It’s been over 18 months since the pandemic began, and the trade show industry was among the hardest hit. We endured show cancellations, layoffs and limited face-to-face events. Many wondered whether the industry could or would recover. Thankfully, those who predicted that Covid would be the death of live events have been proven wrong. We are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel as more and more shows are being scheduled. It’s refreshing and exciting to see trade shows and events coming back, and even though they may be smaller with fewer attendees, we are looking forward to the future.

Surveys Show Companies Are Committed to Trade Show Marketing

The show cancellations as a result of the pandemic helped answer a question that is often asked, “Are trade shows worth the investment?” Many companies have come to appreciate the value of face-to-face marketing. The lack of in-person trade shows greatly impacted an organization’s ability to generate leads and land sales. Brand awareness decreased and the intangible value of building and maintaining customer relationships suffered. Virtual events, the go-to for companies as they navigated cancelled shows, generated fewer leads than hoped for.

Exhibitor Media Group conducted multiple surveys last year and earlier this year, and the results are very promising. A few key take-aways include:

  • Over 97% of exhibiting companies plan on returning to trade shows and live events
  • More than 50% say they will maintain or increase their marketing budgets for rescheduled events
  • 80% are confident in the new health and sanitization protocols
  • The expected to return to a new normal is the 1st Quarter of 2022

What is the “New Normal” for Trade Shows?

It would be foolish to think that the pandemic has not changed some aspects of the trade show industry, perhaps for good. As hungry as people are to step out from behind their screens (Zoom fatigue is real!) and connect with prospects and customers in person, they want to do so safely. The changes we all should expect include:

  • New sanitation procedures and venue safety protocols, including enhanced cleaning measures and improved air filtration systems
  • Wider aisles, social distancing and mask wearing
  • More outdoor and roadshow events
  • Food and beverage changes
  • Fewer giveaways
  • Fewer staffers
  • Shift from large, international shows to smaller, regional shows

The Future Looks Bright

The forecast for the trade show industry is for steady growth starting in the 4th quarter of 2021 and continuing for the next 4-5 years. We are seeing proof of this as our clients continue to reach out to get ready for shows that were re-scheduled into 2022. Over the summer, our team was kept busy refreshing, re-designing and creating new exhibits as companies plan their return to in-person shows.

Have you begun to schedule shows to attend? Take advantage of this time to polish up your presence on the floor.

“The changes in trade show environments make this an ideal time for exhibitors to up their game.”

Bill Conerly in Forbes

Don’t delay your exhibit planning. Supply chain and logistic issues are causing increased lead times, so planning ahead is more critical than ever.

Contact us for a get-to-work meeting.