The coronavirus pandemic has taken its toll on many industries. But perhaps none has been hurt more than the live events industry.
Among live events, the question of hosting trade shows in the post-pandemic world has arisen.
If you have been in charge of trade show planning in the past, you may be wondering how to adapt to the post-pandemic world.
We’ve prepared this comprehensive guide so you can continue planning great trade shows after our lockdowns come to a close.
The Guide to Trade Show Planning
Trade shows will continue to grow in importance. In fact, as the pandemic has greatly hurt the economies of the world – we expect to see much greater attendance to trade shows.
Here’s what you need to do to plan a successful trade show in our post-pandemic world:
1. Plan Ahead
Any event planner will know the importance of planning ahead. But we need to re-stress this.
Both the airline industry and the hotel industry have been hit the hardest in the pandemic. This means that flights, hotels, and other event spaces are up for grabs. Now is the time to book your event space before they get filled up – and before prices skyrocket.
You also want to encourage your staff, attendees, etc., to book their flights in advance while they can.
Once you have confirmed your dates and the location, you want to immediately market the trade show to potential attendees. If you want a full house, you have to let everyone know the doors are open as soon as possible.
2. Prepare the Booths
Once the location and dates have been confirmed, the next step is to reach out to the prospects to prepare the booths.
When contacting the prospective exhibitors, encourage them to book their hotel rooms and flights in advance. If you have confirmed attendees, you can provide this number to encourage exhibitors to participate in the trade show.
Trade show exhibits take quite a bit of lead time to design and manufacture, you may even wish to give them advice on how to prepare their booths to attract attention at the trade show.
3. Prepare Your Team
You need to have your team prepare for the trade show well in advance. For this to be successful, you need to prepare your team.
Delegate different tasks to your team according to their strengths. Some of your team members can help with logistics and designing the layout of the venue. Others will be able to coordinate with your exhibitors and help them prepare their booths for the event.
You can assign someone on the team to create multiple itineraries. There can be one for the exhibitors, one for the attendees, and one for the team. These itineraries ensure that everyone is on the same page and that the trade show runs smoothly.
4. Market the Event
As we mentioned in the first step, you should begin your marketing efforts as soon as possible. There are several marketing strategies to employ in order to acquire a high number of attendees.
Make sure that you post your event details on social media. On social media, you can reach a wider audience than other avenues of marketing. You can not only post details about the event, but you can also share content on the exhibitors that will be in attendance.
Using a platform such as Facebook, you can directly communicate with interested attendees. You can make a Facebook Event page to invite attendees and have them register their tickets. You can use this page to provide updates leading to the event.
Email marketing is also an essential tool for spreading the word. You should automatically subscribe all of your attendees to an email newsletter. This newsletter should send regular updates and information on the trade show.
5. Prizes and Other Offers
While many people will be happy to stretch their legs in a post-pandemic world, there will still be a lot of concern about their health. There will still be many people who are cautious about going out.
It may take some encouragement to get people to come out to the trade show. And often, the best way to get people to come out might be through offering prizes, giveaways, and other offers.
These can help break the ice at the trade show, encourage more attendees, and foster greater interaction between attendees and exhibitors.
As we mentioned in the previous step, the post-pandemic world will still have a few concerns about the spreading of coronavirus. There may be people who still wish to socially distance as much as is possible. You can accommodate them by being as contactless as possible.
Instead of having to take a physical ticket, have the option for your attendees to download a digital ticket to their phone. Invest in a scanner that can scan the tickets from afar. You may even wish to stock the venue with hand sanitizer for attendees and exhibitors to use.
If any exhibitor wishes to have a social distancing protocol, help them with it. For example, if they do not want attendees coming too close to their booth – you can align tape on the floor to express a boundary.
Once your trade show has ended, you want to reach out to everyone for their feedback. Feedback ensures that you know what went well and what can be improved upon for a future trade show. Make sure that you collect feedback from your team, from exhibitors, and from the attendees.
Once you have collected the feedback, make sure you thank the exhibitors and attendees. You want to keep their contact information and make regular communication with them for future trade shows.
You should also sit down with your team and look at the feedback. By looking at the positive and negative feedback, you will be able to strategize a better trade show for the future.
See You at the Show
Now that you know about trade show planning in a post-pandemic world, you are ready to plan your next trade show. Follow the steps in this guide and you are sure to plan a successful event once our lockdowns finally come to an end.