As event planners and marketers, we all know how important it is to stay on top of trends, especially when it comes to event technology. Having new technology can increase attendee engagement, which is frequently the most important KPI for measuring event ROI. Implementing new trends at events sounds easy, but the difficult part is choosing the right ones for your event and deciding the specific ways to showcase them to your attendees. In my last post I talked about live streaming and ways to utilize this new trend into your events. In this post I'd like to get into another increasingly popular event tech trend, virtual reality or VR.
When most of us think of VR, we immediately think of gaming or entertainment. Specifically, I think back to about fifteen years ago to when I would visit the electronics store, FYE, where they had the virtual reality car game that you could sit in and feel like you are driving a race car while the exterior twists and turns in real life. These days VR is no longer restricted to the arcade or video games; it can be used for much more in everyday life.
So how can you incorporate this new trend into your events? There are many examples of events already implementing successful VR out there, but I came up with some suggestions that all events, even those that aren't especially tech-focused, can implement to engage and impress attendees:
- For entertainment — From trendy F&B snacks, to a photo booth and activity stations, there are a ton of different ways to engage attendees at events in between sessions and during breaks. This is a great opportunity to set up some interactive VR stations where attendees can explore and play around. It may be the first time they've gotten the chance to interact with VR, so they will for sure post their excitement on social media and that will create engagement and awareness at your event. Don't want to pay for it? Maybe get a VR provider to sponsor these stattions for some cross promotion.
- 360 degree tours — Perhaps you want to give your attendees a taste of local sights and attractions while they're onsite. Motivate them to explore the fantastic host city you selected for your event by giving them tours of its most popular destinations or views via VR headsets. This could make for a great partnership and/or sponsorship with the local tourism board as well.
- To view presentations & images — VR can be a great high-tech alternative to a picture slide show or video display at exhibit hall booths or even during smaller speaker sessions. Make these presentations come alive with virtual reality! This will for sure boost attendee engagement because it is something fresh and new while also being fun and informative. All it takes is two pictures, one for each eye, a caption and a transition. As long as you have some type of VR glasses like Google Cardboard or Samsung Gear, you're good to go!
Even though VR still seems like something futuristic and complicated, this trend is surprisingly accessible and easy to implement while making a big impact on your attendees. Now is a good time to start thinking about all the new tech trends you can be utilizing to make your next event that much more engaging, exciting and fresh. So if you have the budget, the right sponsors and a little creativity, virtual reality is the next big thing to enhance your event!
Have you used virtual reality at your events? Did it increase attendee engagement? Share below in the comments.