Chris Munz is Vice President of Business Development at Concept3D, which combines 3D modeling, interactive maps and VR-enabled virtual tour software to bring any physical location into an intuitive and navigable digital format for wayfinding, space planning, data visualization and asset tracking.
Virtual Reality in Event Planning – A Competitive Advantage for Venues
We work with a host of clients, helping them bring sometimes massive spaces at a single location or distributed over the globe into the digital world. The technology enables them to give anyone, located anywhere in the world, the ability to explore their space in virtual reality. Tens to hundreds of thousands of square feet – at your fingertips.
I got very excited when I saw how one client is using VR technology at a trade show, where they were able to “bring” their massive facility with them – in their pocket! Someone would walk up to their booth, strap on a pair of Oculus VR goggles and dive in. No joke, there was a line of people waiting to take the virtual reality tour. This opens up the door to many ideas for the sales staff at convention and visitors bureaus and venues.
Sure, not everyone is going to jump at the chance to explore a convention center or meeting and events venue in virtual reality. But we’ve seen VR used as a competitive recruiting tool for athletes, students, research scientists and in several other industries.
I see no reason why the same wouldn’t apply to reach professionals in the corporate meetings and events industry. The use of virtual reality in event planning is already happening and is only going to become more common and approachable as software and hardware continue to improve, making the user experience more useful and even (gasp!) fun. The efficiencies from VR can expedite the RFP process, make it easier for venues to keep track of inventory and track assets in order to give event planners what they need, faster.
Imagine going to an in-person meeting with an event planner who’s interested in your space. You bring a pair of VR goggles and your computer – with your entire facility – and perhaps even some custom room layouts in 3D, ready to share. Alternatively, you can send out an inexpensive pair of VR goggles with a link to access a VR tour of the event space, along with one or two custom 3D layout options that can be viewed in first-person. Either way, the experience will not only give event planners a memorable and fun experience tied to your facility but also demonstrate that you’re on the cutting edge of event tech, ready to support their success with whatever it takes.
Convention centers are constantly looking ahead, with planners researching 5-10 years before their events. With virtual reality, planned or under-construction spaces can be profiled years before completion, giving event and meeting planners a real-life idea about how they can take advantage of the space down the line. Being able to show future space is a big advantage!
Virtual reality has so many applications in the event and meeting planning space, from marketing and sales, facilitating events, operations and logistics, to profiling future building and new spaces that will soon be available to event and meeting professionals.