The Annual National Conference of Visitor Attractions (VAC 2020 VIRTUAL)

7 and 8 October 2020 (BST)
10:00 to 16:00 each day

 

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AUGUST 2-3

7 and 8 October 2020

NO TRAVEL NEEDED

NO TRAVEL NEEDED

LEARN & NETWORK

LEARN & NETWORK

The Annual National Conference of Visitor Attractions is back as VAC 2020 VIRTUAL!

We invite you to this year’s Annual National Conference of Visitor Attractions. Now in its 17th year! The national conference is a great opportunity for you to come online to our virtual platform and network with industry colleagues to learn about the latest innovations, thinking and news from practitioners across the attractions and tourism sector.

Whether your interest lies in parks and gardens, historic or heritage centres, theme parks, museums and galleries, zoos or science and discovery centres, you will be sure to have an informative and enjoyable, thought-provoking conference. New for 2020, we are inviting not just nationwide, but world- wide attendees, sponsors and exhibitors. Remaining at heart, though, a UK event for the UK industry, we are keen to share best practice across the top attractions from a wider range of regions and countries - all of whom find themselves on different parts of the recovery pathway following COVID-19.

 


 

Why you should register

We have built an inspiring and innovative programme which will interest visitor attractions from all over the country. Since the registration rate has been substantially reduced and the conference will be so accessible, we are expecting our audience level to significantly increase. To add further value to our visitors, sponsors and exhibitors, the programme is being held over two days and the content will be available on demand for up to one month post event.

The audience profile is owners and senior managers of Visitor Attractions as well as opinion leaders, heritage professionals, local authorities, national bodies and many service providers that support the marketing, development, infrastructure, legislation, management and safe delivery of the attractions enjoyed by the general public of all ages.

Keep checking this space for more information as we will continue to update you in advance of the conference or better yet, follow us on Twitter!

Speakers for VAC 2020 to be announced soon!

PROGRAMME – VAC 2020 VIRTUAL

Join us for two exciting days of the virtual conference, Weds 7th and Thurs 8th October! Please note that the programme may be subject to change without prior notification.

Wednesday 7th October

09.00 – 10.00am

Log-in / Online Registration / Virtual Exhibition opens

10.00 – 10.05am

Welcome by Conference Chairman

Chairman:

Paul Kelly, Chief Executive, BALPPA, the British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers & Attractions

10.05 – 10.10am

Keynote Address

Nigel Huddleston MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Tourism

10.10 – 10.30am

Future of Attractions in a post-Covid world

Bernard Donoghue, CEO & Director, ALVA, the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions

10.30 – 10.55am

The Big Interview: The UK’s newest theme park

Julie Dalton, Managing Director, Gulliver’s World Theme Park Resorts


Gulliver’s have recently opened the first purpose-built theme park in the UK for a generation, Gulliver’s Valley Theme Park Resort near Rotherham

Q&A by Zoom with Bernard Donoghue and Julie Dalton, chaired by Paul Kelly, CEO of BALPPA

11.00 – 11.50am

Trendwatching: Telling it like it is

Gino Zisa, Senior Insights Consultant, VisitEngland

Jon Young, Director BVA-BDRC

Steve Mills, Director, Decision House


Gino, Jon and Steve all have fantastic research and insights into the tourism market and visitor attraction sector, having worked throughout the Covid crisis on market-leading pieces of research for VisitEngland and ALVA

Q&A by Zoom chaired by Bernard Donoghue, CEO of ALVA

12.00 – 12.50pm

The new normal: The Covid Catalyst

David Edwards, Director, Scattered Clouds – “The Attractions Visiting Market of Tomorrow”

Anthony Rawlins, Founding Director of Digital Visitor – “Shifting Sands”


David is a former Head of Research & Insights for VisitJersey and VisitBritain, and will concentrate on the audience for visitor attractions in the “new normal” whilst Anthony, one of the foremost thinkers in digital tourism marketing, will discuss the increasingly “shifting sands” of digital marketing for attractions.

Q&A by Zoom chaired by Bernard Donoghue, CEO of ALVA

12.50 – 2.00pm

Lunch, Virtual Exhibition & Networking

2.00 – 2.50pm

Ticketing for 2021 & Beyond

Presentation by James Berzins, Director of TXGB, Tourism Exchange Great Britain, with commentary from Abbigail Ollive, Head of Marketing for Castle Howard, and Robert Owen, Director of Marketing, Sales & PR for Blackpool Pleasure Beach

Q&A by Zoom chaired by Paul Kelly, CEO of BALPPA

3.00 – 3.50pm

The VAC Panel

With Paul Kelly (CEO of BALPPA), Julie Dalton (Managing Director, Gulliver’s Theme Park Resorts), Jon Young (Director, BVA-BDRC), and Anthony Rawlins (CEO of Digital Visitor).

A great chance to debate all the hot topics in the attractions sector this year, and looking ahead to 2021

3.50 – 3.55pm

Round-up of Day 1 and Preview of Day 2

4.00 – 4.30pm

Zoom Networking Breakouts in the Lounge

5.00pm

Virtual Exhibition closes



Thursday 8th October

09.00 – 10.00am

Log-in / Online Registration / Virtual Exhibition opens

10.00 – 10.05am

Welcome by Conference Chairman

Paul Kelly, Chief Executive, BALPPA, the British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers & Attractions

10.05 – 10.25am

Tourism Alliance Policy Briefing

Kurt Janson, Director, The Tourism Alliance

10.25 – 10.55am

Funding: Surviving the next 12 months

Sue Biggs CBE, Director-General of the Royal Horticultural Society

Q&A by Zoom with Kurt Janson and Sue Biggs, chaired by Paul Kelly, CEO of BALPPA

11.00 – 11.50am

Operational Excellence

Sasha Greig, Head of Visitor Experience, Retail & Marketing for the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich – VisitEngland’s “Large Attraction of the Year 2020”

Nerys Williams, Audience Development Manager, Gladstone Pottery Museum near Stoke-on-Trent – VisiEngland’s “Small Attraction of the Year 2020”

Q&A by Zoom chaired by Janet Uttley, Head of Business Support Transformation, VisitEngland

12.00 – 12.50am

Your Website is your brand!

Kelly Molson, Managing Director, Rubber Cheese

Simon Jones, Managing Director, Digital Visitor


Kelly is co-host of the popular “Skip the Queue” podcast, and Simon is MD of the conference’s principal sponsors, Digital Visitor and previously worked in management positions at attractions

Q&A by Zoom chaired by Janet Uttley, Head of Business Support Transformation, VisitEngland

12.50 – 2.00pm

Lunch, Virtual Exhibition & Networking

2.00 – 2.50pm

Maximise your revenue through ancillary spend!

Richard Moulds, Director, Foodservice Consulting for JLL and Maggie Appleton MBE, CEO of the RAF Museum and President of the Museums Association


JLL are one of the leading consultancies in this sector, and Richard will be revealing catering mega-trends from the company’s new White Paper Report which will be of interest to all visitor attractions. Maggie will present some of the RAF Museum’s creative ways of maximising ancillary spend

Q&A by Zoom chaired by Liz Terry MBE, Managing Editor, Leisure Media & “Attractions Management”

3.00 – 3.55pm

International Tourism & Marketing for 2021 & beyond

Tricia Warwick, Director, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa for VisitBritain, Judith Owens, CEO of Titanic Belfast and Sean Collins, Co-Founder and CEO, Uber Boat by Thames Clippers

Q&A by Zoom chaired by Liz Terry MBE, Managing Editor, Leisure Media & “Attractions Management”

3.55 – 5.00pm

Close of conference – Paul Kelly / Virtual exhibition continues

5.00pm

Virtual Exhibition closes

Exhibition and Sponsors


Principal Sponsor


Gold Sponsor


Exhibitors


Official Publication


Supported By

If you wish to join our virtual exhibition or sponsor VAC 2020 VIRTUAL please contact us at vac@bcdme.com to discuss a wide variety of promotional opportunities. The audience profile is owners and senior managers of Visitor Attractions as well as opinion leaders, heritage professionals, local authorities, national bodies and many service providers that support the marketing, development, infrastructure, legislation, management and safe delivery of the attractions enjoyed by the general public of all ages.

Frequently Asked Questions

Early Bird registration will end on 7 September (23:59 BST). Standard registration will start on 8 September and end on 8 October (23:59 BST). Kindly note that we are not offering day registrations. To register for the meeting please click here.
Early Bird - £45 + VAT at 20% (ends at 23:59 hrs on 7 September 2020)
Standard - £60 + VAT at 20% (from 8 September 2020)
Group rates are available for 5 or more attendees from one company or institution, please contact the organisers at vac@bcdme.com for group registration information.

Assisted places are available for the unwaged and students on proof of status, please contact the organisers at vac@bcdme.com for further information.
From 1st October 2020 only credit card payments can be accepted.
The following is included in the virtual meeting registration:
  • The fully accessible Virtual Conference will include a great range of presentations, panels and seminars delivered by some of the top people in the attractions sector.
  • Real-time access to speakers and talks on 7 and 8 October, accessible on your mobile, tablet, laptop, desktop or phone: no need for additional technology. Many of the presenters will be online during their session time for live Q&A and interactions with numerous breaks for networking.
  • Semi-Live Presentations: All presentations are pre-recorded and will be broadcast at the allocated timeslot. Once a session has been broadcast, the videos will remain available for 1 month on demand. Many of the presenters will be online during their session time for live Q&A and interactions. Presenters may also be contacted post event for one month. 
  • There will be an extensive virtual exhibition complete with virtual booths, with the option to talk with exhibitors in real time or to schedule phone and video chats within the platform. Exhibitors will have the option to add any exhibitor materials of special interest to you to your virtual briefcase and download this to your own device. The virtual exhibition can be accessed up to one month post-conference.
You will not need special technologies or equipment to participate in VAC 2020 Virtual. Our priority remains that the content of the conference is accessible to all. If you can watch videos on Facebook or YouTube from your device, then your internet speed is sufficient enough.
The virtual information desk is open during the following hours:
Wednesday 7 October: 9:00-17:00 BST
Thursday 8 October: 9:00-17:00 BST

Technical assistance with the platform itself will also be available at the information desk in the virtual lobby. VAC Conference staff will be available to assist you via chat with matters related to registration, exhibition and presentations, among other things.
At the beginning of October 2020.
Once a session has concluded, the video will be available on-demand for one month.
Participants can engage with each other anytime via text chats. If you are looking for someone specific, go to the delegates area and search based on their profile (name, affiliation or organisation). Participants who have opted in to share their details will be available to contact.
Please note that you can only have one session screen open at a time.
You can set up meeting and appointments with exhibitors through the virtual meeting platform by contacting them through the Chat function on their booth.
When you log into the virtual meeting platform, look for the Exhibition Hall button and click on it. You may also access an exhibitor booth by clicking on their logo in the lobby.
All session screens come with a Q&A field where you can enter your question. Please note that all viewers can see your questions.
If you are looking for someone specific, go to the delegates area in the chatroom and search based on their profile (name, affiliation or organisation). You can leave a message for the person to respond.
You may access items from exhibitor stands and then email them to your inbox
We are currently anticipating a virtual after conference networking session and this will be confirmed in October.
Technical Manual distribution: 14 September 2020
Final date to book a booth: 25 September 2020
Yes, speak to visitors at your stand in real time via Live Chat manned by your staff, choose between text, voice or launch into a video call should you wish. Visitors will be able to chat with representatives from your stand either as one-to-one or via Group chat. Within group chat, you can answer questions and promote your products and services giving all visitors the option to review the communication thread as if they were standing and networking in a group at your stand.

Please note that all details above are correct at time of writing but the organisers reserve the right to amend any due to technical or other issues before or during the virtual conference.