With Covid-19 infections hitting record levels, online events have this year become a priority for the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB), which aims to stimulate the sector by matching operators with tech providers.
Jaruwan Suwannasat, TCEB director of the Mice (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions) Intelligence and Innovation Department, said hybrid and virtual formats had become vital tools in the hosting of events, particularly business-to-business (B2B) exhibitions, in order to connect with foreign customers during the outbreak.
Mice Winnovation, a programme introduced by TCEB in March, was formed to help connect operators with tech providers to develop events under the new practice, utilising innovation and technology.
The programme matched 152 pairs of businesses from March to July this year, with a total of 18 events qualifying for support.
There are 15 events using technology for virtual and hybrid events, while the other three events use crowd management technology to enhance safety and hygiene. Most of the events are scheduled to be held between September and December.
Two events that have already occurred were the 55th Lions Clubs International (LCI) MD 310 Thailand Convention in Nakhon Ratchasima, with 2,318 online delegates, and the Bangkok Projection Mapping Competition 2021 (BPMC 2021), which was an interactive media competition.
Mrs Jaruwan said that besides digital literacy and innovation, which are critical for the competitiveness of industry, TCEB was also working with tech-related agencies such as the National Innovation Agency (NIA) to help tech providers generate funds for their innovations.
“Even when the virus situation is behind us, innovation for event organising still plays a crucial role in fulfilling guests’ experiences,” said Parote Denskoon, chief executive and co-founder of ZipEvent.
Moreover, virtual events can attract large numbers of guests, from 10,000 to 100,000, compared to 500-1,000 participants for in-person events. Organisers can also collect visitors’ data and conduct further analytics to plan future events.
Thanapong Panichob, chief executive and co-founder at Yimsamer Studio, said BPMC 2021, which was held in a hybrid format, received positive feedback. The on-site event, which was fully booked, received 20,000 viewers via a live broadcast.
Mr Thanapong said the event has the potential to attract more foreigners when Thailand reopens as international contestants can also participate.