Throughout Greater Fort Lauderdale, more than 400 hospitality partners have taken the Visit Lauderdale Safe + Clean Pledge to help beat back the spread of COVID-19. At the same time, Visit Lauderdale, or the Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB, is readying the destination for the future of meetings. Working with partner Everlast Productions, the bureau is investing resources and energy into developing new digital technologies — because even with a vaccine, hybrid events are and will be a format of choice for the foreseeable future.
“While we look forward to hosting in-person events in the future, in the meantime, virtual events enable people from around the world to meet, discuss, and learn together,” said Ed Simon, executive vice president at Visit Lauderdale.
Earlier this year, Visit Lauderdale hosted the Visit Lauderdale Future in Focus summits, which not only informed local tourism partners about the bureau’s recovery strategy but demonstrated just how dynamic a video conference presentation could be. By blending a digital backdrop with live footage filmed on a studio green screen, Everlast has the capability to take the viewer, quite literally, anywhere. “The possibilities are endless,” said Joe Rawda, creative director for Fort Lauderdale–based Everlast Productions. “We can either use that image for a recorded presentation or for a live broadcast on a platform of your choosing. It could be a simple web-conferencing platform, it could be a streaming service designed for webinars, or it could be a custom-built webpage for larger conferences.”
And with tools like the remote presenter kit, which can be shipped, presenters and speakers around the world can be easily worked into the presentation. This gives organizers the ability to film in different locations and venues for an easy backdrop change. Everlast can also produce customizable 3D environments for extra edge or heighten the impact of bar graphs and other models with augmented reality effects. “This is a unique way to deliver information,” Rawda said, “without the traditional slideshow feel and approach.”
For larger-scale programs, custom websites can provide a richer experience, one where attendees can watch presentations, network, and chat as well as set their own calendar, all within the same platform. And the benefits for organizers are notable as well. “The website platform provides valuable audience information,” Simon said. “Based on the level of integration and back-end programming, we are able to gather a variety of stats and data, including the number of attendees who viewed the webpage and individual videos and the average viewing times and specific content viewed. Through the website platform we’re also able to determine the type of device used to watch the presentation, audience geographical locations, and the date and time the presentation was viewed.”