The worldwide pandemic has significantly limited travel, forcing businesses to find more creative ways to showcase venues and destinations to meeting planners.
- Will travel come back to pre-pandemic ways, or will virtual site tours become the new normal?
- Will virtual tours replace the traditional site visit of properties, cities, and convention centers?
- What are the benefits of this technology?
- Most companies have pledged to reduce carbon emissions. Will virtual tours for meetings be one of the steps corporations will take to reduce carbon footprint and be incorporated into meeting metrics?
The meeting planning process has changed dramatically throughout the past years as we have all found new ways to connect and forge forward during this time. Virtual tours became a tool for properties and destinations to showcase their services while travel bans were in place. A significant part of any good event is choosing the right venue and destination. It provides meeting professionals with the confidence that it can meet the organization’s needs before completing the booking. But, it’s not always possible, so what benefits do virtual tours offer?
- Virtual tours present event planner professionals with an immersive experience of an activity, location, or destination, allowing the viewers to see the destination without traveling to it, which means they are not limited by available flights, travel logistics, safety concerns, and whether destinations are open.
- Virtual tours make destinations accessible to a larger pool of event professionals and decision-makers who may otherwise not be able to afford to travel for a site visit.
- For hotels and destinations, the apparent benefit is the ability to stay top-of-mind with potential customers and to highlight their location, amenities, and offerings.
- CVB’s have been using virtual tours for years to highlight the unique aspects of a location, including everything from history and culture to exciting activities, and local attractions.
- Showcasing everything properties or destinations offer is a great way to build excitement for travel and keep the destination top of mind once organizations can meet again.
- It is ideal for last-minute meetings when a site visit is impossible and the planner does not know the property or the destination.
- Virtual tours limit the amount of travel needed for meeting planning purposes reducing the carbon footprint some companies have pledged to lower.
- Virtual tours are accessible 24/7. When scheduling can be problematic, event professionals can tour the venue or destination when convenient to them.
- Virtual tours allow meeting professionals to view the site for as long and as often as they wish. No more concern about forgetting something crucial for the planning of the event.
- Virtual tours are highly convenient and a cost-effective way to evaluate multiple destinations for an event.
- Meeting professionals can use virtual tours to help promote their meetings to attendees.
This technology has so many benefits for both planners and destinations that I firmly believe it will continue to grow. Venues and destinations will allot a part of their annual budget in creating professional videos that are attractive yet informative, and virtual tours will become an integral part of planning process.