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Coronavirus & Meetings: the Rise of Virtual Site Inspections During Lockdown

The COVID-19 lockdown has caused a significant amount of strain on the travel and events industry. According to US travel association: “The week ending April 11, the travel economy fell 87% below last year’s levels”. For the next few months, all large-scale global events have been cancelled, moved, or shifted to virtual meetings. As such, there is not much happening at venues during the upcoming months. The earliest we are expecting events to go live again is September this year, and that’s where MICE professionals are focusing their efforts now. Because site visits have always been a key component to event bookings, we are seeing a huge increase in properties adopting virtual site visits to win RFPs.

The use of virtual site visits has been in a slow but steady increase in the past years, and industry professionals believe it is rapidly becoming an essential part of how venues and properties are sold also after lockdown. Virtual site visits are more sustainable and an improved way to sell, lessening environmental impact from travelling and simultaneously adding value by providing customers a clearer picture of what they can do with the property after conventional site visits.

While the virtual site visits won’t fully replace physical site visits, they have shown to increase meeting booking conversion by 137% ( Radisson chain) by providing an effective tool in raising interest in a property and in directing prospective customers to the exact product they are interested in, i.e with a link that can be shared on Cvent or email which takes the client directly to the meeting space with 3D view of it and capacity chart, specs, layout, all in one place. These links are incredibly useful for meeting planners when they have already confirmed the RFP and start planning their event internally, since often all parties involved in this process may not be able to physically visit the location of the upcoming event, but can nonetheless experience its ambiance, flow and details remotely.

A good virtual site visit:

  1. Provides a clear understanding of the venue as a whole
  2. Answers the questions most frequently asked by customers
  3. Answers questions arising after visiting the property
  4. Provides an understanding of how the room can transform for different types of events

Sources:

US Travel Association

Event Manager Blog, Julius Solaris

See an example of a Visualizer Site Visit here.

Author: Saila Sinokki

Introducing: The Visualizer Site Visit Self Starter

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