Last week we exhibited at MeetGB Virtual – a virtual exhibition in place of a live event we were due to attend this year in Wales.
Given the current circumstances the live event could not go ahead, so MeetGB Virtual was an excellent opportunity to showcase The University of Leeds conference and meeting facilities and services to planners for their future events. We were able to connect with companies, associations and event organisers from across the UK, Europe and North America – all without leaving the house!
Over 60 UK destinations, venues and suppliers exhibited including our friends at our local conference bureau, ConferenceLeeds, who were flying the flag for our amazing city and speaking about how hosting a conference in Leeds means you will experience the exceptional.
The platform took on a similar format to a live exhibition – a theatre space for the welcome presentation, a networking lounge and an exhibition floor full of stands to browse. We thought it was a really engaging experience for attendees and a great platform to forge valuable business relationships whilst we are unable to meet in person. Attendees seemed impressed too, and in particular loved the videos on the different stands describing them as the next best thing to visiting the cities and venues around the UK in person.
A reflection for me, post event, is that when you meet in person the conversation can feel more natural – being able to read facial expressions and body language is second nature and this can be difficult in a virtual environment. There was, however, the benefit that you could chat with anyone at any time rather than only when people are walking by your booth, as would be the case at a face-to-face exhibition. I also found it really useful to be able to share specific information instantly and easily, particularly when speaking with associations and societies where there was a connection with our research and expertise at the University of Leeds. I was able to share key information and web links as part of the conversation.
It is fantastic that Visit Britain pulled this online event together so quickly, supporting the conference and events industry on our road to recovery. It was great to make new connections virtually and we look forward to meeting you face to face in the future when it is safe to do so. There is nothing quite like meeting in person to showcase our amazing destinations, venues, experiences and hospitality we have on offer in the UK.