How Has Covid-19 Affected The Exhibition Industry

The COVID-19 outbreak and consequent lockdowns across the world have upended business operations, especially in the exhibition industry. Almost all industry conferences, trade shows, and exhibitions stand canceled or postponed for the foreseeable future.

As the effect of the pandemic is far from receding, marketers are reluctant to commit time and resources to re-schedule events. Based on the UFI Global Exhibition Barometer survey, we have explored some of the major effects of the pandemic.

Optimism Converted To Realism

The industry was initially quite optimistic that the virus is limited to China. However, the situation got worse with time, and the rate of companies working normally declined from 85% in January to 5-6% in April. The UFI reports that for April and May, 73% of companies worldwide declared no activity. Many companies were expecting that local and national exhibitions will reopen in the second half of 2020.

However, with the pandemic gripping the entire world, most companies don’t expect international events to reopen before 2021. Based on Global results by UFI, 57% of companies are confident that since face-to-face events are so valuable, it will bounce back shortly.

However, 43% of companies are still doubtful about the industry’s recovery potential. Take a look at UFI’s Global results on exhibitions in the coming years:

How Has Covid-19 Affected The Exhibition Industry

Adopting Virtual Approaches

To sustain in the current situation, 82% of the companies are embracing hybrid events. The UFI statistics show that 50% of the companies are increasingly investing in digitisation.

Adopting Virtual Approaches

Virtual events are the safest bet at present. Therefore, adopting digitalization is imperative to survive in the current scenario. Maintaining your brand identity during virtual events is more important than ever using banner stands and retractable banners.

“Everyone is aware that this crisis will lead to major changes in the way exhibitions are produced, especially with a push towards more digital elements before, during, and between events.”

– Kai Hattendorf, Managing Director and CEO, UFI

The New Normal

The impact of the pandemic has been severe in the events and exhibition industry. Although we can see other businesses gradually reopening in various parts of the world, companies in the exhibition industry are still facing huge losses. Based on a webinar held by UFI, the post-pandemic events must adapt to the new normal to survive in the market.

Some of the major changes are as follows:

Hygiene And Safety
Health, hygiene, and safety will be a major concern during all future events. Hence, organisers must take special care to maintain social distancing, without obstructing the flow of work. There must be a standard, unified approach to hygiene and social distancing that would be in place for every event.

It is vital to ensure the safety of the attendees and organisers at the events and exhibitions. Also, it will encourage the nervous visitors to take part in the events. Though it can lead to additional costs, it is the need of the hour.

Strategically Plan The Future Events
Although hosting events and exhibitions is challenging, careful planning with an assortment of pandemic proof products can help you pull them off successfully. Instead of being hasty, organisers must strategically plan future events keeping in mind the new normal.

Further, the companies might have to restrict the shape and size of the events in the short and medium-term. Larger companies will have to re-evaluate their business requirements and conduct small-to-medium size events to make them cost-effective.

Hybrid Approaches
The old ways are long gone. It’s almost a necessity to adopt digital approaches to thrive in the present situation. As we already discussed, the majority of companies have already started investing in digital technology. The pandemic has accelerated the use of live streaming, VR, and online collaborations.

However, this is not the end of face-to-face events and physical exhibitions. Instead, it’s the beginning of a new hybrid approach. Live events and programs will add value to the existing ways of organising events. Also, it’ll further strengthen marketing strategies and enhance engagement.

Wrapping Up
With the pandemic still in play, managing an event comes with a lot of responsibility. At Silverline Australia, we have a variety of products to create a safe setting for conducting events while enhancing your brand image.

Our COVID-19 products range is designed to ensure the hygiene and safety of your event attendees. For further information and queries, you can contact us here.

Contact Silverline Australia