People Need People

The last-minute transition to a virtual environment that we have most recently lived through was quickly put together and felt like everyone was chasing their tails. Technology is great when it works but how many events went down in flames for minute or hours? How many exhibit renderings does anyone want to visit or how many people want to sit through back-to-back webinars. I will take a leap and guess no one.

Keeping the attention of attendees to the business at hand on a trade show floor is hard enough – now put them all back in their offices and see how you can get them to traipse from exhibit to exhibit for six to eight hours straight for three days. There are some great places for sole virtual events for a couple of hours with a powerful speaker, or a one-on-one walk through a showroom with a salesperson, or even a private meeting with a company staff – but not a whole show!

Back to Booming

There was a time when trade shows were thought of as boring conferences with mind-numbing exhibit halls. Attending them was a compulsory requirement, not a pleasure. The best you got was a reward at the end of the day of a cocktail party, or a great dinner, or even an evening that ended at a new club. However, things began to change, and exhibitors have increasingly upped the ante and the tables have turned. Until COVID appeared, the trade show industry was booming. It was bigger than ever. This was because the shows had become so much more than “just” trade shows.

People looked forward to being together. The idea of gathering with customers and vendors in person was exhilarating. Trade show organizers were making the events larger than life. They became known for camaraderie, headlining concerts, the new must see TV. Most importantly was the human interaction. People crave human interaction. People are wired to be together, and trade shows present a perfect opportunity to come together and enjoy that togetherness.

Hard to Live without Human Contact

Envision how much people want that face time once again. After 9/11 attendance was down by 75% at many shows, but the people who were going were the key decision-makers. It is the nature of people to need human contact – that is the force that will drive them back to show floors.

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