Purely virtual trade shows will never be able to replace the human contact at the real thing – David Ruetz, Head of ITB Berlin, shared his conviction in a discussion at the ITB Virtual Reality Lab. “A handshake cannot be made digitally over the internet,” Ruetz explained at ITB Berlin. However, there are many stations along a trade visitor’s customer journey where digital technologies can be meaningfully implemented. These range from trade show preparation and navigation at the show through to follow-up.
As for the use of virtual and augmented reality at trade show stands, Ruetz continued, the technologies are, in part, not yet efficient and mature enough. It is also important that they are not used as an end in itself but, instead, as an element that supports the brand experience in a meaningful way.
From his perspective, it does little good to present every ski resort using VR glasses, as most trade visitors have experience skiing. He sees VR glasses as meaningful when utilised as part of an overall concept. Saxony, for example, is presenting a virtual version of the Dresden Fortress at this year’s ITB which will once again be accessible in reality beginning this autumn. Ruetz also highlighted the exemplary use of VR at the Lufthansa stand – there, visitors are able to compare the various booking classes and much more using virtual reality.