Trade shows have taken a devastating blow from the pandemic this year. The quarantine and strict protocols have pushed many trade shows to cancel their events. This cost them thousands of dollars in revenue. However, the industry is finding new ways to survive the pandemic. Using virtual and online events is one of them.

Going Virtual

It’s undeniable that trade shows are adapting to the ease and comfort of the online world. But, compared to meetings and conferences, trade shows aren’t designed for online viewing. Consumers who attend trade shows enjoy the physical interaction they have with the products and companies. This interaction helps them decide whether the product is worth buying or not. Furthermore, potential investors find it hard to interact with exhibitors in virtual trade shows. But because of the pandemic, many trade shows were forced to either adapt or cancel their events entirely. China’s largest trade show, Canton Fair, decided that it will push through with its virtual event.

The event encountered its own share of difficulties. But despite this, it was able to gather more than 200,000 viewers and exhibitors to attend the show. The exhibitors included big companies such as Cmech Industrial Co. and Puppyoo who both exhibited their products through the use of virtual reality. The Canton Fair has shown the potential of trade shows going virtual. It also showed how virtual trade shows can still offer the same services, despite it being online.

There are also those that have decided that trade shows can be made digital in this modern world. Some trade show experts are eyeing virtual events to be the future of trade shows in a post-pandemic world. There are also companies such as Intrado Digital that have fully invested themselves in this perceived future. From the current state of things, it’s possible that virtual trade shows might stay for years to come.

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A New Normal for Physical Trade Shows

Some experts are starting to once again use event centers for their trade shows. This was after CDC’s new implementation of guidelines for quarantines. However, the way that event centers are built for these trade shows has certainly changed. Protocols such as social distancing, sanitization procedures, and wearing protective personal equipment on-site are all now part of a builder’s everyday life. The same guidelines will also be implemented for those visiting the trade shows. But event planners have to be wary of an entirely different guideline.

As per the CDC, trade shows are considered to be one of the events with the highest risk of spreading the virus. This means that event planners must be strict in monitoring staff and visitors that enter the event. Additionally, disinfecting areas with high-traffic should also be a priority. Event planners should also consider utilizing event centers with bigger spaces, as this would help with the social-distancing protocols.

The guidelines help prevent the spread of the pandemic in trade shows. However, they can hinder visitor participation during key parts of the event. The guidelines can also drastically decrease the number of visitors that visit trade shows. The key to surviving this is for trade shows to use the guidelines to their advantage. Quality then becomes the goal for every trade show.

Since there will be fewer visitors in every trade show, exhibitors must do their best to captivate them. They can resort to technological advances such as Virtual Reality to showcase their products. Exhibitors may also choose to showcase their products by batch and to hold small conferences while observing the CDC protocols.

There are still many ways for physical trade shows to survive this given pandemic. As more and more quarantine restrictions are lifted from around the world, it’s possible that trade shows might come back from the great deficit they have experienced this year due to cancellations. However, it is wise to rely on virtual trade shows for now as no one knows what else the pandemic can bring in the future.

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