Hi Rob, Matt Defosse here from PlasticsToday; Doug forwarded your question to me.
The conference already is generating tremendous interest, both among potential attendees (registration is open) and potential sponsors who want to reach those attendees. It's shaping up to be a top-notch event, the first VE for the plastics industry, and of course there will be no problems with booking flights or hotel rooms.
I agree with Beth that virtual events, webinars and other online conferences will never replace the serendipity that can appear when you sit next to a person at an event and strike up a conversation. At the same time, it's often difficult to get questions answered at live events---the speakers exit too quickly after their presentation, they get surrounded by too many others, etc. With the virtual event, an attendee has the ability to send his questions directly to the speaker via an instant messaging tool. Good questions will likely get attention, as opposed to being the firstperson to crowd into a speaker's face after a presentation. And the cost cannot be beat.
No Hershey Kisses but there will be contests and prizes. We look forward to welcoming you there.
I have to say, I've attended a bunch of these virtual conferences and from the standpoint of being able to view the presentations and get an overview of the technology, they're nearly on par with sitting in the auditorium hearing a live presentation. And you can't beat the time and productivity savings gleaned from not having to pick up and travel. What's still lacking, however, is that one-on-one, impromptu interaction you get with people--someone you happen to sit next to at lunch or that group debate overheard in the hallway. In my opinion, you still can't fully replicate that kind of finger-on-the-pulse intel of real-world conversations, but that's not always necessary. I think there's big power in the virtues of the virtual conference.
Any idea, Doug, on how the virtual conference is shaping up compared to a hotel conference? As budgets stay trim, I would imagine it becomes more feasible to attend a virtual conference that doesn't require air fare and hotel rooms. With no Hershey Kisses in show booth bowls, will there still be ways for attendees to interact?
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