What does the future, for the Exhibition Industry, look like post COVID-19?

Having just returned from EuroShop 2020, I was filled with new ideas, positive optimism and a strong sense of purpose on the way forward. Without doubt, this years largest retail/exhibition trade show displayed strong signs of deliberate and cognitive use of more sustainable and re-usable materials; gone are large curved, custom wooden bulkheads and walls. Aluminum is back in fashion; albeit in a far more modern and often in a pantone or clad version of its former self. Alternative substrates are in use in all forms and shapes; a compressed hard but lightweight felt, marble imitations and others. The use of large LED screen walls has replaced what would have been previously wood construction. Then COVID-19 hit the world. Pause moved very quickly to cancellations and accelerated even faster to short pay/short time, layoffs and potential bankruptcy for small operators.

The history of our industry goes all the way back to 1851; Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and the Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace. While each and everyone of us employed or who own businesses, in this incredible industry, hope and continue to work in the belief we will get back on our feet, there is a slight, unspoken acknowledgment it might not ever look the same as it did pre-COVID-19. Will exhibition and delegate applications to attend need to be accompanied by a medical certificate? Will hand sanitizer, forever,be a freebie in all delegate bags? And the biggest question of all, will flying hundreds of thousands of people all over the world for face to face meetings still be relevant and more importantly, safe?

In the next few months of working from home I will continue to explore these questions and hopefully with interaction from clients, friends and colleagues all over the world, albeit electronically, have some answers. In the meantime stay safe, wash your hands and DON’T TOUCH YOUR FACE. Easier said than done. 🙂

jane&paul wooden exhibition at EuroShop 2020