Photo Credit: Salzburg Convention Bureau

An exciting venue for virtual, hybrid, and face-to-face events

With Mooncity, a hotspot for e-mobility has arrived in Salzburg, which is also able to excellently cater to the new requirements of events in a digitalised world. We accompanied ŠKODA Austria during their Base Camp Training 2020.

One thing is clear during the current pandemic: event planners need not only a plan A, but also a plan B and even C. The overall conditions can change — attendance is enabled and then restricted again (at short notice).

This requires event concepts and locations that can react flexibly to new situations. Mooncity on Salzburg’s ‘Sterneckstrasse’ street is now providing an interesting venue that is also able to accommodate hybrid and virtual events in the best possible way.

Photo Credit: Salzburg Convention Bureau

Plan B for the ŠKODA Base Camp 2020

That is just what ŠKODA Austria recently experienced when their annual professional development event for certified salespeople took place there. Thomas Stockinger, Sales Training Manager at ŠKODA Austria, describes the event like this: ‘The Base Camp 2020 focuses on the latest topics we want our retail salespeople to know about. It is a national event with about 120 participating sellers from all over Austria.’

COVID-19 calls for more new, brand typical ‘Simply Clever’ ideas than ever. ‘While the training was initially designed as a face-to-face event, the rising number of COVID cases and the resulting restrictions for our participants, required a different approach and we took the decision at short notice to digitalise the entire event and let our sales staff participate online. It was better than cancelling. After all, we simply have to and want to keep in touch with the sellers and work on further development — going web-based is also an appropriate way of doing it and it can be a plan B,’ says Thomas Stockinger, describing the decision-making process at ŠKODA.

Photo Credit: Salzburg Convention Bureau

New concept over the weekend

Stefan Heissel, managing director of the supervising agency, inspiria event service, reports: “We talked on the phone on Friday late afternoon and on Monday we set up the event. Then we changed everything again over the weekend because the conditions had changed and Porsche Holding had made a decision to that effect. But, fortunately, it worked out well and now we have been able to set up a very nice digital training programme.”

Their cooperation with a professional agency like Inspiria has been important for ŠKODA Austria in many ways. “We have organised previous Base Camp events entirely on our own if the effort has not been too great. This year, however, it was clear from the outset that we would get Inspiria on board — if nothing else, just because of COVID safety measures for face-to-face training — as a competent partner for a COVID-19-certified event,” says Thomas Stockinger.

“Online, it is especially important to create a framework that is attractive and comes across well on camera, and that is why we also need an agency that provides an all-round service. Not least with an online host to welcome the participants on the web at the start and to accompany them throughout the day. The online host was also provided by Inspiria,” summarises Stockinger.

What made Mooncity the ideal venue for Base Camp 2020

Mooncity in Salzburg is Austria’s first and only adventure world and competence centre for electric and new mobility. ‘We have created an Experience World: an adventure centre where you can playfully experience all the benefits of the new technologies,’ says Leo Fellinger (Head of Mooncity), describing the location, which opened its doors in December 2019.

“It is not just about mobility, it is also about energy and energy management; it is about how to produce your own fuel by using photovoltaics or a storage system that you can make out of old car batteries,” says Fellinger.

It was exactly this orientation that made Mooncity a perfect match for ŠKODA: “Our focus at Base Camp 2020 is on the Octavia RS iV, a plug-in hybrid, which made holding the event at Mooncity all the more authentic. On the other hand, the individual workshop settings were only a short distance apart, which helped us a lot for the online format,” says Thomas Stockinger.

Leo Fellinger from Mooncity added: “We have equipped the event centre very well. We have a very strong wireless network connection, we can do streaming, we have a huge LED screen, and above all, we are flexible enough to be able to respond to any requests.”

Photo Credit: Salzburg Convention Bureau

Where is the journey taking us?

After ŠKODA’s positive experience with the digital Base Camp, the question arises of whether ‘virtual’ is set to become the new standard. But Training Manager Thomas Stockinger takes a very differentiated view of this. “We are, of course, already taking the developments as an opportunity to examine our training programme and to see which modules and which offers we can digitalise. But there are also areas such as personal development or behaviour in the sales process, where face-to-face training is more efficient for learning and is also preferred by sales staff. As such, we are going to do an estimated 2/3 as face-to-face and 1/3 as online training in the future.”

Stefan Heissel adds: “Digital training measures such as the Base Camp are currently the best possible option — but they are certainly not formats that will entirely replace live formats in the future. An event where the participants actually experience emotions in the same room is always totally different, and it is not something that even the best digital format can create.”