Conventions, Conferences, and More are Back on the Calendar
The trade show and exhibition industry in the United States is slowly coming back to life after a lost year due to the global pandemic. Returning to trade shows is already on tap for many businesses and organizations around the country, and is projected to increase as 2021 unspools further.
Due to progress in the collective fight against the pandemic, and growing fatigue with fully virtual events that became the norm over the last 18 months, many event planners have begun plotting out in-person events. The industry is ready for the return as well. A January study from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority found 91 percent of surveyed business travelers miss the face-to-face interactions that come with in-person conferences and trade shows. In addition, 58 percent noted they felt burnt out from the virtual meetings and conferences.
In many conference hot spots, like Las Vegas, smaller gatherings have been permitted for months with caps ranging from 20 to 35 percent of capacity as organizers prepare and implement new practices and protocols — like available rapid, on-site COVID-19 testing for example.
It’s been part of a process across the industry that was gearing up for more substantial events late in Q3 of 2021 and into Q4. According to Northstar Meeting Group’s March survey, 81% of planners will hold an in-person event this year with the vast majority of those planned coming in the final four months of 2021.
Returning to trade shows will be part of the plan for most businesses throughout the back half of 2021. With other large in-person gatherings, like sporting events and concerts, already allowing more and more spectators into venues, there is optimism that the trade show and conference circuit will be able to welcome in robust crowds later this year. Those attending, however, should expect some notable changes to how such events were previously conducted.
Returning to Trade Shows Means Adjustments
Conferences, conventions, and the like may be coming back, but they’ll be tinged with the lessons learned from the last year-and-a-half. New rules and recommendations will be instituted to varying degrees in venues across the country as groups try to execute large gatherings that will not only serve the networking needs of those in attendance but also do so in ways that won’t jeopardize the health of attendees.
To start, you can expect virtual components for most conferences and trade shows moving forward. Relying on virtual settings became a necessity in 2020 and continuing to implement such aspects projects to be part of most events moving forward. The ability to connect remotely with conventions and conferences — for viewing lectures and presentations for example — won’t be going away even as more and more people return to in-person attendance.
Trade show capacity may not be 100% (depending on when you attend), either. Hard caps on the number of exhibitors and attendees may still be in place to ensure that the event can maintain proper social distancing guidelines inside convention centers. Along those same lines, the layout for exhibit halls may be altered as well with a premium put on space — wider aisles, fewer booths to leave more room to maneuver.
You can also expect to see virus tracking and preventative measures. Some events will use temperature checks at entryways, and those aforementioned rapid COVID-19 tests will be available at some events. The wearing of masks is expected to be encouraged in some states, and you will see hand-sanitizing stations throughout every public space. Lastly, though decisions are still in flux, there could be different requirements in place for those who have been vaccinated and those who have not.
The goal in returning to trade shows is to get back to in-person networking and developing business relationships. As long as they can be conducted relatively safely with the above guidelines, there’s hope the in-person component will remain moving forward.
The Kennedy Group is Also Returning to Trade Shows
Like everyone else, The Kennedy Group is eager to return to in-person events and is planning on attending two trade shows later this year. With nearly 50 years of experience in helping businesses with eye-catching labels and warehouse management solutions, our family-owned enterprise has always taken pride in developing strong long-lasting relationships.
We’re looking forward to the potential of seeing familiar clients again, and forging new relationships, as we set up shop at both Pack Expo 2021 and the Craft Brewers Conference 2021 in September.
It will be the first-ever appearance for The Kennedy Group at the Craft Brewers Conference, set for Sept. 9-12 in Denver. The largest craft brewing gathering in America, the conference promises concentrated brewing education and idea-sharing to improve brewery quality and performance. We’ll be there to showcase our craft beer market labels, and available throughout the show at Booth #5154.
The Kennedy Group has regularly attended the Pack Expo, held this year on Sept. 27-29 in Las Vegas, for a decade. The trade show is known as the most comprehensive packaging and processing event in the world, and as a member of the Reusable Packaging Association (RPA), we’ll be there to show off our material handling identification labels — a key element in organizing and tracking assets for warehouse and inventory management.
While we want to meet potential customers in person, you don’t have to travel to find out more about The Kennedy Group’s capabilities. Contact us today to learn more about our entire scope of packaging and labeling solutions, or to receive a free quote.