Will Conventions and Trade Shows Survive?

The coronavirus already has changed everyday life in profound ways. But even after the crisis has ended and life begins to return to normal, there likely will be tectonic shifts in the way people live their lives.

No one knows how long the crisis will last or when the government and medical officials will get it under control. But it’s likely that the aftermath will be felt long after we all emerge from our homes and businesses reopen. One of the most profound changes could be the way conventions and trade shows are run.

Fear of Big Crowds

Some of the most popular conventions and trade shows are held in massive convention centers that can fit tens of thousands of people. But after the coronavirus crisis, many people will think twice about going into crowded spaces and interacting at close range with people — even if they are wearing protective masks or latex gloves.

It’s going to take time to get everything reopened. And it’s going to take even longer for people to get over their fear of interacting with other people directly. It’s unknown how long it will take for people to regain their confidence to the point where they can join large crowds at conventions and trade shows again.

It could be months, or even years, before trade shows and conventions get back to normal. Or there could be a “new normal” that doesn’t include crowded show floors or mass meetings in cavernous halls.

New Face of Trade Shows

Until that time, expect the people that run these big events to be thinking outside the box on new and innovative ways to get the same results without putting people at risk or making them feel uncomfortable.

Perhaps they will take cues from businesses that have allowed employees to work at home whenever possible rather than going into a centralized office space. Or they may learn from families and friends who are turning to Zoom, Facetime, and Skype to interact virtually with other people rather than meeting with them face-to-face.

There’s no doubt the coronavirus crisis will have lasting effects on how trade shows and conventions are run. What those changes will remain to be seen.