As 2022 draws to a close, you might be wondering, “Should I plan on exhibiting at any trade shows in 2023?” In our post-pandemic world, decisions like these can be laced with doubt and uncertainty. So, here’s some information to help guide your decision-making.
How Did COVID-19 Affect Trade Shows?
According to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), during the last three quarters of 2020, 98.5% of B2B exhibitions were canceled. In 2021, the hybrid approach became more popular. Some people attended events in person; others attended virtually.
In 2022, in-person attendance continued to increase, and event cancellation rates continued to decrease. In fact, in the second quarter of 2022, only 2% of exhibitions were canceled.
B2B Exhibition Industry Cancellation Rate, %
So, trade shows are making a comeback. But they still haven’t reached pre-pandemic metrics. In the second quarter of 2022, the CEIR Total Index (which measures overall exhibition performance), was still 25.5% lower than in 2019.
In-Person vs. Virtual Events
Understandably, some prospective exhibitors and attendees are reconsidering the ROI of traveling to trade shows. They are concerned about not only the health risk but also the financial risk. It’s expensive and time-consuming.
However, in-person events offer benefits that just can’t be replicated virtually. In fact, in 2022, 95% of trade exhibition professionals said they prefer in-person events over virtual events.
Think about some of these key advantages of being in person.
When you’re trying to build business relationships, it’s essential to have the human element of face-to-face time, not just screen-to-screen time. People tend to be more engaged when they are physically present and can move around, not just stuck in a chair staring at their device.
- Multi-modal conversations
In-person events allow for that spontaneous chit chat in the hallway or for those structured presentations in the exhibition hall. During virtual events, it’s more difficult to strike up small talk in between sessions.
- Multi-sensory demonstrations
In-person events provide opportunities for customers to touch and interact with your products. They’re not limited to the two dimensions of a screen.
So, from a marketing perspective, you can get more value per hour when you’re in person instead of on Zoom.
Your Brand on Display
If it’s been a while since you’ve attended any in-person trade shows, we encourage you to consider it as part of your marketing plan for 2023. We’re also happy to help you prepare any materials you might need for that industry event. If your banners are looking dusty and outdated, we can help you design new signs and displays. Or if you need business cards or brochures to hand out, we can also help with those print publications. We’ll help you make the most of the in-person event, by making sure your booth showcases your brand.