Innovate solutions

MICE 2.0: Austria needs creative solutions

What we need right now is to get to grips with the challenging situation we find ourselves in, perhaps even stay one step ahead of it. The Austrian National Tourist Office has two innovations for the MICE industry.

The MICE industry is one of the hardest hit by the pandemic. Its business is now slowly returning to Austria, but months of lockdown also saw the inception of innovative solutions and creative ideas to give the events industry a boost. "The MICE industry has faced major challenges over the last year," says Laura Brunbauer, who works in Partner Management at the Austrian National Tourist Office. "But it was crucial at this point to have a rethink, reorganise and to start thinking about future business now." Austria has always offered diverse and attractive locations for events. Attendees from across the globe have even been able to enjoy them during the pandemic, having the opportunity to experience Austria without even stepping foot in the country. There's one thing that we know, and that's that virtual and hybrid events are here to stay. The Austrian National Tourist Office has created two innovative projects for national and international audiences, designed to whet their appetites for their next Austria trip. So, what are they all about? Read on and find out.

Austria Rooms 360: virtual spaces as a digital extension for events

Austria Rooms 360 from the Austrian National Tourist Office is an upgrade for digital events and lays the foundation for new business models, especially in the MICE industry. The tool is made up of virtual "rooms" where specific hotspots provide a gateway to tourist content that adds an extra dimension to online conferences – all using a 360° image. Visitors can easily click their way around the room, from a video discussion to the online shop, from links to cultural activities and playlists to conference documents to download. This engages the virtual visitor even more, and they can experience Austria in all its glory, even from their device.

Austria Rooms 360 can be used in a variety of ways: as an integrated feature for an existing platform or event, for presentations such as those on sales platforms, as an event's agenda with visual representations of the individual items, or as a stand-alone event using the solution from NETA. However event organisers choose to use Austria Rooms 360, they'll always be giving their guests an added benefit that is customised to them and their company and makes their online event a unique experience.

Austria Rooms 360 debuted at the Live Week event hosted by WeAreDevelopers in autumn 2020. Its first outing was set in a coffee house – inside the famous Hotel Sacher in central Vienna. It enabled attendees to take a slice of Viennese life home, including a recipe for apple strudel.

Virtual Site Inspections: venue scouting using your smartphone, tablet or computer

Taking a virtual 3D tour around venues in Austria has never been easier. With the Virtual Site Inspections project, the Austrian National Tourist Office is showcasing Austrian venues in a unique way. The platform focuses on small and medium-sized venues and special events locations, with a target audience of Austrian and international meeting and event planners. What makes it so fun is that planners can tour venues in Austria from anywhere in the world – it's sustainable and free from pandemic restrictions, giving them a competitive edge. Images can also be integrated into the virtual 3D tour, allowing presenters to show different setups, such as gala or cinema-style seating.

This solution is currently in the implementation phase, which is being managed by Kreisbild Fotografen OG, the winners of the Innovation2Company Start-up Challenge whose creative and technically sophisticated visualisations impressed the judges. The Austrian National Tourist Office is covering the production costs.