In-person events are back, but there is still value in online meetings. Here’s how to reach a happy medium between the two.
Ling, vice-president, TBA Hong Kong sees in-person and virtual events
as extensions of a consumer journey that gives a brand constant
touchpoints with its audience. The agency has brainstormed with its
clients to create this kind of seamless transfer of content between
in-person and virtual events.
helped make the latest edition of Centrestage fashion show [hosted as a
physical event in Hong Kong from 10-12 September last year] the first
in Hong Kong to apply extended and augmented reality – XR and AR –
onstage, on the runway,” says Tay. “The result was a new kind of visual
experience – very impactful and immersive for the audience. The show was
also live streamed, with additional AR effects for the online
A further example of this ‘virtual-in-person fusion’ was FB4Fans,
which was hosted by Meta and created by Pico. It was an immersive
mobile-first virtual platform for Asia Pacific, enabling Superfans to
connect and interact with content creators. It also offered exclusive
content in AR and various games.
For Fredrik Hermellin, senior global sales director at CWT Meetings
& Events, using the two formats – virtual and in-person, can help
brands address sustainability issues.
“Having a balanced strategy allows you to invest more in personal
meetings and save the travel and accommodation costs where applicable,”
he says. “Virtual events have been with us for many years, and long
before the pandemic. It was only during the pandemic when in-person
meetings disappeared entirely that virtual events became mainstream.”
If you have to choose between staging an event in-person or
virtually, what are the best criteria to use? Each has its pros and
cons, and it’s often not necessary to choose one or the other – you can
capitalise on the strengths of both in a well-designed integrated event.
But, says Pico’s Tay, if you have to choose just one format, use the
channel that the audience ‘sits in’.
“In the same way as you wouldn’t
use Facebook to reach out to Gen Z, each format attracts its own
audience,” he says. “Don’t choose a format solely due to budget; choose
one for its effectiveness in creating a brand experience for the
CWT’s Hermellin says the choice is entirely down to the objective of
the event or meeting and points out how last year alone, CWT Meetings
& Events connected 74,000 people through virtual, hybrid and live
“There is no right or wrong, but many times there is a need to get
people out of their homes into an event space to connect, to listen,
feel and taste,” he says. “The decision comes back to the objective,
budget, policy and requirements.”