Virtual, Hybrid, and In-Person Events — What’s the Difference?

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Looking to organize an event but not sure what model to use? Considering the varying expectations in a post-pandemic world, we see a combination of in-person, virtual, and hybrid events as lockdown regulations lift. You might be wondering what the differences are between them, and which model best fits your vision for an event. You can’t go wrong with any of the options — all can be fun, engaging, and interactive! We’ll show you the differences between each model and how their unique benefits contribute to an all-encompassing, immersive experience.

A Quick Look: Breaking Down the Event Models

Virtual An online event that can host attendees and presenters from anywhere! Within the creation of a virtual environment, guests can interact through VR games, break-out chats, fun trivia, and more remote, immersive activities. Save attendees time and money by allowing flexibility to watch on their own accord.
Hybrid A hybrid model allows employees the flexibility to choose between attending an event in-person versus remotely. It’s a combination of a live event with virtual components to create a space that all can enjoy!
In-Person Tired of interactions through the screen? In-person events invite all attendees to participate on-site. Choose from interactive games, live concerts, face-to-face networking, product rollouts, and much more to include in your next in-person event.



In the past year, the world has adapted to virtual life. Professionals worked from home, children attended virtual school, and appointments became remote. Although establishments are reopening and welcoming in-person services, virtual events continue to be used as a fun way to interact with others. Furthermore, if there are concerns surrounding attendees’ health and well-being, organizing a virtual event is a great way to cater to individuals who may still be uneasy about returning to in-person interactions. 

Recommended reading: 5 Reasons to Embrace Virtual Events

Virtual events create a platform for all to attend remotely. Common activities used for a virtual event include live games or competitions, remote galas, concerts, immersive environments that are company branded (check out an amazing example here!), trivia, speed networking, and break-out chat rooms.

Forgoing on-site attendees has multiple benefits: participation flexibility, no travel costs, and improved guest feedback and metrics.

  1. Attendees can participate in the event on their own time — with this flexibility, you can increase the number of participants. With no geographical barrier, your reach is limitless.
  2. There are no travel costs associated with virtual events. As mentioned above, the lack of geographical barriers allows for multiple people to attend. No traveling also means there is a decreased carbon footprint. Guests save money on travel while being eco-conscious.
  3. An online platform allows for metrics that are more easily tracked. Companies, hosts, and sponsors can see who joined, engaged, and stayed. These metrics offer valuable consumer insight for future events and planning.



Now that lockdown restrictions are lifting, adapting to hybrid event models has become more popular. You get the best of both worlds with the option to attend in person or virtually. This is great for employees who want to network and immerse themselves on-site versus the employees who might have prior commitments or feel more comfortable attending from their homes. 

Recommended reading: 6 Benefits of Hosting Hybrid Events

Common activities for hybrid events tend to mimic virtual events with options like games, breakout discussions, live concerts, and team bonding while offering in-person event options. Popular examples of hybrid events include trade shows, conferences, sales kick-offs, town halls, team bonding, and employee awards. If you want to spice up your hybrid event, opt for a fully immersive virtual environment that is company-branded — virtual attendees will feel like they’re on-site!

The hybrid model combines virtual and in-person experiences that create an environment for all to enjoy. Common benefits to organizing a hybrid model include flexibility, powerful sponsorship opportunities, and varied networking opportunities.

  1. Similar to virtual events, employees who want to attend remotely can participate without the hassle of spending money on travel or overlapping with a previous engagement. On the other hand, those who are eager to get back to in-person events have the option to as well — best of both worlds!
  2. In a recent article by Brella, we learned that 72% of corporate sponsors are interested in participating in hybrid events. This is because they can reach both in-person and virtual audiences, expanding their reach.
  3. The hybrid event model allows everyone to interact with guest speakers no matter where they are located. This allows for virtual networking through chats, comments, or likes, and face-to-face networking on-site.



In-person events are a classic. While the last year has resulted in a drastic decline of in-person events, they are regaining popularity as establishments reopen and COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. 

According to Forbes, “…clients express eagerness to return to face-to-face B2B events. They feel that they can generate more impactful business opportunities and better reach potential customers to market their products when they’re not communicating from behind a screen.” Common in-person events include talk shows, galas, conferences, award shows, product rollouts, live music shows, fundraisers, and grand openings.

The benefits of an in-person event include meeting new people individually, reconnecting with clients and employees, and promoting brand acceleration.

  1. The option to speak with someone individually can greatly benefit your relationship with them. You build rapport, find insight, and establish a connection face-to-face. Speaking with someone individually is not always available at a virtual or hybrid event.
  2. It’s been a long year, and greeting employees or clients in person is a great way to reestablish a relationship.
  3. According to New Breed, in-person events can greatly accelerate your brand: “Simply by being present, networking with people and passing out your business cards, you can represent your organization and increase your brand’s reach.”


Get started on your next event with TalkingTree Creative

If you’re set on organizing your next virtual, hybrid, or in-person event, check out TalkingTree Creative. Our highly skilled team of professional experiential designers, producers, and directors is ready to craft your unique, engaging, and all-encompassing event. Immerse yourself within our dynamic experiences — online or in-person. We will help you with your concept all the way to the final execution, perfecting every detail.

Let us bring your brand to life today, contact us now

Want to see what we can do? Check out our recent work here.


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