Creating a Rewarding Virtual Event Strategy Beyond COVID-19 (Pathable Guest Blog)


27 Aug 2020     |    Blake Ng

Creating a Rewarding Virtual Event Strategy Beyond COVID-19

For your tourism business to survive the tide of the COVID-19 pandemic, you will have to re-think your strategy and align with new realities. New tourism experiences such as virtual tours, especially those enhanced with virtual and augmented reality, are becoming increasingly popular. 

Although virtual tourism cannot generate as much revenue as physical tourism, it can help businesses stay relevant and remain profitable during and beyond the pandemic. The aided technology enables experiences that might not be possible physically, and many tourists are already fascinated with such possibilities. This might influence the kind of experience they will crave from now on. Therefore, as an operator, consider providing those additional experiences to attract more customers. 

There are several ways you can go about incorporating virtual tours. But, a strategy that includes organizing virtual events where potential tourists can experience places in a new way while also interacting with one another will produce great results.  

We’ll consider the following virtual tourism event ideas to win and retain potential customers and also create additional tourism experiences:

Continue reading to learn more.

Organize Virtual Events to Grow Your Brand’s Presence

Your marketing strategy needs to go beyond sending out emails or posting fresh content on your website. Create virtual tourism events to stay connected with your existing customers and attract new ones across the globe. Here are some ways to go about this:

Create Mini Virtual Tourism

Help your target customers “try before they buy” by giving them virtual evidence of what they can experience at the sites and destinations you are promoting. You can do this by pre-recording high definition videos with enhanced graphics to show interesting places, sites, activities, nearby hotels, and other areas that can incentivize attendees to plan a visit.

Virtual Site Visits

Another way to organize virtual tourism marketing events is through virtual site visits. Collaborate with local venues and DMOs to actually lead live tours of hotels, meeting spaces, must-see sites, and natural attractions at the destination. During these tours, the audience connects on your virtual platform to see the sites and ask direct questions of the local guides. This strategy works for attracting group visits, meetings, and events to a local venue, site, or destination. You can have various site visits of this kind over a couple of days when the event is scheduled to run. 

Secure Bookings In Advance

Attract potential customers from around the globe and create virtual tourism experiences that will make them anticipate the in-person experience. If you are able to delight your audience, you can secure advance bookings for physical tourism experiences down the line.

Create Immersive Virtual Tourism Event Experiences

Virtual tourism is evolving fast with revenue generation potential that you can harness to escape the risk of zero revenue due to COVID-19. You can also use it to create additional tourism products beyond COVID-19 by helping people experience real places from the comfort of their homes.

Plan and organize virtual events to give participants an immersive virtual tourism experience. For a sustainable strategy, focus on providing experiences that are rarely available via physical tourism. People might ditch virtual tourism for live tourism when things return to normal, but when you give them uncommon experiences through virtual events technology, they will want to continue to experience both.

For an in-depth look at virtual events, check out this Pathable resource. Then, consider the following ideas for your virtual tourism event:

Feature Places That Offer Exclusive Access

You can collaborate with partners at local sites to create virtual tourism content at places that might be difficult for tourists to access. Organize a virtual event and invite people to experience a couple of rare places. You can have a number of places on the list and give participants the opportunity to choose the ones they want to experience. Examples of such places include:

  • Places of limited or restricted access
  • Places that are currently closed off to the public
  • Iconic places that might soon be demolished
  • Places some tourists might consider too remote to visit
  • Places some tourists might not have the ability or funds to visit physically

Blend Virtual Tourism with Virtual Reality (VR)

Another way to give event attendees unique tourism experiences is to adopt technology to create intuitive virtual tours. You can create interactive images, videos, and guided virtual tours to showcase iconic places, sites, attractions, and more. The experience can cover different neighborhoods, giving the tourists an idea of the layout of a city, for example, as well as distances between locations, and other interesting spots. 

For a blend of VR, you will need to use virtual reality software to create 3D and 360-degree virtual shows. During your event, the shows can be hosted on a virtual platform or mobile app for participants to view and interact together.

Create a Community With the Virtual Tourism Event Experience

Apart from the opportunity to showcase multiple types of content  and offer attendees unique experiences, virtual events also help to facilitate networking and community-building. You will be able to interact with potential customers and gather useful data through their interaction on the platform. 

You can create additional activities like gaming and incentives to foster engagement. You can also use Q&A, live chats, 1:1 video calls, group chats, and other features on the event platform to foster community. 

Community-building is essential to keep bringing participants back on your platform to experience new offers.

Go Hybrid by Implementing Virtual with Physical

When tourism finally resumes, it will not be business as usual. It will be a combination of virtual, physical, and smart tourism, both onsite and offsite. Therefore you need to prepare for this. Here are some ideas to consider:

Hybrid Tourism

Collaborate with locals to explore the sites with high definition video cameras and people can join virtually to tour the site in a full-fledged experience. Communication will be enabled between the locals onsite and the virtual audience. 

Enhanced Physical Tourism

This is real tourism with some virtual components. Tourists actually visit the sites but you also provide a virtual experience of the places they are visiting. This is enabled with the use of virtual devices, augmented reality devices, and gaming applications to enhance the tour experience on-site. 

You can provide wearables like headsets, masks, and other gear to help tourists connect to the virtual experience and do something unusual like flying over a place while not actually moving a foot from where they are. The purpose of this is to enhance visitor satisfaction and keep them coming back for the experience. 

Smart Communication & Accessibility

Use a mobile app to share information with a wide range of tourists before, during, and after their visits. You can enable multiple language choices for visitors who may prefer receiving information in their own languages. For engagement and brand awareness, you can also create hashtags so that tourists can share their experience live on social media using the app. 

Smart Booking and Payments

Create channels on mobile apps through which tourists can make bookings, check-in, order meals, pay for taxis, and utilize other services during their visits.

Virtual tourism offers tremendous opportunities for marketing and creating unique tourism experiences. These experiences are better enjoyed in an event setting, using a virtual event platform to create an atmosphere of fun and interaction. 

However, a sustainable strategy beyond COVID-19 will require combining virtual and physical tourism in ways tourists will best prefer. This includes offering remote tourism opportunities as well as physical tourism experiences that are supported with virtual and augmented reality. 

#together4tourism

Written By – Jordan Schwartz– President & Co-Founder, Pathable

Jordan Schwartz is president and co-founder of Pathable, an event app and website platform for conferences and tradeshows. He left academic psychology for the lure of software building, and spent 10 years at Microsoft leading the development of consumer-facing software. Frustrated with the conferences he attended there, he left Microsoft in 2007 with the goal of delivering more value and better networking opportunities through a next-generation conference app. Jordan moonlights as a digital nomad, returning often to his hometown of Seattle to tend his bee hives.

 

Creating a Rewarding Virtual Event Strategy Beyond COVID-19 (Pathable Guest Blog)

Creating a Rewarding Virtual Event Strategy Beyond COVID-19

For your tourism business to survive the tide of the COVID-19 pandemic, you will have to re-think your strategy and align with new realities. New tourism experiences such as virtual tours, especially those enhanced with virtual and augmented reality, are becoming increasingly popular. 

Although virtual tourism cannot generate as much revenue as physical tourism, it can help businesses stay relevant and remain profitable during and beyond the pandemic. The aided technology enables experiences that might not be possible physically, and many tourists are already fascinated with such possibilities. This might influence the kind of experience they will crave from now on. Therefore, as an operator, consider providing those additional experiences to attract more customers. 

There are several ways you can go about incorporating virtual tours. But, a strategy that includes organizing virtual events where potential tourists can experience places in a new way while also interacting with one another will produce great results.  

We’ll consider the following virtual tourism event ideas to win and retain potential customers and also create additional tourism experiences:

Continue reading to learn more.

Organize Virtual Events to Grow Your Brand’s Presence

Your marketing strategy needs to go beyond sending out emails or posting fresh content on your website. Create virtual tourism events to stay connected with your existing customers and attract new ones across the globe. Here are some ways to go about this:

Create Mini Virtual Tourism

Help your target customers “try before they buy” by giving them virtual evidence of what they can experience at the sites and destinations you are promoting. You can do this by pre-recording high definition videos with enhanced graphics to show interesting places, sites, activities, nearby hotels, and other areas that can incentivize attendees to plan a visit.

Virtual Site Visits

Another way to organize virtual tourism marketing events is through virtual site visits. Collaborate with local venues and DMOs to actually lead live tours of hotels, meeting spaces, must-see sites, and natural attractions at the destination. During these tours, the audience connects on your virtual platform to see the sites and ask direct questions of the local guides. This strategy works for attracting group visits, meetings, and events to a local venue, site, or destination. You can have various site visits of this kind over a couple of days when the event is scheduled to run. 

Secure Bookings In Advance

Attract potential customers from around the globe and create virtual tourism experiences that will make them anticipate the in-person experience. If you are able to delight your audience, you can secure advance bookings for physical tourism experiences down the line.

Create Immersive Virtual Tourism Event Experiences

Virtual tourism is evolving fast with revenue generation potential that you can harness to escape the risk of zero revenue due to COVID-19. You can also use it to create additional tourism products beyond COVID-19 by helping people experience real places from the comfort of their homes.

Plan and organize virtual events to give participants an immersive virtual tourism experience. For a sustainable strategy, focus on providing experiences that are rarely available via physical tourism. People might ditch virtual tourism for live tourism when things return to normal, but when you give them uncommon experiences through virtual events technology, they will want to continue to experience both.

For an in-depth look at virtual events, check out this Pathable resource. Then, consider the following ideas for your virtual tourism event:

Feature Places That Offer Exclusive Access

You can collaborate with partners at local sites to create virtual tourism content at places that might be difficult for tourists to access. Organize a virtual event and invite people to experience a couple of rare places. You can have a number of places on the list and give participants the opportunity to choose the ones they want to experience. Examples of such places include:

Blend Virtual Tourism with Virtual Reality (VR)

Another way to give event attendees unique tourism experiences is to adopt technology to create intuitive virtual tours. You can create interactive images, videos, and guided virtual tours to showcase iconic places, sites, attractions, and more. The experience can cover different neighborhoods, giving the tourists an idea of the layout of a city, for example, as well as distances between locations, and other interesting spots. 

For a blend of VR, you will need to use virtual reality software to create 3D and 360-degree virtual shows. During your event, the shows can be hosted on a virtual platform or mobile app for participants to view and interact together.

Create a Community With the Virtual Tourism Event Experience

Apart from the opportunity to showcase multiple types of content  and offer attendees unique experiences, virtual events also help to facilitate networking and community-building. You will be able to interact with potential customers and gather useful data through their interaction on the platform. 

You can create additional activities like gaming and incentives to foster engagement. You can also use Q&A, live chats, 1:1 video calls, group chats, and other features on the event platform to foster community. 

Community-building is essential to keep bringing participants back on your platform to experience new offers.

Go Hybrid by Implementing Virtual with Physical

When tourism finally resumes, it will not be business as usual. It will be a combination of virtual, physical, and smart tourism, both onsite and offsite. Therefore you need to prepare for this. Here are some ideas to consider:

Hybrid Tourism

Collaborate with locals to explore the sites with high definition video cameras and people can join virtually to tour the site in a full-fledged experience. Communication will be enabled between the locals onsite and the virtual audience. 

Enhanced Physical Tourism

This is real tourism with some virtual components. Tourists actually visit the sites but you also provide a virtual experience of the places they are visiting. This is enabled with the use of virtual devices, augmented reality devices, and gaming applications to enhance the tour experience on-site. 

You can provide wearables like headsets, masks, and other gear to help tourists connect to the virtual experience and do something unusual like flying over a place while not actually moving a foot from where they are. The purpose of this is to enhance visitor satisfaction and keep them coming back for the experience. 

Smart Communication & Accessibility

Use a mobile app to share information with a wide range of tourists before, during, and after their visits. You can enable multiple language choices for visitors who may prefer receiving information in their own languages. For engagement and brand awareness, you can also create hashtags so that tourists can share their experience live on social media using the app. 

Smart Booking and Payments

Create channels on mobile apps through which tourists can make bookings, check-in, order meals, pay for taxis, and utilize other services during their visits.

Virtual tourism offers tremendous opportunities for marketing and creating unique tourism experiences. These experiences are better enjoyed in an event setting, using a virtual event platform to create an atmosphere of fun and interaction. 

However, a sustainable strategy beyond COVID-19 will require combining virtual and physical tourism in ways tourists will best prefer. This includes offering remote tourism opportunities as well as physical tourism experiences that are supported with virtual and augmented reality. 

#together4tourism

Written By – Jordan Schwartz– President & Co-Founder, Pathable

Jordan Schwartz is president and co-founder of Pathable, an event app and website platform for conferences and tradeshows. He left academic psychology for the lure of software building, and spent 10 years at Microsoft leading the development of consumer-facing software. Frustrated with the conferences he attended there, he left Microsoft in 2007 with the goal of delivering more value and better networking opportunities through a next-generation conference app. Jordan moonlights as a digital nomad, returning often to his hometown of Seattle to tend his bee hives.