Virtual exhibitions is the buzz-phrase of the moment, but this
trendy concept will never replace the experience of actually going to a
New media is now a part of our working lives but we still need to travel
to visit a show and walk around it to get the face-to-face contact that
we really want.
Attending an exhibition gives the visitor the chance to see, hear,
touch, and in some cases, taste and smell a product or service. Only
seeing and hearing are available from a virtual exhibition. There's none
of the immediacy of being able to try out a product, or test the
salesperson - or even network in the exhibition bar - it's just you,
sitting at your PC.
However, exhibition organisers should not ignore the benefits of new
media - web site developments, viral marketing by email and SMS, etc -
as this is a developing and successful area for marketing
Show organisers should also offer some form of on-line facility, to
ensure they keep up with the competition. On-line facilities can benefit
organisers by complementing an exhibition - this can be a comprehensive
web site about the exhibition or just an exhibitor list with contact
details or links after the show for a limited period, to catch those
visitors who pre-registered but did not make it to the venue.
It will be a long, long time before all-singing, all-dancing virtual
exhibitions are the norm - at the moment, they are expensive and out of
reach for many organisers and there is not a genuine need for them from
visitors. Perhaps a little more research needs to be conducted into what
visitors desire from exhibitions before organisers spend lots of money
on developing virtual alternatives.
In the meantime, you can't beat the personal contact that an exhibition