by Bob McGlincy
The Exhibitor show this year had stunning exhibits and excellent educational sessions. I spoke with a number of industry executives, and here’s what some of them had to say:
“Post pandemic, what changes are you seeing?”
“After two years of an industry shut down for COVID “break”, we have experienced a rejuvenation of live event activity, with shows coming back slowly at first in 2022, to coming back to almost a “normal” schedule of events in 2023. In spite of the higher costs due to supply chain and labor issues, clients have embraced the return to Live Events in full force. Upper levels of management, who questioned the return on live event marketing, pre-COVID, have seen the value of face-to-face marketing and worked to put their companies back at full event schedule levels. The biggest changes and challenges have been to come up to speed quickly with talented skilled labor, in all areas of the events space, to meet the growing demand for solutions and services. SPOON is committed to ensure our clients received the same or better service as they did pre-COVID with a dedicated, talented, and strong team. Post-COVID has also shown us how critical it is to have a talented and accountable partner network to offer complete and successful event services to all our clients. Partners are more important than ever to the overall success of event projects.”
“As we look ahead, I believe we are in an inspiring time for trade shows and live events. The absence of live events certainly validated the need for and importance of live events. As things turn back on, one of the key focuses we are seeing is a prioritization around the attendees’ needs and experience and what they are looking to walk away from as a result of the event experience. While the tools and methods that are being utilized might be more ‘technology based’ than years ago, the principles are rooted in keeping the focus on the attendee and creating a meaningful engagement for them at the event. We know that when the overall attendee experience is positive, there is a direct correlation between the experience and return for exhibitors as well.”
“It is beginning to feel like “Post” post pandemic, as we enter our third full year since the near extinction event for our industry in 2020. We’re better and stronger as an organization than our extremely successful conclusion to 2019. We plan on thriving in a future where the key challenge for all businesses will be acquiring and training highly productive people and teams. We believe that experienced professionals within the experiential economy are well suited to the variety of challenges we will face in the coming years. The future is bright!
“’New and Exciting’ for Hill & Partners is our brand-new facility in Orlando. 30K plus square feet dedicated to our in–office team in Orlando, along with the necessary space to fulfill most of our projects in the southeast. We’re at eight full time team members there since opening on January 2nd.”
Brian Walters. Chief Creative Officer. Communication Exhibits, Inc.
“What’s New and Exciting?”
“From my perspective, it’s not so much about the structure or booth design…when answering the question, what’s new and exciting on the show floor. But rather, more companies that are focusing on engagement and experiential in their booth space. Neither is brand new, but we do see more and more exhibitors wanting to create more outside the box experiences…even in smaller spaces. It’s not enough to just show up with a pretty booth design…you need to create the interest, draw them in, and engage…so that they leave with a wonderful memory of how your brand made them feel.”
Formerly the National Trade Show Alliance, the “Federation” was founded as a result of the pandemic with a mission to connect the industry’s workforce in order to advocate, support and develop the Live Events industry.
Dave Sterne. Founder & CEO. The Inside Track.
“Industry designers have asked for some alternatives to plank rollable vinyl, so The Inside Track has added our new elegant line as a stock offering. These 7 eye catching designs are available exclusively to exhibit builders, and include Herringbone, white marble and a colorful coin pattern, which can communicate a variety of experiential themes. Seamless texture maps for these and other styles are on their website, which makes dropping them into your rendering a breeze.“
A final observation: The mood on the show floor was upbeat and positive, with myriad companies stating they are busier now than before the pandemic. Challenges abound, but business is boomi