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As we near a month of self-quarantine orders in the majority of states, many exhibitors are understandably nervous about their next trade show.  Currently, there are dozens of large annual trade shows that have cancelled or postponed until the fall.  Many exhibit houses have sent out messaging that they’ve closed up shop, adding to the anxiety and frustration many exhibitors are already feeling as a result of living through a global pandemic.  We understand how frightening this situation can feel- we’re living in unprecedented circumstances, certainly none that most generations have seen.  However, there’s a path forward for exhibitors that can help you to manage your trade show cancellations and postponements without adding to your stress further:

Call Your Account Executive About Your Postponed or Cancelled Trade Show

The moment you find out a trade show has cancelled or postponed, call your Account Executive.  This will alert your exhibit house that they may need to stop or delay their production schedule.  It is likely that your Account Executive will have a process they must follow in order to take the very best care of you.  This could include arranging for storage of an owned trade show display, discussion with production about fitting you in on a likely crowded schedule later in the year, and more. Your Account Executive will work with you to ensure you’re taken care of through this process.

call your trade show exhibit customers

Work Ahead on New Trade Show Dates as They’re Announced

Many of the annual shows have had to scramble to find dates for their trade show, sometimes finding out that they’ve had to change cities.  You may think that you’ve gained an extra eight months to not worry about your trade show exhibit, but the reality is that you may be competing with hundreds of other exhibitors for production time.  The autumn months are the height of the trade show season and may be over-crowded if you wait too long.  Many exhibit houses are going to be doubling and tripling their lines in order to produce their clients’ exhibits on time but you’ll want to ensure you’re on the schedule.

trade show budget calendar

Further complicating things may be a change in cities.  Shipping routes will need to be changed and manufacturing may be done in one facility versus another.  All of this requires time to work out and it behooves any exhibitor to start this process early so their next trade show is a success.

Determine if Your Exhibit Design Needs Will Change at Your Next Trade Show

For many businesses affected by these shelter in place orders, cash flow has not been the same as it was previously.  Budgets can change and many shows are allowing exhibitors to downgrade to smaller footprints on the show floor if they so desire.  This can significantly change how you’ll be presenting as well.  By determining these changes early, you’ll be able to successfully work ahead on your next trade show.  Industries hit hard by our current uncertainty will rebound, but it may take time for individual businesses to get there.  Your exhibit house partner will understand and work with you to adjust designs and custom builds to successfully exhibit at your next trade show.

trade show booth rental planning

Repurpose Your Trade Show Swag

Many exhibitors bring swag to their shows that is time sensitive or announces new products/ specials.  In another eight months, this may no longer be relevant at an industry trade show.  Instead of losing any benefits of the swag, repurpose it.  Send these items to your customers, prospects and leads.  Make use of the products you purchased so you can retain the intended benefits. As your sales team is likely keeping in close contact with these customers, prospects and leads, they can mention they’re sending them some items.

trade show swag

We’re all living through something completely unprecedented in modern times.  Therefore, we’re all adapting as the situation changes.  Let your exhibit house partners help you through the process of managing trade show cancellations and postponements. As some exhibit houses have shut down near completely, many are still functioning with staff to help you through this period of uncertainty who can help you prepare for your next successful trade show.

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