Despite being hit by Omicron, trade show organizers are still optimistic

“When the world stops, you keep going.” This slogan will welcome tens of thousands of construction industry contractors, dealers and distributors, each of whom paid up to $600 to participate Concrete world The trade show in Las Vegas this month-unless the Omicron variant of the coronavirus forces it to be cancelled at the last minute.

In the new year, how many corporate exhibitions can continue on their own has become a question again. Just after months of restrictions, when corporate executives finally started using the conference lanyard again, the rapid spread of Covid-19 pressure triggered another round of delays.

At the ExCeL Educational Technology Expo in East London bed, Gambling events ice And the Optical Fair 100% optical -All of these are supposed to be events held in their respective fields at the beginning of this year-all have been postponed.

At the same time, some exhibitors have withdrawn from the exhibition that is still being held. Amazon, Meta, and Twitter are one of several technology groups that have exited the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) to show up in person. Although the organizers are determined to advance the event, the event will begin this week and will also be held in Las Vegas. Vegas.

After experiencing previous restrictions and cancellations caused by the coronavirus, the battle-tested executives behind some of the world’s largest trade shows are trying to get their companies to take advantage of the pandemic.

“In fact, for the past two years, we have arranged, rescheduled, negotiated, and renegotiated every three months,” said Stephen Carter, CEO of Informa, the world’s largest trade show organizer.

“This is very demanding on our team, as well as on our relationship with venue partners and contractors.”

Even so, he added: “Customers are still very willing to participate-as long as they have the ability to participate.”

Carter was so confident in its prospects that he identified the event as one of Informa’s priority expansion areas, together with academic publishing.

This month, FTSE 100 media company layout Planned disposal A portfolio of data and consulting assets and niche publications estimated to be worth at least £1.7 billion, and redeploy most of the funds into its active business.

Investors remain cautious. Informa’s share price has fallen by nearly 40% from the beginning of 2020, while GL Events, which is listed in Paris, has fallen by 25% during the same period, and Emerald Holding, which is listed in New York, has fallen by 62%.

However, before the emergence of Omicron, there were encouraging signs in the industry Desperate representative I really want to come back.

According to data from the Exhibition Industry Research Center (CEIR), the cancellation rate of US business-to-business exhibitions has increased from 98% in the second half of 2020 to 19% in the third quarter of 2021.

Despite the slow start of the year and persistent concerns about the coronavirus, CEIR estimates that 15.3 million people in the United States will participate in such events in 2021—more than double the previous year, although less than half of the pre-pandemic level.

“The backlash shows that the model is strong,” said Paul Thandi, the owner of the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, UK and chief executive officer of NEC Group (Paul Thandi). However, he added that due to the popularity of Omicron, “exhibitors have become more risk-averse”.

“They are cautious about spending thousands of dollars on booths, personnel costs and other ancillary facilities,” he said.

Frankfurt Book Fair. Trade shows are forced to spend more on Covid-related measures, such as disinfection and social distancing © Arne Dedert/AFP/Getty

The activities originally scheduled for the New Year at NEC have been rescheduled to include Lamma Island, an agricultural machinery exhibition that is popular with farmers.

Despite the widespread cancellations, few large-scale event organizers have encountered serious financial difficulties so far, partly because their parent companies are interested in other areas that have not been severely hit by the pandemic.

The one exception is Paris-based Comexposium, which has been in the “guarantee program” for most of the past year, even though it quit This is October after shareholders injected 110 million euros into the business.

Other organizers sought cash from shareholders at the beginning of the pandemic to help them tide over the difficulties.information Raised £1 billion In last year’s placement, it was equivalent to about 20% of its equity.

Vacation plans and other forms of government support have always been a lifeline. In cases where the authorities impose restrictions to prevent the incident from proceeding, insurance is also essential, although sometimes coverage is limited.

Insurance expenses worth about 65 million pounds helped Hyve, another London-listed event organizer, to return to profitability in the year ending September.

Event industry consultant Dan Assor said that because exhibitors usually pay in advance, the cash flow pressure on organizers is not as great as originally possible.

He added that, in some respects, the most severely affected are the subcontractors-usually small companies that provide equipment ranging from lighting equipment to registration desks and logistical support.

“The supply chain has been destroyed,” Assor said. “A lot of freelancers have disappeared.”

Like other industries affected by the coronavirus, executives expect some of the changes to be lasting.

Hyve CEO Mark Shashoua (Mark Shashoua) said that he expects small trade shows to be eliminated. He said that even before the pandemic, there was “gravity” in the biggest event in any given industry-this trend is just that the pandemic has accelerated.

“If the incident and the industry are in a dominant position before Covid, then it will recover very quickly,” he said. “If it’s a second or third line performance, it won’t resume.”

Sarah Simon, an analyst at Berenberg, predicts that fragmented industries will consolidate. “In the short term, there will be ongoing chaos in certain markets, and I think this will drive away more weak people,” she said. “There are a lot of medium-sized assets that may arouse people’s interest.”

The bar chart of US indicators, reset to 100 in 2019, shows how the pandemic has caused severe damage to the exhibition industry

Analysts said that possible sellers may include “Daily Mail” and General Trust, in addition to having the UK’s largest-selling daily newspaper, but also has an event business.

Its investment portfolio includes ADIPEC, an energy industry exhibition hosted by Abu Dhabi National Petroleum Corporation. DMGT recently Privatization Lord Rothermere, he is said to be focusing on the company’s publishing assets.

Companies such as Informa are also working to make fuller use of the data generated by such incidents. They have long encouraged representatives to use professional applications, but recent health and safety requirements have mandated online registration in some cases. Organizers are trying to sell more related digital services to participants, such as commissioned matching and post-mortem analysis.

However, unlike conferences, or at least onstage discussions that support them, trade shows cannot easily be reproduced online. It is difficult to feel the fabrics like at the Pure London fashion show, and it is also difficult to measure the prospects of emerging mobile technologies remotely like at MWC Barcelona.

“You can’t copy face to face,” Asor said, adding that since the Great London Exhibition in 1851, these exhibitions have promoted commercial development.

Chris Skeith, the chief executive of the British Association of Event Organizers, said that the introduction is still simple and straightforward. “The clue is in the name,” he said. “They generate trade.”

“You can get the pulse of everything that is happening in your industry-all your competitors, customers, and suppliers are in one place at a time. This is a very effective way of doing business.”

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *