The annual Union of International Associations (UIA) Round Table Asia-Pacific 2020 was held as scheduled from September 17 to 18 in Seoul, by going 3D and virtual. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and international travel bans, Seoul Convention Bureau (SCB) has hosted UIA Round Table completely on a digital platform in close partnership with companies in Seoul MICE industry. This is the first case in the world where Destination Marketing Organisation is presenting a virtual platform up front in promoting the city as an attractive MICE destination, in addition to the ordinary networking event.
With the COVID-19 pandemic still ranging in other parts of the world, SCB has moved a big step forward into digital world by launching the most innovative way of MICE destination marketing instead of holding back their marketing activities. The Virtual Seoul Platform serves as an essential source to be used towards holding more MICE events in the virtual world near future. Seoul Tourism Organization (STO) also hosted its first virtual media FAM tour for the MICE media delegates.
This FAM tour enables media delegates to join in any session of the round table as they wished and have an extraordinary experience to have a glimpse on the Seoul’s destination just like having an actual tour over at Seoul. Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, most of the physical events are transforming slowly into virtual or hybrid event model. This virtual platform able to encourage better engagement of the delegates while having a better understanding on what the city can offer for their future visit beside the contents of the conferences. It is an innovative move for sales and marketing in the new normal, also becomes the talk of town in digital marketing era from now on.
A Virtual Seoul Tour
The Virtual Seoul Platform is designed to accommodate various types of MICE event, showcasing the actual Seoul in a simpler 3D graphics showing close resemblance in locating the venues and nature. The web-based format allows the highest accessibility and also the easiest as a link is all you need to get in without going through downloading and installing a program. It works on mobile devices with recent internet web browsers, such as Chrome, Edge and Safari.
Just type in UIA’s designated link (uia.mwnetworks.co.kr) and I headed to the virtual Seoul. After few seconds, I arrived safely.
After virtually entering the venue, participants can share ideas or simply chat amongst each other through split video screens. The virtual Seoul has the posters at various places and venues and audience engaging programmes are adjusted to hold the best roundtable including a stamp tour with surprising prizes.
In this virtual platform, there are five 3D venues that were carefully selected to represent the unique charms of Seoul, namely N Seoul Tower, Changdeokgung Palace, Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP), Seoul Botanic Park and Some Sevit. Every venue serves a different functionality to accommodate the specific needs of this roundtable event.
N Seoul Tower, a classic landmark tower in Seoul, representing a virtual Seoul promotional booth to introduce general Seoul MICE information as well as provide a chat service with staff from STO. There are three stands for delegates to download brochures, search venues and connect to the audience engaging events.
Located at the top of Namsan Mountain, the N Seoul Tower delights its delegates with beautiful views of Seoul and its surrounding area through the virtual observation deck. During the virtual tour, the “window” will rotate slowly to give a 360 degree stunning view of the city.
Changdeokgung Palace, one of the 5 beautiful palaces situated in the heart of Seoul, acting as the main Conference Hall for opening keynote, main presentations from speakers and closing remark. In this hall, you can learn current trends and build essential knowledge and information on managing business of being an association, as well as challenges faced by associations due to the pandemic of COVID-19.
Association leaders mentioned current pressing problems include declining revenues, cash flow shortage, weak membership demand and retention, uncertainty about business continuity and the need to adapt service delivery to an online model.
Awarded as on UNESCO World Heritage Site for its historical architecture and garden design, Changdeokgung Palace is the second palace of the Joseon Dynasty preserved its unique beauty on its interior and exterior designs until today.
Admire the Korean floral patterns that painted on the roof beams in this virtual palace by scrolling the cursor in 360 degree direction as how you will observe it during your visit to the palace. It is only possible to hold sessions here because it is virtual. If you missed any session, you can watch back the related video over here too.
Some Sevit, the world’s first floating cultural space that was built on the Han River at the southern end of the Banpo Bridge, was selected to be the Workshop Rooms as live real-time discussions is a must-have session for a round table event. The breathtaking views of the serene Han River outside the window complemented the live streaming system, allowing all attendees of each room on the main screen all together to enrich the discussion further.
Seoul Botanic Park, a green space embraced in the Seoul city, offering a lounge area for networking opportunities at a relaxing atmosphere with beautiful interior designs of colourful flowers and plants.
In addition, a mini activity was prepared on one of the stands for fun engagement where you can create your own “PLUS SEOUL Membership Card” with your translated Korean name. A survey stand was provided to gather valuable opinions from delegates that participate in this virtual platform on their satisfaction and suggestions on future improvement, and instant prize will be awarded upon filling up the survey.
Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP), a modern cultural complex in the heart of the Korean design industries, serving as a key venue for major designed-related shows, exhibitions and events as well as a major tourist attraction. Designed by world renowned architect, Zaha Hadid, DDP has a distinct neo-futuristic design and features a walkable park on its roof, large global exhibition spaces, creative retail stores and restored part of the Seoul fortress.
Now, you can “sit” down on the roof top of DDP where VR Theater was located and have several interesting 360 VR videos on Seoul’s landmarks (SEOUL for Beginners), unique venues (Explore SEOUL), team building programmes (Active SEOUL), co-marketing cities (PLUS CITIES) and Viewtiful Seoul with an Honorary Seoul Tourism Ambassador, Eunwoo Cha.
These virtual tours with VR videos make a difference between Virtual Seoul Platform with other online based platforms, which also acted as a platform for destination marketing. The online contents created with themes to represent each array of what MICE participants would have done in Seoul, as well as supported by co-marketing cities such as Gangwon and Gwangju to put their stories together, making Seoul be one of your choices in selection of MICE destination for future events.
Through UIA Round Table Asia-Pacific 2020, SCB not only able to showcase Seoul’s tourism and business events products virtually, but also demonstrate the infrastructure and facilities Seoul has to put on a world-class virtual platform. With UIA Associations Round Table Asia-Pacific being the grand opening, the virtual Seoul platform will welcome more events upon request in the future.
Meanwhile, the venues can be customised to serve different functions according to the specific needs of an event is manageable, as the range of possibility is wide. This will be a great source for event organisers, whether local or international, who plans to organise and host online or hybrid events in 2021 and beyond.
As one link takes you to this platform, SCB can create endless options to serve Seoul’s MICE industry in many angles such as educational, commercial supporting and internal meetings hosting. At this moment, the live team building activities are under development and the new platform can be used for incentive tours groups as well.
More information about PLUS SEOUL and Seoul Convention Bureau is available at www.miceseoul.com.