Transitioning Events and Exhibits to Engaging Digital Experiences

Developing custom online experiences to replace in-person visits

With a strong background in entertaining app design and a knack for quality educational experiences, our creative and technical teams can create exactly the digital presence you need to keep your customers coming back – even if it is just their avatars.

The events and location-based entertainment industries have been some of the hardest-hit areas of the economy since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Over the next 5 years, the entertainment industry alone is expected to lose over $160 billion in revenue due to the coronavirus. These industries have to face the immediate revenue losses caused by the coronavirus in addition to losing revenue in the post-pandemic period. This is because many events and entertainment venues book months and years in advance; the pandemic has caused businesses in these industries to revoke some contracts and refund all customers who prepaid for their services. This significant financial blow results in massive layoffs for many employees.

Many analysts and executives fear that the demand for these industries may never return to normal even after the pandemic is over. This has caused many businesses to reevaluate their business models and explore the potential to move their operations online or with apps. Shifting to an online model for services can remove limitations that were previously present like geography, number of customers, additional overhead costs and more. This can result in immediate profitability for struggling businesses. By transitioning revenue to online platforms, businesses can reduce their overhead costs and focus on revenue-generating aspects of their business.

Many events and exhibit-related businesses have already started this transition. Some businesses that have transitioned their operations to online and mobile platforms include conferences, museums, and more. A great example of a company that has transitioned well is the British Museum in London. The British Museum is one of the oldest museums in the world and has artifacts and other items that span back nearly two million years. In early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused it to shut down all of its physical operations. For most Museums, this would be a significant financial blow because the majority of its revenue stems from visitations. In contrast, the British Museum set up an interactive experience that allows visitors to take virtual tours from the comfort of their homes. The tours have interactive and engaging features and allow users to explore in a similar manner to exploring the museum physically. This is just one example of how an events-focused business can transition to online and mobile platforms and maintain viewers and create a new path to revenue.

Conferences are being hit the hardest. With airline travel and close quarters communication being high risk areas, large annual trade shows have been postponed indefinitely as organizers seek out suitable alternatives. The gaming Industry’s own GDC and E3 were some of the most notable victims. While video conferencing apps are slowly supplementing some face-to-face meetings, they are wholly lacking interactive and exhibit-like features have been proven to increase engagement. Overall, the platforms that exist to connect users simply do not cater to the typical trade show formula: crowds, organization; press; speakers, and most importantly: interacting with featured products and services.

While many venues are scrambling to take their business to the digital space, they are finding creative design and platform development is proving to be the first hurdle, while sustainably monetizing it to be the most challenging. These days, it’s not enough to just have a digital presence. One has to have one that attracts, engages in creative new ways, and is something people want to support. As more and more digital events and exhibits are forced into the lives of users as we weather the pandemic, we may begin to realize this is simply not a temporary shift. The change may be permanent and exciting interactive digital exhibits may be the expectation from now on.

WM Interactive specializes in digital engagement creation.  Working with you, we can enhance your digital presence with the use of several technologies that include virtual and augmented reality, video conferencing, multiplayer games, virtual tours, Interactive videos, 3D simulations, and more. With these technologies at your disposal, your business will have the ability to customize virtually all aspects of your offerings. This will help increase your user engagement and that will help attract repeat customers and can even help promote more onsite visitations. Monetization can also be personalized with these technologies. Previously, the events and entertainment industry had only one-time payments for their services. With mobile apps, businesses can exploit in-app purchases, subscription-based models, gifts, and more; these features alone can multiply customer lifetime value immediately. With the right systems in place, a digital presence can not only enhance and supplement a drop in physical visitations, but it can also become a crucial contributor to revenue and marketing.

We are here to help. Let’s talk about how we can help you create an irresistible and profitable digital presence for your exhibit or conference.

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