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Trade Shows during Uncertain Times – The Show Must Go On

The old adage, "the show must go on," rings truer than ever in these uncertain times in our industry. Trade shows remain indispensable for businesses, offering unparalleled opportunities for networking, showcasing products, and forging partnerships. However, the landscape has undeniably shifted, requiring companies to adapt and strategize smartly to mitigate risks while maximizing the benefits of participation. As countries grapple with major political elections and the world navigates socio-economic strife, businesses find themselves at a crossroads. How can you insulate your company from risk while still embracing the vital avenue of trade shows for exposure and growth?


Understand the Global Landscape and Its Impact on Trade Shows

To develop a strategy of resilience, you must first understand the global landscape. Political elections in numerous countries inject an added layer of unpredictability into the global business environment. Shifting policies, regulatory changes, and geopolitical tensions can directly impact trade and commerce. And as many industries are still grappling with the socio-economic challenges stemming from the pandemic, the climate crisis, and economic downturns, navigating these turbulent waters demands agility and foresight.


Mitigating Risks


It is impossible to completely eliminate risk, but you can significantly reduce risk impact by taking the following steps:


Diversify: Instead of relying solely on one supplier, develop relationships with backup suppliers, for everything from trade show materials to manufacturing, to reduce the likelihood of being caught by surprise when something goes wrong.


Be Flexible: Venues change. Cancellations happen. Prices fluctuate. Planning in advance for potential unknowns can ensure a smoother experience.


Manage Risk: Conduct a thorough risk assessment that encompasses political, economic, social, and environmental factors. Reassess contracts and cancellation policies.


Remain Informed: Pay attention to global and regional developments that might have an impact on your business, industry, or target markets.  


Virtual Alternatives: Virtual platforms can complement your trade show or replace it if necessary. Prepare for disruptions by developing virtual material.


Leveraging Trade Show Opportunities


The trade show industry has been buffeted about for the past several years. From the pandemic and resulting supply chain issues to rising costs associated with conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza, disruption has become common. Despite the uncertainties, trade shows present abundant opportunities for businesses that are willing to adapt and innovate. The show must go on, albeit with a heightened awareness of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.


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