© 360° Sachsen

7 Aug 2018

User experience: On the way to successful conferences

Organisers take the first steps towards staging a conference long before the first participants register. It starts with searching for and finding the right destination. Which city offers the best conditions? Which partners provide local support? In Leipzig, organisers are professionally accompanied right from these first steps, with effective use made of the limited time set aside for site inspections. Even organisers who don’t come here in person gain a comprehensive insight.

© Cornelia Lach

First impressions count, and in Leipzig a seasoned team ensures the best possible first impression. In the form of a congress initiative named “Feel the spirit…do-it-at-leipzig.de”, a network of around 50 partners cooperate closely to plan, organise and stage events. Even for site inspections, representatives of congress and event venues, conference hotels, service agencies, local PCOs and logistics partners work hand in hand. Together they develop tailored programmes to present the wide-ranging possibilities for each organiser’s project.

For example, the company i-contravel GmbH, one of Germany’s leading agencies for full-service destination management, accepted an invitation to a site inspection in February 2018. The multilingual team of experts assists organisers from all over the world, from the planning to the implementation of their events. After an industry meeting aroused interest in the thriving Saxon city, a perfectly planned programme awaited i-contravel boss Liliane Emnet-Propper and her colleagues upon their arrival in Leipzig.

© Sylvia Gramann

Explore locations in Leipzig and experience the city on site 

Together with “Your Confriends”, an association of Leipzig’s biggest conference hotels, and the “do-it-at-leipzig.de” team, they embarked on a journey of discovery. Over the course of one and a half days, the guests were welcomed at 15 locations across the city by the respective hosts, including six conference hotels alone. “All of our expectations were fulfilled,” explains Liliane Emnet-Propper. “We were surprised by the good cooperation between the hotels. They know and help each other! That was really nice.” Visits to Zoo Leipzig, Porsche Leipzig, the Moritzbastei and the Salles de Pologne offered the group an insight into the broad range of conference facilities in Leipzig. With the Ratskeller of the City of Leipzig, Auerbachs Keller, Coffe Baum and Bayerischer Bahnhof, the programme also included some of the city’s traditional establishments, where visitors can enjoy regional cuisine and experience Leipzig’s past and present up close.

Depending on time and interests, the “do-it-at-leipzig.de” partners also take their guests to green oases or to leisure activities, to open-air concerts or on paddle tours. After all, a city’s unique attitude to life also contributes to a successful stay for many congress participants. “We definitely got a great impression of the city,” continues Liliane Emnet-Propper. And the team passed that impression on directly – through social media posts, a website blog article and a newsletter for the partner agencies. In turn, they can whet their own clients’ appetites for the city and conference destination.

Discover Leipzig through a Virtual Site Inspection - worldwide at any time

To get a first impression, however, organisers do not necessarily have to come to Leipzig in person. With its Virtual Site Inspection tool, the congress initiative offers a web application to interactively and individually explore the many congress, conference and event facilities Leipzig has to offer. Starting from the service portal at www.do-it-at-leipzig.de, Virtual Site Inspection has 360-degree photographs enabling a realistic overall impression of the city and the conference rooms in their various venues – from anywhere in the world and at any time. Geographical distances and tight schedules play no role in virtual reality. National and international organisers are presented with a powerful tool for efficient research that creates the best conditions for visiting the city in person. This makes Leipzig an attractive and modern destination from the very first click.

Virtual Site Inspection Leipzig © Andreas Schmidt

Three questions for...

Andreas Weigel, founder and CEO of diginetmedia

1. How did you get from the initial idea to implementing the finished Virtual Site Inspection tool for “Feel the spirit…do-it-at-leipzig.de”?

For us, creating every virtual 360° tour is always a joint effort; we see ourselves as our client’s equal. Even after almost 20 years of experience in this field, there is still a certain tension and we’re always curious to get to know the partner and their expectations. Our team was more than happy to implement the congress initiative’s wishes and ideas, also making further suggestions for the final product and seeking highly individual ways to implement it.

2. What are the technical requirements?

Our clients are always amazed at how little technical effort is required locally. Our photographer comes with a tripod and a special lens for his camera, then photographs even the smallest room or the largest hall. The idea is that every space should show its best side, but always remain realistic. After taking photos on site, we return to our offices to edit the 360° panoramas and program the virtual 360° tour.

Our clients love seeing the pre-version on our test server. The customer then has the option to request changes: Are all the details right for the captions, are the panoramas correctly connected, is the colour mood right, is this how we want to present ourselves?

Our client consultants, image editors and programmers take care of all the client’s wishes. Once the client has approved the 360° tour, we integrate the virtual reality version and send a download link. We provide tutorials and, if necessary, a personal contact at diginetmedia to assist with embedding the tour on the client’s website.

3. Is it possible to measure the success of VSI?

Virtual Site Inspection offers users a great deal of information, but also a highly emotional experience. Essentially, a virtual 360° tour can increase your conversion rate, because the tour with all its features is great at helping users make decisions. If necessary, you can use analysis tools like Google Tag Manager to analyse user behaviour.

Our experience is that more and more users simply expect a 360° virtual tour. A study by the German Association for the Digital Economy in July 2018 showed that one in two companies already use or plan to use 360° VR films.

Andreas Weigl © Kai Grieshammer

Andreas Weigel is founder and CEO of diginetmedia. diginetmedia produces and supplies virtual 360° tours and operates a VR travel agency portal, which is used by more than 10,000 travel agencies worldwide.