When Seatrade Cruise Global 2020 in Miami Beach was cancelled, it disrupted the plans of thousands of attendees just weeks before the show. There’s a great saying about life and lemons, so some creative thinking opened the door for a very new type of industry trade show.
Seatrade Cruise Virtual is an event six months in the making and Porthole Cruise Founder and Editor-in-Chief Bill Panoff invited Seatrade Cruise Global Brand & Event Director Chiara Giorgi online for a discussion all about the show and the challenges of operating in the virtual world.
What is Seatrade Cruise Virtual?
When asked about the virtual platform, Giorgi gave more insights into how it came to be.
“We’re going to have our first virtual event October 5th through the 8th called Seatrade Cruise Virtual. It’s on a platform that’s actually a matchmaking platform and it was going to be our matchmaking platform at Seatrade Cruise Med this year and they have also pivoted. What was there as a tool to help people connect they’ve now pivoted to become a full-fledged event platform.”
One of the best things about Seatrade is the sheer number of industries and companies involved. There are more than 750 exhibitors and 13,000 attendees under normal circumstances, so Giorgi explained how they went out replicating the experience of visiting the show, but virtually.
“When we conceptualize this we really thought about what makes our event so special and ultimately there are four pillars we work by: education, sourcing, innovation and networking and we’ve just tried to replicate those four pillars but in a virtual setting.”
Even the event’s popular State of the Global Cruise Industry Keynote will go on, and the names involved are the industry’s biggest. We asked Giorgi who would be speaking and what to expect from the panel.
“One of the main attractions is always to watch the big four, and by big four I mean Frank Del Rio from Norwegian, Arnold Donald from Carnival, Richard Fain from Royal and Pierfrancesco Vago from MSC come together and speak so we’re really excited that we’re actually going to be able to do that virtually as well. Our very own Anne Kalosh with be moderating that session and can’t really think of anybody better to do that,” she said.
Will We Learn the Future of Cruising in America?
One question we keep getting asked is when will cruising come back to America? Our guess was as good as yours for the past six months, but Giorgi hinted that the four major cruise executives might shed light on their dealings with the CDC.
“The CDC had a submission deadline that was end of September for public to offer up ideas and thoughts around how the cruise industry could come back online, so that deadline will have passed, so I think that there will be talks around that and how the US market could come back online and maybe a better idea on timeframes for that.”
There’s been plenty of talk that cruising won’t ever be the same after COVID-19, and in some instances, that’s glaringly obvious. When asked if she saw Virtual Seatrade continuing when the show returns to Miami Beach in 2021, Giorgi offered a futuristic take on the topic.
“We’re going to end up going into a hybrid world, so events in the future will have the live component but there will be a digital component as well,” she said.
Much like cruise lines integrating guests own smart devices as navigational and logistical tools for around the ship, it looks like Seatrade guests will have something similar to utilize.