24 June 2020
Blog by Paul Szomoru, Director of Business Events at NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau
We’ve had a busy couple of weeks promoting NewcastleGateshead to national and international event professionals at MeetGB Virtual. Organised by VisitBritain, MeetGB Virtual was a great platform to raise the profile of the region to international event organisers in North America and Europe. Having the event online this year allowed for greater flexibility with event planners joining digitally at a time suitable for them to brush up on their knowledge of UK destinations and the business events product available.
Caroline and I attended both days of the event, with day one aimed at the North American market – to allow for the time difference this ran from 5pm to midnight – and day two focused on the European market. It was a brilliant use of technology to create a virtual exhibition experience which included; a lobby and networking lounge, a plenary hall for welcome addresses and four exhibition halls with over 60 exhibitors in total. Throughout the two days, we met a number of new contacts, as well as managing to catch up with some existing clients. Attendees were able to engage with us on a virtual exhibition stand, with all our resources – presentations, videos and conference guide – available to download, as well as the ability to live chat for any quick questions or set up one-to-one appointments using zoom for more in-depth conversations.
It was great to get suited and booted once again and speak to international audiences. It was encouraging to hear how optimistic people were and I’m sure that when it is safe to do so, business events will come back strongly. The event organisers we spoke to were really excited about what NewcastleGateshead has to offer, with a number of them telling us they loved our video which played automatically when you came on the stand.
Like many industries, business events has been badly affected by coronavirus but it’s been great to see so many organisers able to adapt quickly and turn to virtual events still rooted in the host destination. It was extremely encouraging to hear such positivity at MeetGB Virtual and we’re looking forward to welcoming back events to the region when it is safe to do so.