It’s been a long stretch since March 2020, that fateful day when BoJo told us to stay indoors. Entire business sectors ground to a halt. Bars, clubs and restaurants were silenced, gyms locked their doors, hotel bookings were cancelled in their droves and the events sector began the painful process of ticket refunds to millions, worldwide.
Trade shows, the highlight for many businesses cancelled, forcing companies to think outside the box and come up with a way of reaching buyers without the annual hoorah at Olympia or the NEC. Buyers had to adapt to a new way of buying. No more touchy-feely product demos or catwalk productions. The world turned on its head and the main beneficiaries were the shareholders of Zoom.
Fast forward to August 2021. Events are slowly returning, but is the world ready for face-to-face interactions, post pandemic?
Understandably, there is an air of nervousness across the business landscape. Whether it’s a local networking group transitioning from Zoom meetings to face-to-face, or an annual event that regularly attracts thousands of trade visitors, caution appears to be the key word. Therefore, what has the events sector proposed in a bid to attract buyers and networkers back through the doors?
For starters, it would seem that attendee numbers would lower for future events. There has also been talk of wider aisles so that people can browse trade stands without too much close contact (we can’t wait to see that one!). Maybe the large trade shows will introduce a timed entry system – just like many large tourist attractions have been doing for years. A trade show as exciting as Alton Towers… YES PLEASE!
Will these changes make the ticket a hotter prospect, or will the organisers have to run over a longer period? Obviously, this would have financial implications for the event organisers and exhibitors (do wider aisles equate to less exhibitors?) but the power of the trade show should not be under-estimated.
As visitors, we have a responsibility to ……. well, act responsibly! Yes, we will need a little more patience. Yes, we might be expected to wear a face covering and use hand sanitiser every ten minutes but at Golddust Marketing, we truly believe that face-to-face events need to be reintroduced.
The top trade shows attract thousands of targeted visitors over the course of their 3 – 4-day lifespan. Where else is a business going to launch its new product lines to such a mass audience at once? Events such as The Autumn Fair and The Spring Fair dictate our retail trends, and without the annual Toy Fair how will the toyshops know what to stock for Christmas?
As businesses, let’s support the return of the trade show but with an air of common sense thrown in for good measure!