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Are You Prepared for New Policies at Your Next Trade Show?


Live events are becoming a more relevant topic as many trade shows hosts who canceled in 2020 have set dates for the coming year. However, it’s no question that there will be new requirements for those in attendance. As nice as it would be to step back into your trade show exhibit without skipping a beat, that most likely will not be the case in 2021 and even into 2022 shows. There will be new hurdles to surpass as exhibitors and attendees reconnect on the trade show floor post-pandemic.

Here are some things to look out for at your upcoming event to make sure you’re up to date on new policies, procedures, and changes. Every show will be a little different post-covid, so do your research to make sure you are good to go when showtime rolls around.

Be prepared for temperature checks.
Numerous event hosts have already announced their screening process for anyone entering the venue. Many will require temperature checks before access is given. The Hunter Hotel Investment Conference is just one event host that has announced their partnership with CLEAR. CLEAR’s Health Pass technology is meant to create a safer conference experience with its COVID-19 screening process.

For venues that are requiring this process, everyone planning on attending must download the CLEAR app, take a real-time health survey prior to arrival, and will then be scanned at a temperature-checking kiosk at the event. Event hosts see this as a way to provide additional comfort and protection to those in attendance.

However, this is an important factor to take into consideration for exhibitors. Should your trade show team arrive at the event, only to have someone end up failing their screening (whether they have COVID-19 or are just feeling under the weather with a common cold), your team will be short a staffer. It’s going to be important for exhibitors to plan ahead for this type of possible setback. Perhaps it will mean bringing extra staff to an event to ensure that you have a suitable amount to staff your booth – or a well thought out back-up plan should you run into this type of situation.

Prepare for vaccination requirements.
Event-goers will want to pay close attention to the vaccination polices of the events that they plan to attend or exhibit at, as some hosts will be enforcing that all people in attendance be fully vaccinated. As an example that was recently announced, all CHI (Cambridge Healthtech Institute) 2021 events are requiring covid-19 vaccinations. This mandatory policy is for all in-person participants. Proof of vaccination will be required in the event holder’s aim to reopen safely.

This is important for all exhibitors and attendees to pay attention to as this is a strict policy that some will not be comfortable abiding by. If this is a dealbreaker for your business, and/or your trade show team is unable to meet these requirements – making you unable to exhibit at a trade show with this policy – there are likely other options within your industry, or another way to participate at that show from afar

For participants who are not getting vaccinated, many of these vaccination-required events will also have the option to participate on their virtual platforms. CHI is offering a virtual event that is designed to provide attendees with an in-person experience from anywhere.

Stay up to date on further postponements and changes to virtual-only.
While many trade shows have postponed and followed through with their ‘new dates,’ many trade shows have rescheduled, and then postponed again. Keep this possibility in mind when planning for upcoming trade shows. While many are confident in new dates, we’ve also seen numerous trade show hosts turn around and decide to push those dates out once more. For example, IHRSA 2021 – the International Health, Racquet & Sportclub Association’s annual convention and trade show – was initially postponed to September 20-22 in Los Angeles, California. In April they announced they were postponing again to October 10-15, as well as relocating to Dallas due to Los Angeles’ stricter restrictions still in place.

We have also seen rescheduled events decide to cancel their in-person gathering altogether and go completely online after initially postponing. The reopening process is happening at different paces in different states, so this is still a bit of a moving target for hosts trying to plan and set dates for their events.

Travel insurance might be a smart investment during this time of uncertainty as trade shows regain traction. While we know that trade shows are looking up with the countless rescheduled shows and the number of shows we are already seeing successfully taking place, there is still going to be some hesitancy coming from venues and hosts.

Manufacturing shortages may affect your ability to obtain new display materials.
It is no secret the manufacturing industry has been hit hard – and is now having trouble ramping back up again. Across ALL industries, we are seeing the effect this is having, from furniture manufacturers to the auto industry – and certainly including the trade show world. With this in mind, it will be more important than ever to plan as far in advance as possible to ensure you are able to obtain any new or updated graphics or products you plan to use at your shows. Check with your trade show partner on lead times, as they may be increased from what you were previously used to.

Starting the process early and setting a timeline with your supplier will help ensure everyone is on the same page regarding expectations on both sides and help you avoid any last-minute stress of not being able to obtain product due to manufacturing complications.

As you can see, there are a lot of new and moving parts to keep track of. From the status of your show(s), the requirements to attend, and your ability to create new materials without running into manufacturing issues. Keep an eye out for these changes as they are still happening with short notice and be up to date on what’s expected of you as you come back in person at these large events. Having a plan – and a back-up plan – will only benefit your trade show marketing planning. We hope things go as smoothly as possible as you step back into exhibiting and we are here to help you do so! Please reach out with any questions about preparing for your next show.