Turning an Open Day into a covid-safe virtual experience
The Voka Open Bedrijvendag is a household name in Flanders. As an established annual event, it provides us with a rare sneak peek behind the scenes of some of the most inspiring and innovative work locations in the region.
Voka had started planning on trialling a separate virtual, online event – alongside the tried-and-tested on-premise open day – before the initial coronavirus outbreak in March 2020. As preparations were underway, it became increasingly evident that the focus would have to be shifted to the digital edition entirely. This posed some additional challenges: how could these visits to an extraordinary range of factories and business premises be arranged in a way that would provide a similar experience, just without the actual coming and going of people?
The organization’s leadership team started to look for an online equivalent to its open day that would provide a captivating experience for the roughly half a million visitors that had earlier been expected to show up in person. As always, the Poppr team was more than happy to deliver.
360-degree VR tours: from supporting act to main event
Running an open day in its classic form is challenging enough as it is. Organizing a full shift to a virtual experience that maintains its strong appeal is a different kettle of fish. A small-scale digital version for the 2020 edition of Voka's Open Bedrijvendag had been planned for earlier in the year, but in light of the pandemic situation a number of additional requirements came up:
- Fast addition of new VR tours on top of the planned, limited selection of businesses.
- Integration of business locations and tours into an interactive map.
- Introduction of advanced search, including industries and business topics.
Building a bespoke VR tour platform in record time
Together with Voka, the team delivered a fully interactive platform with 55 virtual business tours. Over a time span of a mere four weeks, the Poppr photographers and technical team paid corona-proof visits to 20 organizations for a full 360-degree shoot of their business location. All tours were integrated on a brand-new Open Bedrijvendag platform for Voka. Key features:
- Future-proof and intuitive, responsive platform. New organizations and corresponding tours can easily be added to the existing business map through the content management system.
- Flexible implementation. Every business can choose to tag and label objects to its panoramas and environments.
- Custom content throughout the tours, including additional pictures, video or CTAs to push to other landing pages.
- True-to-life display on computers, smartphones and VR goggles, thanks to high-resolution 360-degree photography.
Record-smashing visitor numbers
Voka's Open Day campaign went live a few days before the on-site event had been supposed to take place. Visitor numbers took off almost immediately, leading to over 500.000 page views during the first month – with a record-high 226.000 page views on the Open Day itself, supported by a live-streamed virtual event. This success not only established the viability of an online-only event as a cornerstone of Voka's outreach strategy, but it also boosted employer branding for the highlighted organizations involved.
Foundation for the future
The organization of the online-only edition exceeded expectations to such an extent that Voka committed to keeping the website live. This way, they can offer a year-round look around the region’s leading innovators and businesses. People can now visit a host of leading organizations, including air traffic control centres and concert halls from the comfort of their own home. In future editions, more organizations will be added to the online platform, leading to an always-on environment that provides 24/7 access to interested members of the public and potential future employees.