more from an event than a livestream camera recording from the back of the room. Going hybrid with your event means committing to high production values for both virtual and live content.

The bottom line is, it’s important to deliver a great experience for both sets of attendees. It doesn’t have to be the same, but both the in-person and the virtual event must deliver valuable content and an enjoyable attendee experience. And this does necessarily make hybrid events more complicated to put together than either live or virtual events.

Con: Budgeting May Be More Challenging

Budgeting for hybrid events may be tricky, at first. You’ll be working with an entirely new event model without a firm idea of how that model will ultimately affect your costs and revenue. Some costs will increase, but some will decrease. Some hybrid event factors that might affect your budget include:

  • Venue costs may decrease if you have reduced attendance and space needs at the live event. But in 2021 remember to also factor in the effect that social distancing will have on your space needs.
  • Health and safety is another cost that may affect your budget in 2021. At some venues this could be part of the cost to book, so it’s important to check and make sure if this is something you have to cover yourself.
  • Technology may be your biggest budgetary change. Professional-quality streams and other online content, plus the cost of setting up an event website to host virtual content add up. On the plus side, any video content you create becomes a long-term, valuable asset that can be used for training, marketing, and even future events.
  • Minimum spends on accommodation and catering may be harder to meet when you have fewer in-person attendees. You may need to look for new hotel or catering vendors to avoid minimum spends that no longer work for your budget.

How to Plan a Hybrid Event

Hybrid Events Are Here: Are You Ready?

Hybrid events may not end up being the new normal in every industry, but they are here to stay. They offer clear advantages over other event types, but their greater complexity means being able to rely on an experienced, knowledgeable team like the professionals at ProGlobalEvents is even more valuable. Don’t miss the opportunity to meet clients and prospects exactly where they are and precisely where they want to be: online and in person.

Jack Connolly

Executive Creative Director

As an experiential creative director, Jack prefers to draw outside the lines. He tells stories with original content and impactful design to ignite meaningful conversation.


Jack brings 20 years of event industry knowledge to ProGlobalEvents. He specializes in building live & virtual platforms for audiences to connect, engage and immerse themselves in the power of a shared experience. His skills range from ideation and concept development to defining an attendee journey through storytelling and design.

Jack understands the creative process is not linear, but a collaborative process between agency and client. He manages teams of designers and technology developers to pioneer impactful brand experiences. His diverse skillset and leadership ensure for award-winning results and memorable impressions.


In 2019, BizBash named Jack one of the top event designers in North America. SXSW awarded his work the “People’s Choice in Innovation” in 2021.

Jerome Nadel

Chief Marketing Officer

Jerome Nadel is Internationally experienced design-led marketing executive (CMO and GM) with a track record of improved market position, revenue growth, and M&A. He is an advance degreed psychologist and user experience product/service design expert, board member and advisor.


Prior to joining ProGlobalEvents |ProExhibits |XtendLive, he has had a variety of chief marketing officer and chief user experience officer roles at companies including Rambus, BrainChip, Human Factors International, SLP InfoWare, Gemplus, and Sagem. He started his career in the IBM Human Factors Labs.


He is also an avid cyclist with National and multiple California State Champion titles.

Ivan Fujihara

Chief Financial Officer

Ivan brings 25+ years in senior level management experience from a variety of technology industries.  His background includes accounting management, analytics and audit management for technology companies.  He has worked with companies such as THX, Ltd, Recruitology , Double Click, Creative Labs and more.  Ivan has also served on the board of Lincoln Families, a non-profit that supports East Bay children with the objective of disrupting the cycle of trauma and poverty.

Matt Rulis

Vice President of Sales

Matt is a marketing professional and has been managing marketing strategies, campaigns and environments for a diverse client base for over 15 years. From a service perspective, Matt and his team of Account Executives focus on fostering relationships to uphold a greater than 99% customer satisfaction rating year-over-year. Additionally, with extensive experience on the client-side of the industry, he understands that alignment between expectation and budget is paramount to a successful project. As a result, ProGlobalEvents' clients can expect a competitive advantage paired with top quality products and services. Matt is an avid fly-fisherman, enjoys most outdoor activities and is a true college football fanatic.

Tom Foley

VP of Operations

Heading the fabrication side of ProGlobalEvents is exhibit and event industry veteran, Tom Foley. For over 35 years he has been responsible for building amazing exhibits and environments for clients. Tom started out in the production area and has broad experience in project and operations management. He currently oversees production, warehouse, graphics and project management departments. Tom studied machine tool technology and welding before entering the industry. As a true "builder" he also enjoys restoring and modifying classic American cars.

Dick Wheeler


Dick serves as President of ProGlobalEvents and President of ProExhibits and is a board member of CEMA (Corporate Event Marketing Association). At ProExhibits he has been nationally recognized as an innovator and driving force in the fast-growing trade show exhibit and event industry. Under his leadership in 1997, the firm received INC magazine’s INC 500 award as one of America’s fastest-growing companies. His informative articles on developments and innovations in the trade show exhibit and event industry have appeared in national trade publications. Dick has a B.S. degree from Wittemore School of Business & Economics at the University of New Hampshire and has completed the Entrepreneurial Executive Leadership Program sponsored by MIT, YEO and INC. He is actively involved in Vistage, an interactive group of over 20,000 CEO’s and presidents worldwide and is a member of CEMA and EDPA.

Jody Tatro

Chief Executive Officer

In addition to being CEO of ProGlobalEvents, Jody is also the CEO of ProExhibits. With Jody at the helm, the company has been recognized repeatedly as one of the Top 50 Women Owned Businesses in Silicon Valley. She has set the outstanding client service standards for which the firm’s account management team is noted. Jody is a recipient of the YWCA’s Tribute to Women Award, the Junior League Community Volunteer Award and is listed in Who’s Who of Women in Business. Following her graduation from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Jody held various sales positions in several technology companies.