Reading about history and terrible events that happened beyond your lifetime is not painful, because it didn’t happen to you.

You weren’t there.

However, it’s a very different experience when you are caught up in one of those historical events as is happening now to members of this association.

In one very fell swoop, COVID-19 put a wrecking ball through an entire industry and the livelihoods of thousands.

As a result, we are all awaiting news of when our industry can start functioning again.

The normality of January now seems a very long time past.

It’s said that every crisis creates opportunity, and virtual events are grasping this one strongly.

They offer business communities an excellent means of gathering information without travel and of course, without the risk of infection.

But, they will not replace live events and the vital face to face meeting and networking opportunities only they can deliver. 

Virtual events are not the only “opportunity” aspect of the current crisis.

Pollution levels have dropped dramatically during the lockdowns enforced in many countries.

The environmental benefits of the pandemic are not lost on groups keen to improve and repair our damaged planet.    

Many suppliers will know that before the pandemic, there was already a much bigger focus on sustainability policies from would-be clients.

In the future, expect this focus to grow considerably. 

It will be vital for your business to demonstrate the measures taken and continue to make to be a sustainable business. One that equally sustainability-focused clients can employ.

Materials, weight-reduction, waste-reduction, maintenance and processes are all areas in which tangible sustainability gains can be made.

Sharing components with “partner” companies will be seen to demonstrate a reduction in fossil-fuel miles rather than just savings on transport and staff costs.

Strategic alliances with like-minded business owners could be one of the new norms for event supply in the future.

Stand sizes will likely reduce when shows re-open.

Not all staff or visitors will want to work or attend shows where travel on public transport of some kind is required.

That will change in time, especially when drugs that successfully treat the virus are widely available.

Meantime, design products and plans around a modest re-start even for large-scale events. 

Working practices that, in the past, enabled shows to be built in record times will also need to change. 

Crowded and cluttered aisles during builds and breakdowns will not be tolerated while social distancing is required.

What is your plan to deal with and overcome this issue?

Short-term, tenancy times will need to reflect this slower build requirement - this too might be another COVID-19 opportunity in disguise.

Requests for more extended and less frenetic build periods have for some time been one of the big concerns for many ESSA members.

The route-plan to a re-start may well provide a solution to this issue.

Keeping staff and exhibitors safe now has an added dimension that organisers, venues and suppliers all have to address.

Being able to demonstrate how those plans will work will need to be written into policies.

If your company doesn’t have an amended safety policy, now would be a good time to think about those details.

As Piers Latimer, Managing Director of Reuters Events highlighted in a recent interview with The Drum;

”We are social beings, and while much business can be done remotely, doing business ‘on-site’ at an event is invaluable, as are face-to-face meetings for forging partnerships and business relationships.”

New realities keep springing-up in our lives all the time.

Some gain weight, some lose hair, some divorce, illness strikes others…life it seems is always springing something new on somebody.

The Coronavirus pandemic is a reality none would have chosen; it’s historically destructive on so many levels.

We can’t change the fact that’s it here, but we can change how we face up to the challenges it’s throwing at us.

I wish you safe and well and more positive times in the future.

 David O’Beirne
The Exhibition Agency Ltd
63 Vera Avenue, London N21 1RJ  
T. 0203 633 4665
M. 07858 374 051

Exhibitors Only

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.

Contact Us
119 High Street
Herts HP4 2DJ

Tel: 01442 285812