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Global Industry Events Canceled

Trade Shows, Conferences, and Expos Hardest Hit

By Jason Jourdan


Throughout the ‘year that wasn’t,’ one event after another fired out cancelation or postponement emails on a seemingly weekly basis. Event professionals watched the global $235 billion conference industry crumble before their eyes as everything from international conferences to local insurance agent meetings was canceled or shifted to online.


The Global Gaming Expo (G2E), the largest gaming industry convention, was canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19 and plans to reconvene in the fall of 2021.


Toy Fair New York canceled for 2021 with the Toy Association exploring options for an interim event in May or possibly a smaller show later in the year in Dallas.


CES, the largest trade show in North America, is hosting its annual show online for 2021. The Consumer Technology Association is planning a return to a physical exhibition in January 2022.


The Caribbean Travel Marketplace, an international showcase for hospitality and tourism professionals, will not be held for the first time in nearly 40 years. Instead, organizers are taking the event online from May 11-14, 2021.


Initially, Comic-Con International: San Diego bailed on its 2021 date. Now the premier geekfest is looking at an alternate over Thanksgiving weekend!


The outlook for 2021 continues to hold promise as more encouraging signs for the trade show industry emerge with the Spring flowers.


The upcoming World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has announced ‘Uniting the World for Recovery’ as its annual Global Summit theme. The WTTC is hosting one of the first live events in the global travel and tourism sector on April 25-27 in Cancun, Mexico. 



Carnival Corporation and Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. will also partner with the WTTC for the 2021 Global Scientific Summit on COVID-19. This live virtual forum is accessible to the public and will launch on Thursday, April 15, 2021, from 10 am to 1:30 pm.


It’s a certainty 2020 will be remembered as the year that redefined the exhibition industry. Safety concerns and the rise of virtual events have dramatically changed the landscape moving into 2021.


Industry polling shows multiple signs pointing toward a strong recovery. Many governments like Germany, Singapore, and Australia are increasing funding and reclassifying trade shows from other mass has written about how business events are still the most relevant marketing channel for small and medium enterprises. Buyers and sellers worldwide will need to meet in person to re-connect and re-charge their business relationships.


Even with vaccine deployment underway, event professionals will need to continue innovating to keep their conference brands alive until attendees can safely return to live shows. Event organizers will get creative with hybrid events and new safety measures.


The ability to provide alternate experiences requires more significant investments in technology. As the pandemic has placed virtual conference tech in the spotlight, many providers are scrambling to increase their online services' capabilities to more closely match the experience of in-person events. Surveys show 53% of event professionals are comfortable with virtual event tech and a growing number are willing to make significant investments in technology to enhance their attendees' experience. The biggest challenge remains the inability of most platforms to match live engagement.


Moving forward, investments in event tech infrastructure will offer attendees options to prioritize their conference goals. A mixture of live and online events as alternatives to crowded and lengthy keynotes will ease limited time and audience proximity concerns. Dodgey convention wi-fi will be relegated to the past as exhibitors will place a much higher premium on high-speed internet connectivity!


In addition to outdoor options and virtual experiences, event planners will glocalize their global shows by seeking non-traditional venues and locations to increase engagement and reduce risk. Incorporating local and cultural events gives companies access to a broader audience among different cultures while providing a boost to host cities' economies.


Virtual events and hybrid conventions will drive the recovery of the trade show industry and demonstrate local events' ability to impact the global market. Savvy event coordinators will adopt the most current COVID protocols to ensure the safe return of physical conferences.


Virtual events and hybrid conventions will drive the recovery of the trade show industry and demonstrate local events' ability to impact the global market. Savvy event coordinators will adopt the most current COVID protocols to ensure the safe return of physical conferences. A key component in their travel planning for their attendees is the recommendation of international travel medical insurance coverage. Point Comfort® provides convention-goers with benefits for a range of contingencies, including:

  • COVID-19 Medical Expense Coverage up to Maximum Benefit
  • Emergency Medical Evacuation and Repatriation
  • Emergency Medical Reunion
  • Return of Minor Child
  • Local Burial or Cremation

The global conference industry recovery begins with the safety of its attendees. Point Comfort® international travel medical insurance offers the right coverage for a return to in-person events!  

 

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