Some time after the pandemic was declared, the Virtual Seoul platform was created to represent the actual city Seoul in the virtual space. It was designed with several attractions including the ones that are well-known to global MICE industry as well as the new venues. The Changdeokgung Palace would never be a venue in real life as it is a site on the UNESCO Heritage, however because it was virtual space, it stands in the center of the Virtual Seoul showing its historical value to the visitors. The same goes for the Seoul Botanic Garden, as only small group can be holding a business event in the actual venue. It usually serves as a networking lounge in the virtual with its welcoming atmosphere.
The UIA Associations Asia-Pacific Roundtable 2020 was the first event hosted on the Virtual Seoul platform. The main challenge was to provide networking space and opportunities throughout the event as it was a roundtable. Fortunately, most participants were impressed with the innovative platform and utilised lounge space and promotional booths to actively engage in meet-ups virtually. The next one had double the participants and many PSA meetings as it was the Seoul International Travel Mart for Medical Tourism. Live sessions and e-conferences were the most common functions executed on the platform throughout six different events.
A recent event on the platform is the Virtual MICE Show involving virtual FAM tours, showcases for the PLUS SEOUL support and PSA meetings between the Seoul MICE alliance members, international buyers and local sellers. Another event hosted is a congress bringing participants from all over the world. 66th IPSF (International Pharmaceutical Student’s Foundation) World Congress, which will gather about 700 participants including 450 from outside Seoul. Alhough the congress overlaps the starting date with the last day of the previous event, it’s not a problem in a digital world.
In addition, other digital assets that Seoul Convention Bureau created have been utilised in collaboration with the events held on the platform. The Virtual Seoul Playground, the virtual teambuilding games, was a great source for audience engagement at events in which participants were able to play the games and post the screen captures for prizes. 360 VR videos of various venues such as hotels, convention centres, and unique venues help participants see the places in Seoul as if they were actually visiting them in their own place.
Seoul’s digitalisation transformed how to host events in Seoul. It presented a new opportunity and keeps proving itself with different MICE events hosted there. Enrichment in the programme was supported with additional resources produced to amplify the attractiveness of the city in the virtual space. The Seoul Convention Bureau is once again in the process of adding more venues with new functions. Stay tuned to see what kind of business events will be in Seoul and its platforms next time?