Event management is the application of project management, involving the creation and development of concerts, conferences, and festivals for different goals, such as marketing products and services, raising money, commemorating, and celebrating. Events are significantly important in today’s world, and event management is a fast-growing business. Individuals are constantly exposed to different type of events. The event experience is personal and unique, where different stakeholders attach diverse meanings. Technology is inevitable in today’s world and it has impacted all kind of industries, and event management is highly exposed to it. Communication is key in the event industry, and the ways to communicate are continuing to develop. These developments allow consumers to have more choice. Virtual reality (VR) is continuing to expand within the event industry. This analytical paper aims to illustrate what VR is, describe its cost and benefits, and analyse how it improves an event.
The technological advancement of virtual reality in today’s society is based on ideas from the 1800s. The term virtual reality was used in the 1980s when Jaron Lanier developed the gear, with googles and gloves. Virtual reality is able to depict scenery, setting, cognition of reality, and visuals. It is a simulated reality, where a three-dimensional environment is recreated through the use of computers. The individual using it is projected into a ‘world’ that seems real via headsets, screens, and headphones. The virtual world provides interaction, information flow, enchantment, and long-term commitment to a constantly changing environment.
Virtual reality can add more value to events by making attendees more involved through interactive, innovative, and effective solutions. The use of VR depends on the type of event, as it can be applied to a wide range of purposes. It can be used to enhance presentation, display products that cannot be displayed at the venue, make visitors experience places on the other side of the globe, etc. Furthermore, it can be used as an attraction for visitors as the event market becomes more competitive and attendees become more demanding.
The most significant benefit of using virtual reality is that the client, attendee, or planner are transported into location without physically being there. So, consumers get to actually experience the product or service and its potential impact, thus making the product or service more memorable. Furthermore, it reduces the cost in terms of location. In fact, event planners will only have to hire or purchase the software to implement virtual reality. This means that in some events, there could be the option of substituting the real venue with this technology. Moreover, one event could be located in more than one venue due to the introduction of virtual reality, making it more attractive to the consumers.
Another benefit of using virtual reality is that people will be able to attend remotely, without being physically present. This is an improvement both for event planners and attendees. For event planners, they will take advantage of the higher number of attendees. Why?
Attention span of people is continuing to decrease due to a high and constant exposure to technology. Interaction with the attendees is fundamental in order to keep them involved, as the attention span on average is about ten minutes. Therefore, the introduction of virtual reality during events, where appropriate, will keep people interested and entertained. One example of an event that successfully incorporated VR was the AUDI Q7 car launch in 2015.
In order to enhance events to the best possible extent, VR should be applied synergistically with face-to-face communication by event planners. The live event experience should not totally disappear in most circumstances, but rather be improved by VR. Although VR might not be used in all cases, it can significantly add value to events.