As the Covid-19 shutdown continues to adversely affect the exhibition industry, GRS Research & Strategy has released a report, The Voice of the Industry, examining the view of trade show professionals.
The report asked those surveyed to comment on the current state of their business and events, what they perceive to be some of the most critical issues they face and what place digital events might hold in the industry going forward.
When asked about the current state of affairs, 89% of respondents said that they have moved or cancelled at least one event due to the coronavirus pandemic.
When it came to some of the issues that might affect the industry as it starts return to business, visitors’ willingness and ability to travel topped the list, followed by lack of revenue/cash flow and the issues that might arise from events struggling finding space on the calendar for the remainder of 2020 and into 2021.
In terms of threats that the industry may face in the coming months, 41.6% of respondents cited exhibitors’ trade show budgets as an area of concern, as the regular cycle of annual and biennial shows has been disrupted. Travel restrictions for buyers and exhibitors were once again reported as a major threat to the industry.
When it came to digital events, 65.2% of event organisers have already offered workshops and webinars (or plan to do it within the next 6 months). The report found that 43.6% plan to offer matchmaking solutions, which is considered to be the initiative that more than others will remain post-emergency, according to 87% of respondents who are investing in this direction.
Looking to the recovery of the industry, most respondents predicted that it would take one edition of an event before it could return to pre-COVID-19 levels of attendance, but at least two before achieving pre-COVID-19 revenue.
When it came to industry support, 71.6% of those surveyed said that the industry needs government and public administration assistance, followed by greater openness to digitalisation and technology and co-operation between events (i.e. working together to great functional calendars for the remainder of the year).
The full report can be accessed on the Expo Network website.