The Events and Trade Show industry is in shambles and the biggest trade show of the year just declared they are cancelling their event for this year. The national restaurant show is cancelled due to the “pandemic” and if you look at what is going on across our propane industry and the many other industries all the in-person events have been “blown away” at no fault of the trade shows and events industry. If we look at where we have been and where we are now, many physical venues and even many cities are cancelling or not favorable to in person events.
This is something that will be very interesting in how it impacts our industry. In recent surveys it seems that the numbers show that an increasing number would prefer virtual (68.7%) over in person events (22.8%).
Uncertain Times Lead to New Behaviors
Times are changing and uncertain times lead to new behaviors. 84% of those surveyed say they would try remote events with very high interest in remote learning. This is leading to growing demand for digital online training and online events rather than driving hours or even further travel including plane flights that many are glad to eliminate from their busy schedules.
Surveys are saying that business cards are “dead” and “contactless business cards” are the new thing. Digital trade show badges, contactless payments, and digital brochures accessed by a QR code are examples of incoming changes.
When it comes to propane trade show attendees, many attend trade shows and events for the educational training, to network and to see the latest in products and services. In the new era of digital online meetings and events it turns out that the educational training and new product learning both work very well while the networking portion is less effective. In these same events most vendors say that the most important aspect of these meetings is to gather leads which it turns out is very replaceable by digital marketing and digital tools.
What Events Must Do to Survive:
Add Value added services
Outsource work and reduce team size
Pay attention to the contracts
Build a year round content and education platform
Build a hybrid event model
Convert to regional and exclusive gatherings
Team up with online event platforms and venues
Jobs are going to be lost in the physical events industry while jobs will grow in the area of digital marketing, information sharing, training, and online year-long events. Ted Talks is a great example of a growing platform for information sharing that is successful and growing across all industries and countries.
Why Traditional Trade Shows Must Change
In person events will come back but they will never be the same. There will be changes needed as the numbers of attendees are estimated to be significantly smaller which will affect all aspects and industries involved such as hotels, restaurants, caterers. With half as many events and half as many attendees the vendors will significantly reduce their spend due to reduced return on investment and that means less money for the events, trade shows and every company associated with them. It means change or die.
Digitally Augmented Events are Here to Stay
There will be a downside impact to our industry as the networking opportunities will be fewer and will see lower attendance. Though there is upside opportunity that can have very nice sides to it.
The upside that most industries are excited about is the significantly lower travel costs, and the ability to get much more done now that travel time is significantly reduced. For propane marketers this includes becoming much more involved in digital online training (propaneuniversity.net) and attending weekly online training sessions (virtualpropaneexpo.com) and online trade shows like (virtualpropaneexpo.com).
For the vendor community this new world with fewer in person events is a great opportunity for them as well as they can take videos of themselves and their products and display their goods online 24×7. Many of the new crop of online events like (virtualpropaneexpo.com) provide a service of interviewing, recording, video creation, posting your interview onto Youtube and even sending it out to tens of thousands of propane delivery companies for you.Today’s new era of online digital training, connecting, learning, and transacting though different provides a gold mine of time and cost savings for a very busy and time constrained industry like ours. For more ideas on what online training, learning and an opportunity to connect with hundreds of vendors visit VirtualPropaneExpo.com. Learn how you can save money and time in today’s digital world.