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How the Pandemic is Changing the Trade Show Industry

trade show technology VR

There’s no question that the coronavirus pandemic has changed the future of trade shows. When COVID-19 first hit and the lockdowns began, the last place anyone wanted to be was in a crowd full of people. And for some, that fear still remains. 

But trade shows have been with us for a long time, so a couple years of change won’t take them away forever. That being said, the trade show industry is under construction and it’s important to prepare for the future. Being open to new opportunities and ways of doing things will help you remain competitive. 

Here are some of the most important things to know about the future of trade shows and how you can plan for success. 

Hybrid Events

One of the most significant changes that COVID-19 caused was a shift from in-person events to virtual events. With people unable to gather in person, companies found ways to continue business online.

While virtual trade shows might not have the same impact as in-person trade shows, many people are still uneasy about returning to ‘normal’ and traveling again. As a business, you’ll need to be prepared to accommodate both audiences – in-person and virtual.

To ensure your hybrid trade show is successful, choose a convention center that has broadcast centers installed. These state-of-the-art facilities give remote attendees the same experience as those who are there in person. 

Smaller, Regional Events 

In the past, many massive in-person events were held at particular destinations, using the location as a selling point. But since travel will be reduced for some, the better approach may be to attend multiple regional events rather than a single national event. 

Attendance at several regional events has the potential to appeal to larger audiences. People who are unwilling to travel can go somewhere regionally, and other attendees can join you virtually. 

Advanced Technology 

Many trade shows use cutting-edge technology to make their events a success, so you can expect to see cool gadgets, augmented reality, virtual reality, etc. on the rise. Thanks to this technology, consumers are able to test out products in a safe, controlled environment. 

We can expect technology to be even more important for hybrid events. Technology can help identify smaller groups of attendees with similar interests, facilitate breakout sessions and promote networking opportunities all while delivering meaningful experiences. 

Creative Marketing 

Marketing is also taking a step forward now that the trade show landscape is changing. By creating high quality content, businesses can highlight important information and provide value to their audience anytime, anywhere. 

Aside from the traditional banners, signs and promotional logos found at trade shows, businesses must also be willing to utilize online marketing tools like live streaming, real-time updates, gamification, Q&As and more. 

Let’s Talk About Your Updated Trade Show Marketing Strategy!

Whether you’re looking to improve your trade show presence or get back into the game, IGE Group can help. We design and build trade show displays for clients all over the world while keeping up with the latest trends. Contact our team of trade show display experts to discuss your upcoming event.