The CoronaVirus Effect – 2020 & Beyond

3 Mar, 2020 1

The CoronaVirus Effect on the Trade Show Industry

The reality of the coronavirus outbreak is that is has caused the cancellation or postponement of more than 24 exhibitions and conferences worldwide, hammering the $2.5 trillion trade show industry. Such as the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, organizers of the MWC, the world’s largest trade show for the mobile phone industry, on Feb 12 released a statement and effectively pulled the plug on the show less than two weeks before it was set to start in Barcelona, Spain. 

The cancellation marked a turning point for companies who fear the possibility of exposing their workers to the CoronaVirus. GSMA, the organizers of MWC – which typically draws 100,000 visitors from all over the world – announced the cancellation after exhibitors and speakers began canceling their travel plans en masse. The four-day conference was to feature keynote speakers from AT&T Airbus, Google and other titans of industry.

Recently Facebook canceled its annual Global Marketing Summit scheduled for March 9 to 12 in San Francisco “out of an abundance of caution” over the virus. The event was expected to attract more than 4,000 participants. This has resulted in corporations having to pull their executives from attending conferences across the globe, including major trade shows in the U.S., amid fears of a possible pandemic.

$2.5 trillion industry

The cancellation of trade shows is having damaging ripple effects across the hotel, airline, entertainment, marketing, restaurant, and other industries. The Food & Hotel Asia – Hotel Restaurant and Cafe expo, referred to as FHA-HoReCa, in Singapore has been moved from March to July. The event was postponed because of the outbreak of CoronaVirus. 

Rescheduling events can pose serious financial issues for organizers. They may not be able to book the same venue for their preferred date and can lose money they’ve spent on the event space and other services like catering and conference management.

Exhibitors and attendees also face challenges when events are canceled or when they choose not to attend, such as potentially losing the costs of booth deposits, event registration, and travel arrangements. Most importantly, they miss the opportunity of making potentially lucrative business connections, according to Sherrif Karamat, President and CEO of the Professional Convention Management Association.

A brighter outlook 2020 and beyond

The future, however, is still bright and there will be a turnaround later in the year and the economic turnaround into 2021 will provide new opportunities. As the CoronaVirus is managed and dissipates around the world, many trade shows should be looking to re-schedule and perhaps even choose alternative countries to host their events. 

Surely event organizers with more flexible calendars and in fast-moving industries, that have the resources are already looking towards the latter half of 2020 and into 2021, perhaps they will create multiple events in safer regions, so localizing their audience where the CoronaVirus is not affecting the population. 

Planning ahead is very important and should be on the radar of any brands or companies wishing to engage in trade shows, no matter how the landscape will look and this presents opportunities that enable them to participate in a new type of trade show. 

Changing the Game, Going Virtual

Some event organizers have taken an innovative approach and created a series of long-form webinars to engage with attendees via interactive streaming sessions, this unique approach can open up opportunities to engage with remote audiences for lead generation in a different way. With the use of 42 GameChanger mobile solution lead generation and gamification can still be deployed in real-time. 

Taking a virtual approach with the technology provided by 42 GameChanger essentially means that brands can still continue the important work of lead generation in a super fun and dynamic way. So With 42 GameChanger the tech-savvy brands can harness the power of the dynamic features, by creating a more unique experience for all virtual attendees. 

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