The Hybrid Event Format Is Here to Stay, Survey Suggests

Ninety percent of respondents to an Encore Planner Pulse Survey said they will or expect to use a digital-event strategy once in-person meetings recover.

Author: Cathy Schlosberg       


One of the ways Encore has helped clients adapt to the hybrid meeting format is with its hybrid studios, which it set up for a PCMA Rocky Mountain Chapter event that took place at four physical locations, including the Hilton City Center in Denver.

For the Convene September/October issue cover story, we focus on how the pandemic has spurred the development and growth of different business models in the events industry. Cathy Schlosberg, Encore senior vice president of marketing, has contributed her perspective on this topic, sharing how Encore reacted to the quick acceleration of virtual and hybrid events as a result of the pandemic, creating solutions for its customers.

Cathy Schlosberg

Cathy Schlosberg

What began as a quick switch to virtual events in the early days of the pandemic soon shifted to a hybrid event focus, sharply accelerating a movement that has been growing substantially over the last decade. In March 2021, Encore announced the expansion of its hybrid event solutions (Hybrid+) to provide customers with a seamless solution to connect remote and in-person audiences. The offering was developed through proprietary customer research Encore conducted in winter 2020 and subsequent experience delivering thousands of recent hybrid events.

In its most recent Planner Pulse Survey conducted in July 2021, Encore surveyed more than 1,500 event professionals and learned:

  • They are now more optimistic about the return of events
  • More than one-third have now either planned or executed a hybrid event (up from the results of winter and spring surveys)
  • Two-thirds expect to host an in-person event by end of year; only 11 percent are requiring (vs. recommending) vaccinations to attend
  • 90 percent will or may utilize a digital event strategy once in person recovers
  • Challenges with the hybrid format continue to shift — safety concerns have decreased while concerns about hybrid planning complexity and cost have increased

Encore has developed strategic partnerships with Cvent and Intrado to make it easier for event planners to transition from all virtual to hybrid through a single end-to-end solution, connecting in-person with remote attendees through an integrated experience.

We’ve seen firsthand that the industry is resilient; that people have a pent-up demand to meet in person; and that the hybrid format is here to stay.

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