June 03, 2020
By Lauren Allison

It’s an interesting time to be celebrating Global Exhibitions Day and reflecting on why it is vital for the industry. Personally, I love exhibitions – specifically the Cvent CONNECT Trade Show, which I have planned since 2016 and obsessively talk about like it’s my child. I know my entire team is passionate about them as well.

Celebrating Global Exhibitions Day Virtually

Just like Global Meetings Industry Day, this year, Global Exhibitions Day will be celebrated virtually. Along with so many other industry events, including Cvent CONNECT, virtual is the new reality. In speaking to each member of the Cvent Meetings & Events Team the past few days, I know one thing is certain – we are all excited to meet again in person. But for now, we can sit back and think of all the great memories we have had at past exhibitions.

Between the helpful front desk clerk who gave you an expedited check-in after your early AM flight to Las Vegas, the banquet staff member who continued to bring you an endless stream of caffeine (I’m an iced coffee or Diet Coke fan myself), or the contractors who become your friends while building out your vision – they ALL play an essential role in the success of your exhibition. Thinking about the magnitude of the people who have a job to do whether directly or indirectly impacting your planning, really showcases why the theme of this year’s Global Exhibitions Day is so important: exhibitions are the key to rebuilding economies.

Exhibitions Are the Key to Rebuilding Economies

A direct benefit of an exhibition is the personalization and impact that cannot be replaced by a virtual interaction. As Gargi Goswami, Assistant Manager on the Meetings & Events Team says “you can visit a beach and feel the sand and water brushing across your feet, but you can’t replace that feeling by watching a video of the beach.” Whether it’s creating an interactive barista experience based on your planner personality, a celebrity photo opp (like VisitDallas bringing Linda Gray to Cvent CONNECT in 2019), or experiencing a cultural performance at a destination’s booth – these all offer lasting memories that you cherish long after the show wraps.

Exhibitions also fuel enormous job creation across the entire supplier ecosystem. From general contracting companies, printing & signage, swag and collateral, and rental furniture/decor all play a part in the creation of a successful exhibition. These companies become your teammates in the planning process and are your onsite superstars.

Exhibitions are also impacted by the airline and hotel industry. Most attendees need to travel to your show, and the majority need a place to stay for the duration. We all have our favorite hotels when we visit exhibition-heavy cities, which goes to show how much a great experience can impact your overall satisfaction when attending an industry event.

Bringing Health and Safety to the Forefront

As we move forward and out of this global pandemic, health and safety guidelines are going to be crucial in bringing exhibitions, and our industry, back. Working with your contractors to create new booth layouts, directional pathways to help with social distancing, and extending hours to try and even out the volume of attendees will have to be discussed and executed on. We all want our attendees to feel safe and want to travel, so it is going to be up to all of us to create a new normal. Pre-event marketing will also need to be revamped to ensure that we showcase what we’re doing to keep attendees safe. Now more than ever, overcommunication will be key.

Looking Forward with Renewed Excitement

Lucky for us, the world we live in now allows us to take the events we crave online, whether it’s a virtual board meeting or a virtual bachelorette party. Seeing each other screen-to-screen instead of face-to-face reminds me that the need for interaction is still a driving factor in our lives. We are all navigating this new frontier together, and I can’t wait to be able to meet again in person. Until then, I’m going to spend the rest of this Global Exhibitions Day reminiscing on all the great memories I have had at exhibitions and planning for the future. If I know one thing about the hospitality industry, it’s that when we come out of this pandemic, creative ideas and unique interactions will be front and center for each exhibition.

Find out more about Global Exhibitions Day.

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Lauren Allison

As the daughter of a Navy CDR, whose career afforded our family a unique opportunity to live overseas, my unique upbringing started an early love for travel, experiencing new cultures and ultimately bringing people together. My passion for travel was complemented by a new love of events and technology when I joined Cvent after graduation from the University of South Carolina. In my current role as Event Lead for Cvent's Meetings & Events Team, I’m able to wed my passions together by producing memorable marquee programs including international incentive programs, high-end luxury events, and a very successful large trade show as part of Cvent’s annual conference.
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