How one client planned an interstate exhibition without travelling to the venue.
GCCEC+ allows event planners and exhibitors to immerse themselves in the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre from anywhere in the world in the lead-up to their event.
Using extended reality technology and immersive 360-degree video content, the virtual toolkit allows event planners and their guests to visit the Centre and inspect the site from virtually any location.
Developed in partnership with Tourism Australia, the toolkit showcases the Centre as a world-class business event venue in a highly desirable location.
Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the Palaszczuk Government had delivered more funding to help the Gold Coast Convention Centre attract conference events.
“The Gold Coast’s international reputation and use of extended reality technology positions the GCCEC as an Australian and world business events leader,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
“The ability for event planners to walk through the Gold Coast Convention Centre without leaving home is a potential game-changer for bookings.
Launched at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, the toolkit enabled decision makers to tour the venue at a time when border closures and travel restrictions limited their ability to do so in person.
Now that interstate and international borders have opened, the toolkit allows event planners and exhibitors from around the world to familiarise themselves with the space from the comfort of their own homes and offices in the lead-up to their in-person event.
“Of course, nothing replaces coming to the destination face-to-face, tasting our food and meeting the team,” says Kerri Brown, Brand and Communications Manager at GCCEC. “But this tool provides an excellent first experience.”
GCCEC General Manager and CEO Adrienne Readings says innovations like GCCEC+ will help to ensure the venue remains a magnet for tourism to the Gold Coast.
“GCCEC alone has brought millions of visitors to the Gold Coast over the past 18 years, injecting $300-500 million annually into the local economy,” she says.
“GCCEC+ empowers us to continue to play that role for the community in a post-COVID landscape.”
A fresh perspective
Events Director Louise Brooks, the owner of Brooks Events, is no stranger to the exhibition space. She has a myriad of experience managing large association events, commercial exhibitions, conferences, trade shows and special events.
Familiar with GCCEC’s unbeatable location in the heart of Broadbeach, and the Centre’s reputation for excellence, Louise chose to bring the Australian Adventure Expo – Australia’s only industry trade exhibition for outdoor, 4x4, fishing and hunting suppliers and retailers – to the venue in March.
However, border closures and COVID regulations prevented the Sydney-based Brooks from travelling to GCCEC in advance of the event.
“The borders were closed on the two occasions we had scheduled to visit the venue,” she says, “and even now that the borders are open, we will not have the opportunity to visit the Gold Coast prior to the show in March. We simply ran out of time.”
Enter GCCEC+. Working closely with the venue’s sales and event management staff, Louise has been able to plan every detail of the Australian Adventure Expo from Sydney, without needing to visit the site in person.
“The virtual toolkit has given me a great sense of the space and of what is possible, on top of the floor plans that had already been provided,” she says.
“I’ve used the virtual walkthrough a number of times – sometimes in the office, and a few times I’ve actually gone out into my backyard and walked around, exploring the venue.”
Louise says the virtual toolkit has been particularly useful in helping the Expo’s exhibitors and suppliers to understand the space they’ll be working with in March.
“I’m an events professional, so at the end of the day, I can review site plans and specifications and have a pretty good idea of what that space is going to look like in reality,” she says.
“But not everyone can do that, or has experience doing that. It’s been great to be able to pass on the link to the virtual toolkit to some of our exhibitors to help them visualise the venue – and it’s certainly helped our team describe the space and provide exhibitors with that understanding when we talk with them.”
How it works
GCCEC+ gives users three innovative options to explore Australia's largest regional convention centre remotely.
The world’s largest extended reality experience, GCCECXR is a groundbreaking next-gen app that allows event planners and exhibitors to walk around and inside a virtual model of the Centre from anywhere on the planet.
The app, which is available on the App Store and Google Play, superimposes GCCEC onto a real-world surface through the user’s mobile screen, allowing them to take a photorealistic stroll through the venue’s massive 6,000-seat main area, exhibition halls and meeting rooms from the comfort of their own home or office.
The app was built by Handbuilt Creative, one of the global leaders in the extended reality space. David Shering, Founder and Creative Director of Handbuilt Creative, says GCCECXR is at the cutting edge of what can be done with the technology.
“GCCECXR is the world’s biggest 1:1 scale photorealistic XR experience,” he says.
It’s over 200m long, 70m wide and 14m high. It’s a colossal size, and the fact you can walk anywhere, to explore even the smallest details, means you feel like you’re actually there.”
An interactive and immersive 360-degree video, GCCEC360 replicates the experience of a physical site tour on your computer or mobile device.
The video invites viewers to walk through the Centre, taking in each of its spaces from all directions, and stopping to explore more details at their leisure.
Throughout the six-minute tour, clickable hotspots appear, allowing users to access more details about specific locations, including floor plans, room sets, still images and more.
“The video includes all of the things that we’d discuss with visitors on an in-venue site tour,” Adrienne Readings says. “As you watch the video, you might ask yourself, ‘How many people can I fit in this space for a gala dinner? How many people can be seated in that space for a concert?’ All of that information is contained within the video.”
GCCEC has 22 individual event, conference, exhibition and meeting spaces, and a flexible layout that offers a range of configurations to suit every style of event, with capacity to cater for anywhere from 10 to 6,000 people. GCCECimap, the Centre’s virtual floor plan, helps event planners find the perfect space within the venue for their event.
The web-based interactive floor plan condenses and simplifies the traditional PDF floor plans that event planners and exhibitors are accustomed to, providing them with a 3D model of the venue that showcases its spaces, room dimensions, event types and flexibility.
GCCECimap also gives users the ability to navigate between levels, remove walls and explore further details about each space.
Yours to explore
For interstate and international event planners like Louise Brooks, the GCCEC+ suite has been a revelation.
“It just makes the event planning process so much easier when you can see the physical spaces and take a site tour on your phone without leaving your house, let alone your state,” she says.
“All of the tools that GCCEC+ has placed at my disposal have been useful, and have helped me to ensure my event will be a success.”