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Trade Shows And Exhibitions In The Post-COVID-19 Era

April 20, 2021 /
Conex /
Woman with laptop and cat on laps

The Coronavirus pandemic swept through the world, and over a year on, we’re still suffering from its impact. While the situation in the UK is improving, there are still many restrictions on groups gathering and public events. 

According to the government, if the UK continues to stay on course, life will be back to normal by summer. But will we ever go back to life before Covid-19? 

With so many businesses changing the way they operate and people becoming more reliant on technology, more people will likely work remotely. 

In this post, we’ll look at trade shows and exhibitions in the post-Covid-19 era. 

How Has The Pandemic Impacted Events?

As Coronavirus cases in the UK began to rise in 2020, people were told they had to stay home and save lives. Businesses shut down, events such as The World Cup would be cancelled, and trade shows were another victim of lockdown restrictions. 

Perhaps the most challenging aspect of the first lockdown was that nobody knew when things would begin to change. The ambiguity of the pandemic meant organisers around the world had to come up with solutions to hold their event. 

The Hybrid Event 

Before the pandemic, many trade shows and exhibitions took a hybrid approach to hosting their event. Hybrid events happen both online and in-person, which is beneficial for organisers because it means people worldwide can attend. 

For example, say a presentation took place in a theatre. People could attend and watch the event in person, tune in for the live show from their mobile device or watch it later. 

There are many benefits to hosting hybrid events, including: 

More Inclusive: Not everyone can travel to an event, but they can watch it online. It’s ideal for people in different countries that cannot afford to travel but want to attend. 

Fewer Costs: When you don’t have to accommodate everyone, you can save a lot of money. For example, a physical event requires a prominent location, and many also expect food and drinks as part of the package. But if you have more remote attendees, you can save a lot of money. 

More Sponsorship Options: When you host an event for a large online audience, you have much more sponsorship options. Companies that operate in other locations will be more likely to offer their support because they know you’ll have access to a diverse audience. 

Valuable Data: Data is everything. Not only does it help you see where your weaknesses are, but it also gives you valuable insights about how you can alter marketing and branding strategies to allow you more room for growth. 

While hybrid events prove beneficial, the pandemic meant that every function, exhibition and trade show had to go remote. But the biggest question is, will we go back to traditional and hybrid events or stick to remote hosting? 

How Do Remote Events Benefit Companies?

Webcam on the stand

Remote event planning has many benefits and disadvantages for companies. Let’s look at them and how each might define whether trade shows and exhibitions go fully remote post-Covid-19. 


In the last 30 years, we’ve seen a significant surge in technology. From Nokia’s to iPhones, Segas to VR Headsets and dial-up internet to WiFi, we’re lucky to benefit from all of these advancements. 

Technology has also been vital for businesses to survive during the pandemic. Most trade shows and exhibitions already implemented some forms of technology, but Covid-19 made them entirely reliant on live streaming. 

The Advantages of Technology 

Technology makes reaching a wider audience possible, and trade shows can benefit a great deal from more exposure. Not only can they cut costs, but they’ll also attract more companies because they’ll know that they have an opportunity to generate more leads. 

VR technology is also providing a more immersive experience for remote attendees. The worry of spreading germs could also mean more people prefer to access events online instead of in-person after the pandemic. 

The Disadvantages of Technology

Can technology ever beat a physical experience? Many event organisers say no. The fact is, people enjoy the excitement of attending an event, and it’s an excellent opportunity to network with others. 

While technology has many benefits and can create a more interactive experience, it will never completely replicate the buzz of a physical event. 

Contingency Planning 

Event organisers always had some form of contingency plan, but the pandemic cost them a fortune. According to Event Industry News, over a third of venues lost between £1,000,000 and £5,000,000 – which shows the greater need for contingency planning.  

There’s no doubt that event organisers, venues and businesses are more focused on contingency plans, which means that future events should run without a hitch. However, there are also some downsides to heightened planning. 

Venues don’t want to lose money, and organisers are precisely the same. A big worry for businesses is that the costs of having an exhibition at a trade show or event will rise. Many venues might ask for a non-returnable deposit, while organisers might try to make sure they don’t have to pay anything if an event cannot happen. 

Suppose both parties work together to find a solution that benefits everyone. In that case, they could take extra precautions to host events while making sure the risk of financial losses is minimised. 

Health and Safety

The primary concern with in-person events is the threat of spreading the disease. But there are many ways to reduce worries in attendees. As the government’s vaccine scheme continues to protect people in the UK, attendees will likely have the confidence to attend trade shows and exhibitions. 

Will Events Go Fully Remote?

While there are many benefits to remote exhibitions, the hybrid model will likely continue to thrive when things go back to normal. Not only do they offer a fully person-centred experience, but they also make it possible for businesses to reach a wider audience. 

If you’re looking forward to planning your next trade show or exhibition, there’s no time like the present to start designing your stand-out exhibition stand. Renting temporary walling systems, plinths and lighting equipment couldn’t be easier, and you can save money on purchasing materials for your event. 

Hopefully, in the coming months, we’ll get to see hybrid events thrive again as businesses around the UK embrace the return of in-person events.