The most significant challenge for corporate event planners today is continually finding unique experiences and venues that inspire participants and drive attendance.

A growing number of event tech companies and content creators are developing advanced virtual reality (VR) and 360-degree video platforms to help planners better immerse themselves in prospective event venues and meetings destinations. There’s a lack of quality online content to help meeting and event planners educate themselves about destinations, hotels, and compelling event venues. Things are slowly improving but the volume and variety of meeting-specific content still lags behind the leisure travel sector.

However a growing number of forward thinking event tech companies and content creators are developing advanced virtual reality (VR) and 360-degree video platforms to help planners better immerse themselves in prospective event venues and meetings destinations. Developing advanced virtual reality, 360-degree, and 3D-immersion video platforms give planners more information to better source and design their programs.

In 2016 interest in VR content is surging in hospitality and tourism. 360-degree videos and 3D immersion videos work on any mobile and desktop device. With those interactive content formats, viewers can move through the video in any direction (side-to-side and up-and-down) to explore the entire scene in a self-directed manner by scrolling over the frame.

The best VR filmmaking utilizes the entire panoramic field to incorporate more scenery and more characters fluidly into the event narrative. The 360/3D experiences are produced with the same cameras that create VR content, using multiple lenses facing different directions to take thousands of photos simultaneously, which are then stitched together with software. For example, the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority launched special VR and 360 videos through its Vegas VR app in March. The 360 videos were also posted on Facebook, which to date have received over seven million views.

To entice conference and event planners, tech companies like YouVisit and Matterport, work with tourism bureaus, hotel chains, and cruise companies to provide these new video and photography platforms that brands can embed in their websites and social media to attract planners and future clients. Both companies have produced pitches for Starwood Hotels, Princess Cruises, Wyndham Vacation Rentals, Four Seasons New York, Singapore Airlines and the Queen Mary 2.

Explaining the philosophy behind their content creation, YouVisit CEO Abi Mandelbaum said, “It’s about thinking of the camera as an actual person rather than thinking of it just as a lens capturing what’s around you. Destinations and special events want to give you a taste of what you’re able to experience if you were actually there, and VR offers a way to do that better than any other platform.”

In the video, the viewer can navigate toward specific preferred perspectives. “You’re in control of the video and when you see something that interests you in particular, you’re able to control the experience and explore different aspects in more detail,” said Mandelbaum.

Bill Brown, CEO of Matterport, emphasized this platform is designed to deliver “3D immersion experiences” versus traditional video format. The reason for that is because planners can point to specific areas inside the imagery and jump directly to that spot, where they can then move around the content in 360 degrees. “We recreate three-dimensional copies of spaces that people can walk through how they want to, instead of being just a linear passenger,” said Brown. “With 360 video, it is a passive, lean-back experience, whereas 3D immersion is more lean-forward.”

The tech industry specifically sees growth opportunity in the meetings and events sector, because meeting planners are always tasked with making venue decisions with limited information when they can’t participate in physical site visits.

“People are already making decisions about where to host business events based on online photos alone,” Brown said. “This gives planners a heightened confidence because there’s a reduction of mismatched expectations when you can explore a space with this much detail.”