It’s peak FAM season, but there’s no place to go. But for planners pining of their next site visit—or, even better, an event on the books for 2021 or beyond—cities are making their daydreams come true through virtual tours.
The Atlanta CVB begins its excursion, called 360ATL, at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, naturally, before taking planners toward mainstay venues like Georgia World Congress Center, Mercedes-Benz Stadium and more. The program includes popular regions throughout the city, including hip Midtown and Buckhead, known for luxurious shopping and dining.
The idea is simple: The same selling points planners enjoyed before COVID-19 will be true once travel and gathering restrictions are lifted.
“Given the state of the industry, this immersive experience shows meeting planners the proximity between special event venues, attractions, hotel and dining options in lieu of an in-person site visit,” says William Pate, president and CEO of the Atlanta CVB.
Beyond the video tour, the CVB has an online catalog detailing restaurants, facilities and other venues, and planners can then create a personalized favorites list.
Experience Columbus (Ohio) recently launched its 2020 Tour Planners Guide as a virtual resource to plan group events. The CVB has created themed itineraries to match specific needs, featuring lodging, dining, attractions and venues.
Visit Salt Lake, host of Connect 2018, has taken a similar approach. The organization has made five itineraries complete with 360-degree virtual tour videos to explore the city without leaving your home. The CVB even manages to mock its false reputation that there’s nothing to do there.
Visit New Orleans, where Connect 2020 will occur, offers a bird’s-eye view of the Big Easy through a partnership with Xplorit. Planners can place themselves at historic landmarks, cafes and Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, among other iconic locations and hotels ideal for housing large groups.
Visit Milwaukee, slated to host the Democratic National Convention in August, posted a video to its YouTube channel reminding visitors that good things are brewing in the Wisconsin hub. The video highlights all the city’s major attractions and notes the work local establishments have done to help limit the coronavirus’ impact.
The Rockford Area CVB in Illinois is going as close to a true site visit as it can get. On Friday at 11 a.m. CDT. Panelists from important local venues like BMO Harris Bank Center and Coronado Performing Arts Center, Embassy Suites by Hilton Rockford Riverfront and Rockford Conference Center, Mercyhealth Sportscore Complexes and Indoor Sports Center, and the UW Health Sports Factory, will be part of “Home on the FAM.” If new business is contracted within a month, the CVB will pay the event organization the equivalent of $3 per actualized hotel room overnight. Register here.