Creating Hybrid Events to Attract Virtual Visitors, with Andy McNeill

Episode 232

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Andy McNeill is a travel and hospitality entrepreneur with over 25 years of experience in his profession. He is the CEO and founder of American Meetings, Inc., an industry-leading meetings and events agency that produces thousands of live and virtual meetings annually for Fortune 500 clients. He is also the co-host of the Destination Everywhere Podcast, a top travel and hospitality podcast that highlights bucket-list destinations, luxury hotels, local cuisine, and must-do activities. Andy is a significant voice in the hospitality, meeting, and travel industries.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, we talk with Andy McNeill about how the travel industry has changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Andy shares his thoughts on the hybrid event model and how destinations and suppliers can benefit from this new approach to meetings. We also discuss creative ways that destinations can take their experiences and products virtual to support both online and in-person attendees.

What You Will Learn:

  • Key lessons learned during the last year on how the travel industry is evolving
  • Why Andy McNeill believes the hybrid-event model is here to stay
  • How destinations can make their virtual event component creative
  • How in-person events are making attendees feel safe
  • How Conventions and Visitors Bureau (CVB) staff can innovate to promote their destination

Creative Hybrid Events

The travel and tourism industry has fundamentally changed over the last year, but we can adapt and grow with the changes. With a few creative tweaks, you can tailor your offering to what visitors are looking for both in-person and for virtual tourists. Andy describes some of the most creative online and hybrid events that he has seen in the past 12 months and gives listeners some inspiration for planning their own engaging events to attract visitors.

Technology and Collaboration

We dig into the specifics of how to leverage the spirit of ‘coop-etition’ the blend of collaboration and competition if you are part of the CVB community. Andy shares his experience of using technology to promote visitor destinations and how to ensure your region is still an attractive prospect in the new normal world of safety protocols and flexible booking policies. Collaboration is going to be key to enhancing the online event experience so we also explore the key lessons learned, and how the industry will evolve as we come out of the pandemic.

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