Exhibitions and events after Covid-19! What might they look like?
At the moment it all looks very sad. No exhibitions, no events, no conferences and nothing to look forward to.
Having said that, the exhibitions and events industry WILL return and we suspect bigger and stronger than ever.
The second quarter of 2020 and onwards was pretty much cancelled with many exhibitions and events postponed until the end of 2021/22. That means the final quarter of 2021 is going to be a busy one for everyone connected to the events industry.
There will of course have to be some changes. The industry HAS to move with the times and at the moment the times we live in dictate not only how an event should run but what the general public expect so they feel comfortable and save to attend.
Dreams Agency is very strong in the exhibitions and events sector providing hostesses and event staff all over the world so we have good experience in the industry. So, this is how we feel things might change in the future.
1. Restricted number of exhibition visitors
Current lockdown restations will ease as we move through 2021 but it certainly wont be ‘lockdown is over, we can all carry on as we did in 2019!’ No, there will be stages of the country being opened up and part of that will likely be restrictions on how many people can meet at a venue.
First thoughts are that this will be a nightmare for event and exhibition organisers because selling as many tickets as possible means attracting more exhibitors to the event which in turn means more people wanting to attend.
However, we believe that the problem of restricted visitors could be turned on its head to the advantage of the organisers.
The organisers will need to pay real attention to who will actually be attending an event. If they can clear the floor of people just attending for a nice day out but with no real intention of engaging with the exhibitors or buying anything and focus on offering tickets to people who want to engage, want to purchase and that have a genuine interest in the exhibition because it relates to their industry or their personal life then that’s an attractive proposition for the exhibitors.
2. Virtual events, virtual exhibitions. VIRTUAL WORLD
During 2020 we all became accustomed to zoom calls and virtual conversations and this was a bit of a lifeline for the events industry. Whilst its not the same as a face to face meeting it was certainly better than nothing.
As people become more accepting of a virtual event it is likely to be a good alternative option to the exhibitions and events industry as we step into 2021. Even when lockdown measures are eased and exhibitions are given the opportunity to open again some people will be nervous and feel more comfortable attending virtually. This is another area for the industry to cease an opportunity and offer the people what they want.
For the events industry a virtual event is more cost effective than a physical one. For exhibitors and attendees the costs are reduced because there is no additional travel or accommodation expenses.
Once we (the industry and the general public) truly embrace a virtual event the benefits are clear….
• No travel expenses
• No expensive parking
• No accommodation requirements for visitors or exhibitors
• No stand set up
• No risk of catching or spreading covid-19
• No limits on how many people can attend
• No need for PPE
We are fortunate at Dreams Agency to have been working with many companies testing their event virtual platforms and we can tell you its very impressive. You can insert yourself into the exhibition hall and walk around virtually as you would if you were attending in person. We have also had our staff carrying our market research and surveys online.
3. Personal Protection Equipment for exhibitors and event visitors
Eastern cultures have been ahead of the game for some time when it comes to PPE for everyday use. You only need to take a look at the trains in China years ago and you will have seen a high percentage of the commuters wearing face masks.
This is likely to continue to be the norm everywhere else in the near future. The hospitality industry is already gearing itself up to making it the social norm for a H&S dress code so people feel comfortable attending their establishment
Even though there will be restricted numbers allowed to attend an event their will still be a PPE uniform for everyone to wear if they are to be allowed entry. There will be a requirement to have your temperature checked at the event entrance before you are allowed to go in. Around the clock cleaning of all stands and break out areas during an event will be required with more powerful cleaning products to reduce the risk of infection.
The industry understands that if they are to be allowed to open an event the health and safety hoops must be jumped through to keep everyone safe. Lets face it, its not a huge inconvenience when you consider there is the opportunity to stage an event.
Events Post Covid-19 – Summary
This is all guess work of course. Nobody really knows what the event industry landscape we look like when we begin to open up the country but there is hope and there is optimism that we can all make this work.
Our industry will get through this and we will have the opportunity to enjoy an exhibition, do some networking and meet friends at a concert although it might be a different experience to what we have experienced in the past.
We say lets embrace the difference, enjoy the new experience and help each other get our industry working and being stronger than ever.