Coronavirus is playing havoc with millions of people’s lives across the world, and I don’t need to tell you about the damage wreaked in the events industry.

But if event supply businesses are hurting now as they are undoubtedly are, exhibitors and organisers are feeling the pain too.

That pain may not have been as immediate as that experienced by suppliers, but it’s not far behind.

However, as many exhibitors have already expressed on television and radio, their sales figures will have dangerous holes that need filling.

One of, and I hesitate to use the word positive, things for the events industry these past few weeks, has been media coverage focusing on the importance of exhibitions for building sales.

Numerous radio and television interviews with business owners I’ve seen or heard, have highlighted “we use and rely on trade shows to build sales leads and orders.”

If you ever needed validation about the importance of exhibitions and events, look no further than these quotes.

So how do you go about promoting your business in times like these?

First, you keep on marketing even though the temptation when a crisis hits is to stop everything.

However, doing that is likely to hurt your business later in the year.

If money is an issue due to cashflow, low-cost routes to market like email and your website pages now come into their own.

Second, don’t try to minimise the seriousness of what’s happening.

Don't talk things up in the mistaken belief that this isn't as serious as described or that it will all be over very soon.

The situation is dire, and none of us knows how long restriction measures will be necessary.

However, there is still room for realistic positivity among event suppliers.

Postponed events will take place, and those events now have added significance for your clients.

Your clients need those events to work commercially to help replace lost revenue.

That will also be true for visitors to exhibitions and conferences.

Their businesses have received a right walloping too. There are holes to be filled in balance sheets the world over.

It is indeed an interconnected world in which we live.

Keeping in regular contact with your clients is vital. Let them know you will be ready to pick things up when it’s the right time to do so.

Switch marketing you might have been planning around events in the first half of this year to targeting autumn events.

Use the imposed “free time” to update and refresh marketing materials and web pages.

Get your list maintenance done.

Update your LinkedIn profile and other social media tweaks.

These are things that don’t cost money, but the improvements you make now will be beneficial when things start moving again.

When that happens, and I admit that it seems a long way away right now, there will be massive pressure on suppliers to handle the combination of postponed and confirmed jobs.

That's a much more positive problem to work on solving.

Sincerely, I wish you, your families and colleagues good health until then.

David O’Beirne
www.linkedin.com/in/davidjobeirne
The Exhibition Agency Ltd
63 Vera Avenue, London N21 1RJ  
T. 0203 633 4665
M. 07858 374 051
www.exhibitorsonly.biz
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Exhibitors Only

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The views and opinions expressed in these blogs are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ESSA, its members, board or staff. Our members represent a broad range of views within the event industry, and we have provided this section of the website for their opinions to be openly heard and discussed.

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