Tech-savvy meeting planners looking for something new may want to use their next event to test the use of drones, aka aircraft capable of autonomous flight. While Amazon is starting to discuss the use of drones for quick package deliveries, the events industry is also starting to see the technology being used in these three ways:
- Virtual Site Tours: Some resorts or convention bureaus are starting to use drones to give meeting planners and their clients virtual site inspections from a remote location. Freeman, a brand experience company, recently incorporated drone technology into its web-based PLANTOUR tool, which allows event professionals to virtually tour event venues across North America. The new drone enhancement will now allow planners to experience an entire venue fly-through, user-controlled 360 imagery and real-life views of meeting spaces and facilities.
- F&B Delivery: Food delivery by drone is becoming a thing of the present in the San Francisco Bay Area, with companies such as TacoCopter using drones to deliver tacos to customers’ doors and the Casa Madrona Hotel & Spa delivering champagne to hotel suites via the technology. This same concept can be used at events looking to bring F&B service to a whole new tech-y level.
- Event Filming: Drones can help get up-close shots for event filming, especially if you’re hosting a fast-action sporting event—say, a triathlon or game of polo—that requires coverage over a large space. They can also help get close-ups of speakers or live entertainers that can then be projected to the audience in real time.
Of course, the use of drone technology at events requires a fair share of safety precautions. Meeting planners interested in using drones will definitely have to make sure the event venue permits them before even considering their use. Also, make sure that the person flying the drone has the appropriate insurance in the event that it crashes and falls on someone. If being flown outside, it’s also necessary to make sure that there are no high-security areas nearby that might be in the flight path.
While the use of drones sounds sleek, it’s also important to remember that not everyone is on board with this new technology, especially because they can be disruptive. Not only can they be noisy and produce a downward breeze, they can be visually distracting to a speaker or performer who is not comfortable with the technology. Basic rule of thumb: Communicate the use of drone technology to your attendees, speakers and vendors even if you follow the aforementioned protocol.