The trade show and live events industry came to a screeching halt in March of 2020, but there is reason for optimism about returning to live events and trade shows in 2021. We have never experienced a shut down like this before! Across the country, exhibit companies and suppliers made major cutbacks, in both facilities and personnel.
Events Industry Hit Hard in 2020
According to the Experiential Designers & Producers Association (EDPA), nearly 90% of full-time employees in the exhibit industry were laid off. Over 9,000 B2B events have been cancelled, leaving millions of trade show and exhibition workers unemployed. When shows do come back, the challenge will be whether there is enough talented labor to get the job done. Our suppliers and vendors that we’ve spoken to are preparing for the day when live events resume, but expect it may be a gradual return. Many key employees throughout the industry have permanently left the industry and taken new jobs.
Now…the Good News!
All indications are that the COVID-19 vaccines are working, and the infection rate is diminishing. It appears that shows and events will begin returning late in the 2nd quarter and will really start picking up in the 3rd and 4th quarters. Convention centers are getting the GBAC Certification to ensure their facilities are prepared and maintained with new cleaning protocols. You will see more hand sanitizer stations, social distancing measures and attendee flow maps.
Strategizing for Live Trade Shows
As the industry recovers and we get back to some sort of normalcy, event managers and trade show planners will need to carefully lay out their strategy for returning to live shows. They will be reviewing what shows to attend and preparing their plans. Planners will also need to decide who and how many staff members should travel. Predictions are that although fewer people will attend the shows, the ones that do are the decision makers and buyers.
When Should YOU Start Preparing to Exhibit in Person? (Hint: Now!)
As you begin to think about exhibiting again, we can’t emphasize enough the need to start your exhibit planning soon. Now is when you should get the ball rolling with fresh exhibit designs, updated graphics, and new exhibits. Once trade shows return, we anticipate the pent-up demand from this past year will lead to a large amount of production and service requests. We will be ramping up our capacity to meet those demands. That is why it’s important to get an early start on your productions.
“You will never see eye to eye if you don’t meet face to face.”
We also anticipate challenges in the availability of raw materials, graphics printing, shipping transit times and price increases as we get approach the end of the year. With that being said, we currently have the capacity to complete your projects quickly and to be more price competitive as well. Now is the perfect time to take advantage of this window of opportunity.
The time is right! Let’s get started on working towards your return to the trade show floor! Contact us to get your project in the works.