Navigating Through the Changes Impacting the Industry

It’s an understatement to say COVID-19 has changed how the world operates. It will leave long-lasting impacts on the future of doing business and, with information changing daily (sometimes hourly), navigating what’s relevant is challenging.

That said, the live events industry is no stranger to change and will meet today’s hurdles with a wide array of innovation and collaboration. GES is closely monitoring updates on safety and social distancing measures as well as working with industry partners and experts to reinvent the way trade shows and live events operate in the ‘new norm.’
 


 

Some actions we are taking to support our industry include:

  • Making safety a key priority for everyone. It will require the development of new standards, protocols and best practices to increase the safety of all event attendees, put them at ease and make them feel comfortable attending large events. As a starting point, we are collaborating with our clients and participating in industry symposiums on post COVID-19 safety protocols.
     
  • Compiling a cross-functional team of experts around Safety, Floor Design, Operations, Exhibiting, Customer Service, and Strategy to rethink how we approach live events and the changing attendee expectations and emotional drivers. Our goal is to REfocus, REinvent, and REconnect our industry.  In an upcoming blog series, we will be updating you on our thoughts around how to deliver contactless exhibitor services.
     
  • Collaborating with our clients to support near-term events, trade shows and exhibit experiences while addressing changing needs, physical distancing concerns, and working with the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) on new safety accreditation measures. Additionally, designing new concepts on what our floor plans, exhibits, signage and traffic flow will look like in the future.
     
  • Gaining additional insight by surveying our clients on what it will take to bring our industry back on its feet.  More information to follow as we release the results of our surveys.
     
  • Working with UFI (The Global Assoc. of the Exhibition Industry) and AIPC (International Assoc. of Convention Centres) on the upcoming Safety Plan for reopening the global exhibitions industry. The plan was recently released and addresses guidelines for how future shows may open to the public while maintaining safety and physical distancing standards.
     
  • Supporting #GoLiveTogether, a coalition geared towards amplifying support for the live events industry representing more than 4,000 companies with operations in the U.S. and 112 other countries.  The goal of #GoLiveTogether is to ensure the voices and concerns of the live events industry are addressed in local, state, and federal recovery funding related to COVID-19. Our strategy at GES is to join with other firms in our industry so we collectively have a voice to help secure additional government assistance and to help speed Recovery.
     
  • Learning from related industries such as attractions, hospitality, retail and restaurants as they prepare to reopen. For example, Shanghai Disneyland reopened recently with reduced capacities and social distancing in all queues, and MGM Resorts in Las Vegas has released their Safety Plan as they plan to reopen.  All of which will have implications on the live events industry. 

Understanding the changes and new information being released will help all of us REinvent the live events industry to foster connections, while still maintaining the safety of our participants. Stay tuned as we continue to rally our efforts and REfocus on what’s important for show organizers, exhibitors, and attendees as the world looks to REconnect post COVID-19.

About the Author

Wendy  Gibson

Wendy is an accomplished leader with 25 years of experience leading marketing for fast-paced, high-growth companies. She’s passionate about global brand and marketing strategies and has an unwavering focus on voice of the customer. As Chief Marketing Officer, Wendy manages a global team including branding, digital marketing, demand generation, lead generation, line-of-business marketing, corporate marketing, social and digital strategies, client services and exhibitor services.

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