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How COVID-19 Has Changed The Trade Show Industry


The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a huge shift in the way that businesses and attendees approach events and trade shows, with both short- and long-term impacts. Although last year was quite frustrating and challenging for the industry, there are plenty of opportunities for the future and as a result of the pandemic, trade show organizers are now well-versed in holding virtual events, which can often make them more accessible.

In-person events are set to resume, but they will be different from what we are used to.

More Virtual Events.

In the middle of the pandemic, many events were moved online to combat the need to stay at home and social distance. As the coronavirus is controlled with the vaccine and things begin to return to normal, virtual events are set to be here to stay, particularly with hybrid events which will be a combination of both in-person and virtual aspects. Some convention centers are already in the process of installing broadcasting centers to turn this into a reality.

More Safety Measures.

The trade shows and exhibitions that you attend once they are able to be held again are likely to have much more of an emphasis on personal safety. Hand sanitizing stations are likely something that is going to be here to stay for a while, and with many people still wary about attending in person and returning to normal so quickly after a year of dealing with the pandemic, you’re likely to see social distancing rules in place too. Sneeze Guardez are an ideal choice for providing an effective safety barrier between exhibits and attendees.

Smaller Events.

With large gatherings still off the cards and people around the world working their way up back to a state of normalcy, it’s likely that huge meetings and exhibitions are going to be held off for a while, with marketers shifting their attention to smaller, local events that do not attract such massive crowds and are likely to be safer. In addition, people who are unwilling to travel long distance so soon after the pandemic might be happier to travel somewhere locally instead.

More Face-to-Face Elements Replaced by Tech.

People are likely to appreciate human connections at a trade show much more in a post-COVID-19 world. However, given that social distancing guidelines are likely to remain in place for quite some time, trade shows and other corporate events are likely going to be slow to return to normal, and instead use technology wherever it is possible to reduce contact and risk. For example, contactless registration is likely to be more popular in the future, and the use of technology is going to be more effective than ever before for networking, allowing vendors to limit in-person interactions with attendees while still delivering an impactful experience.

COVID-19 has turned the trade show and exhibition industry upside down. Although virtual events have been taken place while gatherings are not permitted, it’s likely that the industry will continue using some of the elements in place throughout the pandemic, and things will change in the future.



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