By Emma Little, CEO, ExecSpace

It will come as no surprise to event planners that the power of face-to-face is critical to great business and that meetings and events are the best way to facilitate this. However, there is a long chain of actions that must take place in order to organise a great event. 

With or without a venue-finding agency in place, it’s neither practical nor sustainable for the organiser to visit each and every individual venue, especially if they are considering different continents. Predictably, time out of the office and travel costs pose, in my opinion, avoidable barriers. 

Technology such as Venue Directory (particularly after its acquisition of ABC) has enabled agents to have the wealth of global venue knowledge at their disposal, but what it doesn’t do is give customers a true understanding of a venue’s infrastructure and capabilities. This is where VR may help. 

Being able to visit venues ‘virtually’ can give an immersive experience to clients and prospects, even if the venues are hundreds or thousands of miles from the buyer. The technology demonstrates more than traditional photos or videos and allows the event planner to get a real feel for the venue, without necessarily having to see it in person. 

On the other hand, VR is not without its limits. For example, it doesn’t allow planners to experience the true feel of a venue, e.g., lighting, atmosphere, toilet facilities or staff. Planners are also less likely to build a relationship with venue managers than they would physically meeting them.

However, I think VR is a new way of showcasing venues and will really assist event planners when considering global venues. Additionally, it helps venues promote their space without necessarily having to spend considerable budgets on familiarisation trips and marketing.

So, the truth is, we are all essentially local agents in global playgrounds but, with the power of technology, venue-finding agencies can overcome the physical barriers of time and distance and deliver a truly integrated experience for their clients. 

Whilst I do believe that having a local supplier is still key to getting the best from your venue-finding partner, we mustn’t forget that the power of bringing global venues to local clients is a key part of this process and indeed to the development of the global meetings industry as a whole. 

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Molly joined the editorial team in March 2019. She has several years’ experience working in broadcast and journalism, as well as marketing and PR. Past experience includes working for the BBC and independent publishing houses. If you have a story you think Molly might be interested in, please email: molly@eventindustrynews.com