Virtual Nautic - March 12-13, 2021
Organising the largest virtual show in France
Covid-19 is shaking up our lives - personally and professionally. In this context, Fédération des Industries Nautiques (FIN, the French Marine Leisure Industry Association) is endeavouring to create a major meeting place for the boating sector, one that would enable practitioners and professionals alike to renew their contacts and would also give them the opportunity to set up new, dynamic relationships.
It is in this spirit that FIN is launching Virtual Nautic, which will take place on 12 and 13 March next,the largest virtual boat show ever organised in France, which aims to welcome more than 25,000 visitors.
An immersive, interactive boat show
This immersive, interactive show, which has been positioned at the end of the winter break, ahead of local spring shows, has the following aims:
- to provide a new and welcoming experience, based around the latest technology;
- to build a prominent media profile for the boating sector and the companies that make it up;
- to market the 2021 summer season and invigorate distribution networks;
- to create an opportunity for people to meet by breaking down geographical borders, financial and even health barriers...
A uniquely favourable setting for meetings
On Virtual Nautic, it will be possible:
- to carry on live discussions,
- to exhibit boating products and services,
- to welcome customers and practitioners from around the world,
- to search for your next holiday destination,
- to set up appointments with professionals,
- to attend presentations,
- to take part in conferences,
Being on Virtual Nautic will be an opportunity to connect with a new type of consumer (international, CSP, age, etc.).
To have a real-time, verbal conversation?
Yes. That’s the big advantage of this platform, which is interactive: it’s basically a space for live, verbal conversations and debates, just like a "physical" show.
To interact in writing?
Yes. There is a chat system on the platform, which will enable participants (both exhibitors and visitors) to communicate any type of information interactively. This system permits documents to be exchanged (business cards, product information, rental contracts, etc.).
To carry on a private conversation on the platform?
Yes, there are a large number of “confidential zones”. It’s also possible to block access to an individual private meeting room, so as not to be disturbed.
To exchange business cards?
Yes. Either verbally or by single mouse click, exhibitors and visitors can exchange contact details in order to continue discussions after the show ends.
To present a brochure, as an exhibitor, and to make a video presentation?
Yes. Various screens on the stands or in rooms reserved for the purpose make it easy for all exhibitors to give presentations of their products and services - thanks to special equipment. Of course, these presentations can also be carried out in real time, with the presentation documentation then being sent to participants afterwards via chat or e-mail.
To run virtual tour videos?
Yes, on the same screens.
To make appointments before the show starts?
Yes. An appointment booking service will be in operation at the end of January, just as soon as the ticket office opens. This will enable visitors to make appointments with exhibitors and exhibitors to plan their meeting schedules in advance. This service will enable initial contact to be made with individual visitors.
To perform live presentations?
Yes. Thanks to screens (on individual stands or in special rooms). It will also be possible to open your webcam to hold one-to-one conversations or to present products and services "on-site".
To find individual exhibitors and visitors easily?
Yes. Several capabilities will be available. First, the platform has a tool that enables you to find a given stand, room or even a person on the platform, just by typing in their name. This feature enables you to "transport" yourself to a particular place without getting lost in the aisles. Then, just as in a physical show, a plan of the show containing a list of exhibitors, together with their hall and stand numbers, will be available for download on the Virtual Nautic website; and hosts and hostesses will be on hand to provide information to visitors in each hall, if needed. Finally, an interactive catalogue will also be available. This will present all the exhibitors, showing where they are at the show and geo-locating their company within France.
To get access to all areas of the show?
Oui. The ten halls in Virtual Nautic will be accessible to everyone, except for the private areas, of course, which will need permission from the exhibitor.
To present 3D models?
We’re working on it. In fact, we’re well on the way to being able to answer this question in the affirmative in the next, few weeks.
To meet up with a professional, even if I haven't made an appointment in advance?
Yes, just as you can at any physical show. It’s still better to make an appointment, but by simply going up to a stand, you will still be able to meet with the exhibitor. Of course, if all the sales teams are busy, you just need to leave your contact details (e.g. with a host or hostess) to arrange a time for when there is a gap in a professional's schedule.
To have special digital skills?
No. This show is extremely easy to access and handling of your "avatar" is both simple and intuitive. . That said, for a truly successful experience, Virtual Nautic is planning to organise training sessionsat the end of January for exhibitors and in early March for visitors. We would also like to remind you that every exhibitor and every visitor will the able to access a special hotlinethroughout the show. Staffed by twenty technical assistants, this "digital concierge service" will be able to answer all queries, as required.
To set up specific tools (business cards, brochures, videos...)?
It will be possible for exhibitors to scan in their existing documents and to use their existing electronic media. However, for a successful experience, it will be necessary to plan for, and create, special tools adapted to the format of the show. When setting up the stands, Virtual Nautic's technicians will help load up content on the stands, so that everything works perfectly on the day prior to opening. Of course, as with any "assembly" phase, this content needs to be sent to us several days before the show opens, so that the organisation team can work within an acceptable time frame.
To plan in special training?
Yes, if you want to make best use of the platform's features. As with physical shows, it is necessary to make some preparations in advance and to "take control" of the various functions on offer from Virtual Nautic. Training sessions on how to use the tool will be provided from the end of January.
To sit in front of your computer all the time?
Not necessarily. If an exhibitor happens to be away from their stand, a buzzer (on their PC) will go off automatically, as soon as a visitor enters their area. However, it is preferable to stay close to your computer and to keep a permanent presence on the stand, in order to welcome potential visitors.
For visitors to be able to speak French perfectly?
No. The platform recognises the IP address of the visitor's computer and set itself to the native language of English, Spanish, Chinese, Portuguese or French users, or by default to English.. The platform is currently working to include new languages.
What would be the added value if I were to use my own digital tools and carry out my own digital marketing?
As with physical shows, Virtual Nautic only makes any sense if it brings together a large volume of show content under one roof. In this case, it will be a large-scale event, bringing together a section of the boating community, both French and international, that will be able to benefit from the high visibility it provides. The objective of this major, immersive event is to capture a new category of visitors and to broaden the range of prospective participants.
I’m not really used to exhibiting at boat shows.
Virtual Nautic is not the virtual version of any old boat show. In fact, it is a truly innovative project that explores an interactive solution that has been necessitated by the Covid-19 crisis. The aim is to turn this crisis into an opportunity for imagining a new major meeting point for the boating sector; and also to promote the know-how of companies in the sector and the richness of destinations that can visited by boaters.
I represent a geographical area, so I never exhibit at boat shows.
Virtual Nautic has two main objectives. Firstly, to create a link between boaters and companies in the industry and services sector. Secondly, to promote and communicate the exceptional boating richness of the areas on show. This affects all areas involved – coastal and inland, in France and outside France. Prior to the start of the boating season, each area-related entity (municipalities, conurbations, departments, regions, communities, etc.) will be able to find a place in the show and get on with the job of supporting its local stakeholders.
It's too expensive for exhibitors.
First, the budgets required to exhibit on Virtual Nautic are incomparably lower than those needed for physical shows (no stand costs, no travel expenses, accommodation, product transport, etc.). Only the personnel required to prepare for the show and to welcome exhibitors need to be allocated. This work can be done either from your office or by teleworking, since only a PC and an Internet connection are needed. Finally, Virtual Nautic must have the capability to adapt to the specific needs of each and every company. Our whole strategy consists in opening up a space for collaboration between VSEs/SMEs and local authorities, which will have the opportunity to present the richness of what they have to offer to boaters.
March 12 and 13 is too late.
Virtual Nautic was born out of a desire for resilience and to find a proactive way to combat the Covid-19 crisis. Although mid-March may seem too late for some, this date was chosen for several reasons. Virtual Nautic is an experience that requires several months of preparation in advance if the show is to be a success. Virtual Nautic is a tool that you can use to prepare for the 2021 summer season. It has been positioned between the end of the winter holidays and the return (we hope) of the physical spring boat shows.
Two days is just too short.
Virtual Nautic is a pioneering company. For it to have a major level of attractiveness, this event needs to be both intense and ephemeral. At the end of the first show, we will be taking stock of the initial experience and will be putting a few things right, if needed.
What are Virtual Nautic's opening hours going to be?
Even though the opening hours of the show are not completely fixed, they will be comparable to those of a physical show, so that each exhibitor will know exactly what the hours are, during which they will be able to welcome visitors/consumers. The organisation will consider, if there are a lot of them, any requests tokeep the show open during the night, in order to welcome visitors from abroad..
What guarantees will there be in terms of IT security?
The platform is secure. It uses encrypted communications protocols. In addition, it is being hosted on the specific cloud of a major company and uses IBM tools to secure its databases. For these reasons, all of these components are a guarantee for us of how seriously security is being taken and they also guarantee the strictest compliance with RGPD measures.
What guarantees are there that visitors will come?
Virtual Nautic will be the largest interactive, virtual event ever staged in France. Its attractiveness will depend on two complementary factors: the sheer size of the show area (more exhibitors = more traffic) and a media plan based on specialist agencies with expertise in digital data.
Is a target value of 30,000 visitors too optimistic?
No. Virtual Nautic is a pioneering experience. It will be the first event to experiment with such a large-scale approach in terms of interactivity. Every expedition involves the unknown to some extent. However, the current target of 30,000 visitors corresponds to 10% of the total number of unique visitors to the major French boat shows (300,000 visitors). In addition, Virtual Nautic will enable it to broaden its appeal to new visitors and to attract foreign customers.
⇒ What will happen if there turn out to be more than 30,000 visitors?
In any scenario, whenever this situation has looked like it would be likely to arise, we have asked the platform to work on expanding its capacity. It is important to remember that, on average, a virtual visitor spends about two hours at an event. Visitor turnover will therefore be very high.
Virtual Nautic will be the first major event for the boating sector in 2021 designed to prepare for and market the next summer season.
Discover a large offer of booths, communication tools, meeting rooms, etc.
They will be exhibiting at Virtual Nautic
Several companies have already confirmed their participation. Among them :
You too can take part in this new and ambitious experience, in this major meeting of the marine leisure sector.
With the support of the French Ministry of Tourism: