Trade Shows for Manufacturing

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The Return of the Trade Show

Posted By : | Date : March 23, 2021

Trade Shows for the Manufacturing Industry

It’s no secret that lockdowns and other pandemic-induced protocols have seriously impacted the trade show and conference business. The vast majority of these meetings have been either postponed or canceled altogether and this has been taking place for over a year now. This has been a particular problem for the manufacturing industry trade shows. It has been estimated that over 94% of all sales activity in the aerospace sector took place at air shows and other conferences. Heavy machinery producers also rely heavily on these shows so that they can demonstrate their machines. These are the times that buyers would be in a position to “kick the tires” and interact with the companies and countries that bought equipment. This also provided an opportunity for those companies who had something to sell to these machinery producers.

The shows were affected by the protocols in place for meetings but an even bigger issue has been the restrictions on international travel (as well as domestic). The shows for this year have either been canceled again or pushed deeper in the latter part of the year with the expectation that vaccine distribution will be thorough enough by that point to allow shows. The problem then will be crowding as almost every trade show and organization is thinking along the same lines and will be gobbling up space as fast as they can. The almost complete lack of business today will be replaced by a glut of business later and that is a sure-fire recipe for much higher prices as demand exceeds supply.

What to Expect When Trade Shows Return

There will stress on three levels as far as trade shows are concerned. The first is on the ability of the facility to handle the show in the first place. There are a limited number of venues with the ability to put on major trade shows. They are starting to book up quickly after a year of going without usage. The second major hurdle is lodging and transportation services at the venue. The hotels have been all but abandoned during the pandemic and now will face full occupancy beyond their capacity. The ground transportation system has been savaged as well – too few rideshare providers and even the taxi services have been in decline. Everything regarding the servicing of these shows will have diminished during the hiatus and will have to be rebuilt. There will be shortages and excess demand to contend with.

The third level may prove to be the most daunting of all. The shows will resume but under very different circumstances. There will be demand for hybrid shows where some attendees can use the virtual option. There will be a demand for much more attention focused on sanitation and hygiene. Even as vaccines are distributed more widely there will still be requirements as far as distancing and masks and other precautions. Traditional activities that brought groups together will be forced to change – everything from meals to cocktail parties and tours. Over the next couple of years these demands may alter and be reduced but for this year and likely through 2022 the changes will be required.

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