Evaluation of hybrid events in CREDS 2023

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Our analysis of attendee data from two in-person events highlights how valuable hybrid events are for different audiences.

1. Introduction

This report analyses the attendance data from two large (150 attendees) CREDS, outward-facing events to learn lessons about the value of hybrid events – ones that include both in-person and online elements. Both events were aimed at a broad audience of policy-makers, NGOs, academia and companies and invites were sent out via the Energy Demand Research Network (EDRN). The EDRN is the network that CREDS has built up over the course of the programme (2018-2023) of those that are interested in hearing about the results of the energy demand research that is being undertaken in CREDS and contains around 2,300 contacts.

The first event was in Edinburgh on 30 March 2023 and showcased the latest research findings on energy demand reduction, flexibility and decarbonised energy relevant to Scotland. The format and content of the event was designed to raise awareness and stimulate collaboration between CREDS’ staff with users and researchers in Scotland.

It was jointly run with ClimateXChange, who are based at the University of Edinburgh and is Scotland’s Centre of expertise connecting climate change research and policy. ClimateXchange (CXC) are funded by the Scottish Government, responding to questions and requests for evidence and commissioning research and analysis to support the Scottish Government.

It was aimed at a broad audience, particularly researchers involved in energy demand within Scotland and the Scottish Government and invites were sent via the EDRN and the CXC contacts list. This was a free, 4-hour event from 10am-2pm including an hour for lunch.

Find out more about our Edinburgh event in our blog:

The second event was in London on 23 May 2023 and provided an overview of our research findings from the Director of CREDS followed by four impact case studies presented by our researchers and our stakeholders – people who have used the results. The format and content of the event was designed to demonstrate impact, by showcasing how CREDS has changed the conversation about energy use by working with policymakers, businesses and researchers over the past five years. This was a free 4-hour event with an hour for networking before, 2-hours (within working hours, 3-5pm) of the formal event with speakers and another hour after the event for the audience to discuss the information and network.

Find out more about the London event in our blogs:

2. Analysis of people who registered vs those who attended

The numbers of people who registered on Eventbrite have been recorded as well as those who actually attended on the day for both events. It is often difficult with large events to ensure that everyone who arrives is recorded and we tried to overcome this by having 3 to 5 people at the reception area handing out name badges and recording names.

The tables below show the number of people who registered and attended the two large CREDS events in 2023. The data are split into those that registered and attended In-person and those that registered and attended online via Zoom. The audience is split by organisation type with the number and percentage for each.


Accuracy of data: It is hard to accurately record in-person attendees as some drop out on the day and non-registered people attend on spec. Recording all those that arrive is hard as the registration time is short, many people arrive in a dense timeframe and staff cannot hand out name badges and tick off names at the same time without causing long delays.  Recording the online attendees is more accurate as we enabled the function within TEAMS or Zoom to log attendees as they login by asking for their name and email address. These data were de-duplicated for the analysis since if people drop-off due to internet problems then come back in, they are then recorded a second time.

Allocation to organisations: Organisations are allocated on the basis of the email address and verified by the organisation name which is collected on Eventbrite. Sex and gender data were not collected for these events.

Small data set: The conclusions are based on data from only two large events, so the conclusions are indicative rather than statistically significant.

Table 1: Data for people who registered and attended, both in-person and online for Edinburgh event
Organisation type In-person Online
Registered Attended Registered Attended
Academia (.ac) 75 67% 47 63% 45 33% 33 49%
Company (.co) 11 10% 8 11% 26 19% 2 3%
Government (.gov) 21 19% 15 20% 36 27% 22 32%
NGOs (.org) 5 4% 4 5% 20 15% 8 12%
Other 0 0% 1 1% 8 6% 3 4%
Total 112 100% 75 100% 135 100 68 100
Table 2: Data for people who registered and attended, both in-person and online for London event
Organisation type In-person Online
Registered Attended Registered Attended
Academia (.ac) 106 73% 59 81% 72 50% 39 53%
Company (.co) 9 6% 4 5% 22 15% 8 11%
Government (.gov) 15 10% 3 4% 38 26% 17 23%
NGOs (.org) 16 11% 7 10% 12 8% 6 8%
Other 0 0% 0 0% 1 1% 4 5%
Total 146 100% 73 100 145 100 74 100

3. Findings

  • People from Academia have a higher in-person attendance (Edinburgh 63%, London 81%) than online (Edinburgh 49%, London 53%) at these two events. This is in contrast to people from Government where the online attendance is higher (Edinburgh 32%, London 23%) compared to the in-person attendance (Edinburgh 20%, London 4%). There are no clear patterns in the remaining organisation types.
  • The drop-out rate (the difference between those registered on Eventbrite and those that actually attend) for online attendance is around 50% which is similar to the average for free events. However, the drop-out rate for in-person attendance has wider range (30% and 50%) and this is higher for in-person events than we saw before Covid-19.
Figure 1: Academics made up 63% of attendees at the Edinburgh event, and 81% in London, while they were 49% of the online attendees in Edinburgh and 53% in London. Government employees were 20% of in-person attendees in Edinburgh and only 4% at the London event, but were 32% of online attendees in Edinburgh, and 23% in London.

4. Top tips

  • Different types of organisations are more comfortable and/or able to attend different formats of events. If the event is to raise awareness and disseminate to a broad audience – it is advisable to ensure that events are hybrid, if possible, to enhance accessibility and diversity of those attending.
  • Plan for a ~30% drop out rate for in-person events in terms of room size and catering to reduce food waste and improve sustainability of the event. Hence with a room capacity of 50, you could book up to 65 people and be fairly confident that there would be enough space for 50 on the day.
  • Aim to ensure that the timings of the main event happen within normal working hours e.g. 9-5pm, to ensure inclusivity e.g. for those who have caring responsibilities for either children or the elderly. Please see our Planning effective, inclusive and sustainable events guide for more information.

Banner photo credit: Sarah Plater Photography