Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

April 13 2015

Will This New Tool Reshape The Site Selection Process?

By David McMillin

 It’s 1:30 on a Friday afternoon, and I’m in a fishing boat somewhere in British Columbia with a tour guide taking me to a cove where sea lions congregate.

Okay, that’s not true. I’m actually sitting on land in a theater in Vancouver during a recent press trip to tour the city’s outstanding convention package. I don’t have the extra time necessary to go on a full tour of the more rustic parts of the province, but thanks to an emerging technology, I’ve been able to get a 360-degree perspective of why I need to make the time to come back for a longer tour. The new tool is a beta version of soon-to-be-released Oculus Rift, a virtual reality headset. While the headset has plenty of consumers who love gaming excited, the headset has also found a champion at Destination BC.

“We think this is a great tool to help visitors get a bigger glimpse of what else is waiting here,” Janice Greenwood-Fraser, Manager, Travel Media Relations, Destination BC, says as she helps a cast of meetings industry journalists get comfortable with the goggles. “With everyone’s busy schedules, this tool can play a big role in educating people about the destination.”

SEE ALSO: 3 New Technologies That Will Make Meeting Planning More Efficient

British Columbia is massive. It covers more than 360,000 square miles of territory. Due to my packed schedule in Vancouver, I’ll only see a tiny portion of it. Plenty of other meeting professionals share this same little-time-and-lots-to-see situation. Virtual reality headsets may be able to help solve the problem. They’ll serve as an immersive introduction to the potential of a destination. Rather than directing planners to a gallery of static photos and bullet points of information, tools like the Oculus Rift and the already-available Samsung Gear VR can bring the potential of a destination to life.

Now, I don’t expect meeting professionals to make final decisions based on a four-minute tour from a set of goggles. However, I do think that this technology could be the difference-maker in adding a destination to the consideration set. As meeting professionals juggle packed calendars, it seems that this type of three-dimensional preview can inspire them to make room in the schedule for an in-person visit.

Would a virtual reality experience help you make decisions about where to take your group? Could you see this tool playing a role in helping meeting professionals tour convention centers and hotels, too? Go to Catalyst and weigh in with your thoughts.

Please log in to post comments.