Covid-19 has had a dramatic impact on businesses around the globe. With the push to limit physical contact and transmission, it's no wonder that many large-scale events have been canceled for the year. However, these cancellations, like many other disruptions, are costing various industries millions.
There's still a lot of uncertainty about the post-pandemic future. However, here are a few things you can do to prepare for future trade shows and exhibitions.
Create a Contingency Plan
Many 2020 trade shows and exhibitions have been postponed to 2021. Even so, many businesses are tentative about committing with so much uncertainty surrounding the virus. The idea of investing time and money into trade show planning just to be met with a second wave is intimidating.
Having a contingency plan is a must for post-pandemic trade shows and events. If you're organizing the event, consider how you can pivot to a virtual setting, and convey your plan to attendees when they secure their spots. Look into unique venues that allow for continued social distancing protocols for the years to come.
Fortunately, venue managers will be dealing with the same issues as your business— be open to taking their advice and working to create a safe and healthy event.
Preparing for the New Normal
If trade shows and exhibitions are a go for 2021 and beyond, they won't look the same. Social distancing measures, sanitation protocols, and mask-wearing will likely be an integral part of the programming from now on. The costs of these new protocols will likely be the burden of attendees.
Start to plan ahead by investing in floor decals, plastic guards, and hand sanitizing stations from American Image. Consider how you'll transport these things to and from your location and get a better idea of the costs involved.
You may need to revisit your tradeshow budgets and reallocate funds to pay for protective measures. However, this is a new opportunity for showcasing your brand.
Virtual events are somewhat controversial. They have been useful for filling the gap during Covid-19, but many people find them less engaging and tactile than in-person events. The main difficulty is the inability to see and interact with products and people up close— an important aspect of the sales process.
However, many businesses are seeing the value in virtual events and have decided to permanently shift their trade show and exhibitions to this format. One of the benefits of going virtual is that it improves accessibility.
Businesses that were once unable to send a representative due to budgetary restrictions have more freedom. Hosting a virtual event could mean lower costs paired with higher attendance rates.
Confer with key stakeholders in your business to weigh the pros and cons of staying virtual. When attending in-person trade shows, this could be accomplished by sending one representative with live streaming technology. You may determine that virtual settings are the future of your business, even when the pandemic has passed.
The Road Ahead
No one knows for sure what the long-term implications of Covid-19 have in store for events. What is known is that the businesses that evolve and adapt are the ones that will still be here after the pandemic is over.