In the movie A Field of Dreams, one of the premises are, “If you build it, they will come.” It’s something our industry has counted on for decades and even longer! However, if people are fearful of going back to their offices, how are we going to get them to attend our exhibitions?
The good news is that expos are open in China and Korea. Recently a select few have been held in the United States. Exhibitors and visitors are populating convention centers again.
Unfortunately, even with a few shows taking place, things are not as rosy here in the US, where the lack of a national COVID-19 policy has seen a surge in cases around the country. A couple of recent industry group discussions (one on Twitter and the other a zoom group), brought forth some interesting comments from exhibition industry professionals eager to get back to work producing events.
“We are still planning our event for November and taking so many actions to make it safe. But there are still risks and things out of my control. And there are other things to think about – do I quarantine from my family when I get home? “
Another said that fears on attending live, in person events, “Could be overcome with communications on safety, guidelines, etc. to combat the fear of ‘not knowing’ how it’s [safety] being addressed or helped. We have to remember that attendees don’t live or breathe events so they may not know what we’ve developed to be safe.”
If your company or organization is holding discussions on everyone returning to the office safely (as many are in the United States), consider including and addressing those worries voiced by team members in your exhibition marketing efforts. Ensure that when more of the world returns to building exhibitions this autumn that your organization addresses client fears of live events head-on with facts.
As another industry professional said, “Getting the green light to run events again is just the first step in our industry re-boot. Exhibitors and visitors having the confidence to return is quite another,” as our colleagues in Germany and other places have discovered. Let’s continue to combat fears with knowledge.