Producers of the Virtual Hospitality Expo 2016 in February expect 4,000 online visitors to attend the simulation-based trade show for businesses in the broadly defined hospitality industry — nearly 15% more than the last trade show they ran in 2011, according to a written announcement.
The live online show Feb. 24-25 will attract operators of hotels, motels, campgrounds, marinas, ski resorts, dude ranches, bed and breakfasts, vacation rentals, and a wide range of others in the tourism and travel industry.
“We’ve done this before,” said Art Lieberman, who has produced successful trade shows since the 1980s. “We produced the first virtual trade shows for the outdoor hospitality industry. The count of our visitors in 2011 was astounding for that industry — eight times the number of attendees at conventional trade shows.”
Lieberman’s virtual hospitality expo next month will be free for his 4,000 expected visitors. “And neither our visitors nor our exhibitors will need to leave their own places of business to attend,” he pointed out.
Exhibitor booths will cost $795, which he said is far less than the cost of booths at shows in hotels and convention centers, and that will be the exhibitors’ only expense.
“There will be no travel costs for anyone at our show, no costs for hotel accommodations, no costs for shipping booth materials or any of the other expenses exhibitors pay at traditional trade shows,” Lieberman said. “As national business magazines and websites have been pointing out, companies now recognize the importance of these trade-show savings.”
The Virtual Hospitality Expo 2016 also will include six to eight free webinars at which nationally recognized authorities will speak and answer questions from participants.
The show’s simulation software has been created by VConference Online in Tucson, Ariz.
Visitors enter and immediately see the trade show lobby. From there they can go to various places — to an exhibit hall, to a conference room, to a press room where they can chat with representatives of industry publications, or to a chat lounge where they can communicate with others at the show.
With their computer cursors, clicking on any particular booth will take them inside the simulated booth. During the live show they will see the exhibit staff on the computer screen and be able to talk with them. Visitors will have electronic briefcases, and they will be able to download product or service information from the exhibit booth into their briefcases. They also will be able to see a drop-down screen in each both.
The exhibit staff will electronically see a visitor walk into the booth, because when visitors register for the Virtual Hospitality Expo 2016, they will provide their contact information.
“The computer covering each exhibit booth will immediately have a visitor’s name and the company he or she represents,” Lieberman explained, “so the exhibitor can say, ‘Hi Jim! How are you doing? I see you’re with such and such hotel, RV campground, ski lodge, marina, bed and breakfast, or other hospitality business.’”
The two-way conversation can continue by computer until the visitor moves on to another exhibit booth, where the staff there will also chat with visitors. One of the big advantages of the computerized trade show is that exhibitors can download contact and follow-up information pertaining to everyone who visited their booths and give them any additional information they might want, according to Lieberman.
Two-way conversations in the exhibit booths and the webinars will be possible on the two days of the live show; after that, the show and its booths and downloadable information will be online for 90 days more, until May 24.
“During those 90 days, we won’t take down the booths,” Lieberman explained. “The webinars, which we will record, will still be broadcasting. Internet visitors can still see them for free. Sitting at their own computers at any time, they will still be able to go into any of the show’s online exhibit booths and learn from them. They will be able to email or call the people or organizations owning the booths, and can download any of the materials from the show that they want to see.”
More information about the Virtual Hospitality Expo 2016 is available at (570) 966-0080, on its website at www.virtualhospitalityexpo.com or by email at [email protected]