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Community, consistency, human connection and relevance: how to build trust online

We know how to build trust face to face at live events, but now, when everything is moving into the virtual world, we need to learn how to build trust online with our clients, supplier sponsors and other stakeholders. 

On 12 March 2021, I hosted a virtual session at ITB Berlin together with Elina Jutelyte, Founder of the Freelance Business Community and Heidi Legein, Managing Director at The MICE Guru. The educational MICE stream was hosted by VDVO and covered key topics on the current agenda. 

In the past 14 months, we’ve been using a variety of online communication channels for education and networking, and this session looked at the differences of building trust online vs offline, how to build trust effectively and examples from virtual events organised by the panellists. Below are the key takeaways.   

#RotterdamExperiment 2 – The best gamification is gamification that is unnoticed

‘The Rotterdam Way involves embracing innovation. The Rotterdam Experiment is an accelerator of change and our contribution to the recovery of our industry.’ Catherine Kalamidas, Account Manager Congresses at Rotterdam Partners Convention Bureau opened the second edition of The Rotterdam Experiment about gamification, which took place on 18 February. 

Yuri van Geest gave an insightful presentation and then Catherine welcomed experts for a roundtable discussion to delve further into the topic of gamification in an attempt to answer the question, ‘What will your event of the future look like using gamification.’

According to Catherine, ‘Think about your own youth and the life lessons you learned playing games. Perhaps you gained knowledge about how to make a deal playing Monopoly, problem-solving by playing Clue, strategic thinking by playing Battle Ship, collaborations and creativity by playing Dungeons and Dragons or developed a sense of timing and dexterity by avoiding ghosts in Pac-Man. Examining these learning experiences, you have sufficient insights to implement gamification successfully for your event.’ 

The past year has forced us to reassess our personal and organisational priorities. Some of the analysis areas include the need for wellbeing, mindfulness and self-awareness, values that weren’t as widely present pre COVID-19 but are now entering our working culture going forward. This new set of values brings significant opportunities for the gaming industry and events. 

#RotterdamExperiment 2 – Gaming and the events industry: from individual entertainment to purpose-driven collaboration

What does the gaming industry have to do with events? Did you know that the gaming market size globally is valued at USD 175 billion? That’s almost twice the total market size of the movie and music business combined, globally. These were some of the fascinating insights shared by the Rotterdam Experiment ambassador and futurist Yuri van Geest at the second Rotterdam Experiment that took place on 18 February 2021. 

In fact, both the gaming and events industries have many similarities when we look closely at each. These similarities go beyond the entertainment element of gamification that we might associate it with. 

‘Gaming is about creating a better world, and events are part of it,’ shared Yuri van Geest, referring to the shift happening in the gaming industry, where computer games have become more purpose driven and collaborative. And so are events. 

#RotterdamExperiment 1 – How mixed reality will add to the live event experience in the future

To gain insights and understanding of the global trends that will shape the future of the events industry, Rotterdam Partners Convention Bureau has launched a new series of hybrid events called The Rotterdam Experiment. It comprises seven ‘experiments’ that will take place on a bi-monthly basis, with each edition covering a new topic. These experiments will help event planners explore the topics of virtual reality (VR) technology, gaming and community building, imaginations and digital disruption, event health and safety, Big Data, Internet Of Things and mobility, architecture and storytelling and artificial intelligence (AI). 

The first experiment took place on 3rd December 2020. It was entitled ‘Mixed Reality: Let’s Meet in VR!’. This experiment took place at Postillion Hotel & Convention Centre WTC Rotterdam and was moderated by Mirjam van de Kamp, Account Manager Convention Bureau at Rotterdam Partners. It offered both online and offline audiences a theoretical and practical glimpse into the world of mixed reality using VR technology.

#RotterdamExperiment 1 – How global transformation in technology, organisations and values will impact the future of events

To explore the future of the events industry and help event planners prepare for what it holds for the global events industry, Rotterdam Partners Convention Bureau has launched a new series of hybrid events called The Rotterdam Experiment, which comprises seven ‘experiments’ that will take place on a bi-monthly basis, and each edition will cover a new topic. 

The COVID-19 crisis has brought our industry to an abrupt halt. It is necessary to explore and experiment with new event formats and seek creative solutions. But this is not enough; we also need to look more deeply into the global trends that involve technology, organisational structures, generational shifts, learning, values, leadership, etc. The entire world right now is in transformation, and businesses are being disrupted. We don’t know what the future holds, but through experimenting and the direction of Rotterdam futurist and bestselling author Yuri van Geest, we can educate and prepare ourselves, our businesses and organisations for the new normal. 

The first experiment took place on 3rd December 2020 and was about ‘Mixed Reality: Let’s Meet in VR!’. The event took place at Postillion Hotel & Convention Centre WTC Rotterdam and was moderated by Mirjam van de Kamp, Account Manager Convention Bureau at Rotterdam Partners. It offered both online and offline audiences a theoretical and practical glimpse into the world of mixed reality using virtual reality (VR).

The event was divided into three parts: 1) a keynote by Yuri van Geest called ‘The global perspective for the path ahead’, 2) a VR demonstration by AltspaceVR and Q&A with VR expert Freek Teunen and 3) a table talk with event industry leaders who shared their experience from the past months leading their events and organisations as events moved into the virtual space. There were highly useful insights from Marjan van der Haar, managing director of International Film Festival Rotterdam, Carola van der Hoeff, who is the Chief Operating Officer and Congress Director at International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) and Kris Stabel, who works as a Senior Educationalist and Head of Educational Advice and Training at Risbo (Erasmus University Rotterdam).