A friend who works in the events industry told me about a survey run by a supplier on LinkedIn.

The survey asked exhibitors to express their sentiments about returning to events in the Autumn of 2020.

Predictably, the result of the survey was a resounding “unlikely.”

 The result added to the doom and gloom already felt by many who work in the sector.

Contrast that approach with the one taken by the organisers of World Travel Market.

I won’t have to explain anything if you click on this link and watch their video.

What a difference.

The WTM stance is positive. More importantly, it builds the one thing exhibitors, and visitors need right now, and that’s confidence.

Confidence that you can exhibit or visit a trade show and be safe while you conduct business.

In your marketing, don’t add to the doom, gloom and uncertainty that’s hanging over so many.

Heck, if you can go to a supermarket or a pub, you can certainly attend a trade show.

In fact, at a trade show, you will probably be safer.

Are you referring to the All Secure Standard document in your marketing?

It would help if you were; it’s the template that explains in detail how safe event organising and participation is going to happen.

I’m using extracts in my email marketing, in links within blogs and social media posts. Wherever possible, I’m showing that exhibiting can still happen and be profitable as well as a low risk to health. 


Last week, Londoners were encouraged to become tourists in their city.

Visitors from overseas are absent from the Big Smoke in the hundreds of thousands.

Attractions usually packed are empty. Therefore, now is the very best time to do things and visit attractions you wouldn’t go near any other summer because of the crowds.

Open-top bus tours, museums, the London Eye are all there for the taking.

No crowds, no hassle. It’s all so un-London.

So when would-be exhibitors point out that attendances to trade shows will be lower; agree with them.

Attendances will, without doubt, be lower when events reopen, but the people who attend will be serious buyers.

And they too will have more time and space to explore what’s on show.

Plus; they might also want to fit in an uncluttered visit to Stratford-on-Avon, The Tower of London or Old Trafford during their trip.

All, of course, depending on where their event is taking place. 

So stand teams should be smaller. Maybe stands will be too.

These reductions in stand space and personnel help make exhibiting cost-effective when the attendance is lower.

Point that out to fence-sitting businesses who are desperate for reasons to justify event attendance.

“Don’t be alarmed when the time comes”

The Blues Brothers is one of my all-time favourite films.

Not only is it funny but it has some great music and songs running throughout.

One of my favourites is “The Old Landmark.”

It has James Brown leading the singing with the fabulous gospel choir of the Rev. James Cleveland.

It’s a toe-tapper of the highest order, and James Brown opens with the words “don’t be alarmed

when the time comes.”

Although JB and the choir are singing about a different message entirely, my take would be to apply this “don’t be alarmed” thinking to your marketing right now.

Spread some confidence whenever and wherever you can. Provide facts that support your reasoning.

Also, I’m not suggesting saying anything untrue or not telling the whole story.

This approach is not about rose-tinted specs but hard-nosed business.

Don’t be alarmed when the time comes but don’t scare or dispirit anyone else either.

Collectively, we all have to speak with the same positive and reasoned voice.

Promote the All Secure Standard. Read it and use it.

Above all, we need more organisers to be as positive and informative as those at WTM.

When you find organisers like them, share their messaging.

It’s in everyone’s interest to do so.

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.

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