SALT LAKE CITY — As the Senior Vice President of Sales and Services for Visit Salt Lake, a private non-profit corporation focused on attracting meetings, sporting events, conventions, concerts, tour operators and individual travelers to Salt Lake City, Utah, Mark White knows how important perceptions are. When in-person events and prospective site visits became impossible to coordinate amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization was forced to adapt its internal operations and promotional tactics to ensure interested parties would receive the level of attention and assistance they deserve.
“In addition to drawing global organizations to visit our beautiful city, Visit Salt Lake is responsible for accommodating cancellations, so our staff had one of its busiest years ever,” White explained. “We’re essentially the public face for interested organizations, so we quickly became experts in video collaboration platforms and developed new, creative ways to excite and entice prospective visitors. Once that began to feel normal, I realized there was a new potential hiccup in how our clients view us and our city, literally: the video and audio quality we present.”
Since every staff member’s laptop includes a basic webcam and microphone, the immediate solution seemed simple enough. As time wore on, White recognized that the quality and reliability of their audio and video presentations could affect tens of millions of dollars in future business, just like a faux-pas during an in-person visit. Before long, White decided to upgrade to ClearOne’s new Aura video conferencing solutions, providing a huge improvement in video and audio quality with plug-and-play simplicity.
“I had some hesitation about adopting new home office equipment without an IT staff ready to troubleshoot, but my concerns completely evaporated the moment I plugged in the ClearOne camera and speakerphone,” White explained. “That’s because there was no troubleshooting or setup. I just plugged it in, and it worked. Within minutes, I effortlessly joined my next video conference with audio and video quality far above what I had been using, and I haven’t looked back since.”
The ClearOne Aura Versa 50 videoconferencing system allows White to meet confidently with 4K video clarity and market-leading audio quality, representing a huge upgrade from laptop cameras and microphones. The small, portable package includes a UNITE 50 4K ePTZ camera with remote-controlled pan, tilt and 4x zoom, and a CHAT 150 USB speakerphone that provides crystal-clear HDConference® audio quality with physical buttons for volume and mute functions. Best of all, the entire system is exceedingly simple to set up and use with any computer and supports all virtual collaboration and video conferencing platforms.
The UNITE 50 4K ePTZ camera and CHAT 150 speakerphone are small enough to toss in a briefcase, providing a professional-grade long-term solution with excellent value and performance regardless of changing work environments. White expects daily video communications to be a permanent fixture of cities’ event planning efforts moving forward, citing the success of several creative initiatives they tested throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Just because we can’t meet prospective event organizers in person doesn’t mean we can’t treat them to the best our city has to offer,” White said. “Especially when we are competing with larger cities with more name recognition, our ability and willingness to go the extra mile pays off. We had a local brewery’s brewmaster host a virtual tour while the ‘guests’ sipped samples we mailed to them ahead of time, held a virtual Q&A with Santa and clients’ kids for Christmas, and have plenty of other innovative ideas that will leverage audio and video technologies to share Salt Lake City’s values, experiences and opportunities with global event coordinators.”
White noted that meeting and conference planners will likely expect tourism agencies to offer digital tours and remote meetings as a permanent option moving forward, making reliable, high-quality video conferencing gear a crucial tool to attract new business and compete with other cities.
“After all, if we show up on a call with someone looking to spend millions of dollars, and we appear fuzzy or laggy, or our audio is unclear, how can they have confidence in our ability to help their event shine?” he added. “Investing a little to attract major events is just good business, and Visit Salt Lake is proud to invest in our ability to impress global clients and attract world-leading events and organizations.”