Countless businesses rely on trade shows to boost awareness and engagement. And in a year when these events have only continued to evolve, it’s more important than ever to have an understanding of what makes them a success. If you’re looking for guidance when it comes to hosting or attending trade shows in 2021, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Talk with Your Customers

As we’ve all learned this past year, trade shows are an integral part of business. While they might look a bit different from past years, attendees will continue to be the guiding force when it comes to planning. 

The key to a successful trade show is ensuring customers are comfortable. Surveying present and future guests can help companies understand how they feel about in-person versus virtual or hybrid trade shows. Attendees are a great resource to lean on for input and ideas. They can even help spark a bit of creativity when it comes to planning your event. 

Leverage the Value of Convenience

When it comes to minimizing potential risks at in-person events, less really is more. Many guests will prefer to attend events where they can be as efficient as possible and maximize their time meeting with the necessary buyers and industry professionals. This could mean hosting fewer but broader cross-industry trade shows to help limit the number of events guests would need to attend.

Increasing the convenience factor of in-person events not only is beneficial to the guests and companies participating, but it also increases the safety of everyone. By following proper health guidelines, you can provide buyers and attendees peace of mind during your trade show. 

If You’re Going to Cancel or Postpone, Do It Early

When you’re working with others’ schedules, it’s courteous to give a few weeks notice before postponing or cancelling. Providing sufficient time helps guests and businesses adjust in the event of any changes. If your company is unable to notify guests well in advance, make sure you can provide reasoning as well as accommodations if necessary.  

Offer Flexible Terms

As guests continue to adjust to in-person events, give them a way out if they are no longer comfortable with attending. Offering refunds, complete or partial, is a wonderful way to show that your company values its guests. Allowing attendees to join in virtually is another great option if you’re looking to accommodate a range of audiences. 

Make Education a Value-Add

Engaging remote and virtual guests can be more challenging than working with a live audience. However, webinars and other education-based experiences can help engage remote and virtual guests. 

If your company already has speakers or panelists scheduled, webinars and online presentations can be easily adapted for an in-person and virtual audience. Using reliable microphones and recording equipment will ensure that all audiences enjoy the same quality experience. While planning, meet with your technical specialist team often to make sure the event runs smoothly.