The future holds a good deal of unpredictability.
Still, as the world finally enters a post-pandemic environment and live events bounce back, we wonder how we will move forward.
Although trade shows experienced a drought in the last couple of years, professionals from all event industry sectors remain adamant about the importance of why we still need them today. But what makes trade shows a necessity even after we have gone virtual? For event marketers, trade shows are an essential part of the job. They provide abundant opportunities for brands and consumers to interact face to face in a physically demanding environment. Trade shows allow companies to creatively and uniquely promote their latest products and services to their target audience, actively searching for them.
Today, this is still the case, but as virtual streaming spewed into the event industry, the shift changed how we experience trade shows. The latest trend has even made some believe that it can replace live experiences. Will trade shows return to their former form, or will virtual trump live trade shows? Some event professionals advocate that virtual will not succeed as a natural alternative or extension for trade shows. FGPG investigated how trade shows are evolving and shares insight on the latest trends professionals are integrating into their strategies in 2022 and beyond.
1. Immersive Technology for Trade Show Booth Design is the Future
The industry is very well versed in the technological movement we are currently facing around the world. Technology’s integration into society exploded during the shift to remote work and will inevitably touch every aspect of your event strategy. The latest tech we have seen implemented in interactive experiences is Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and immersive theatrical experiences through 3D simulations, interactive screens, pre-recorded options, and more. We are beyond having to imagine a future in which consumers can immerse themselves in a gaming experience booth. With technology advancing rapidly, limiting trade shows to only virtual would not allow brands to execute their trade shows fully.
2. Manufacturing Trade Shows Through Experimentation & Innovation is Key
Technology and experimentation go hand in hand as brands continue to push the envelope within the trade show industry. Like in every aspect of the tech industry, now is the time to experiment. The last couple of years has forced every event professional to adapt to various conditions and challenges. As we enter a post-pandemic environment and trade shows make a comeback, finding a rhythm will require experimentation in multiple proportions. By bringing it back to the basics, testing your creativity will be what sets your brand apart in the long run.
Although there may be fewer large-scale trade shows, the big shows that do take place will be extensively experiential and will bridge the gap between business and culture. It’s essential that the industry continues to grow and evolve through experiential innovation – both in how we curate our experiences and by implementing the full potential of the latest technology. Latimer, the pandemic forced the industry to take a deep breath to reevaluate itself as an industry and triggered innovation at a pace we’ve never seen before. Virtual, hybrid, and live-streaming are just a few of the latest trends to rise from the pandemic.
3. Hybrid Events Trade Shows Are the “New Norm”
Many trade show events went the hybrid route in response to the pandemic and will continue due to their popularity and global success. Studies done by the Event Outlook Report revealed that 97% of the event markets see drastic growth in hybrid events, allowing a balance between both the in-person and virtual trade show experiences. Creating a hybrid experience lets exhibitors be more creative than traditional banners, logos, and signs that usually overwhelm attendees with promotional pieces. Including new branding elements like a 3D virtual lobby and virtual hallway serves as an alternative to promote product displays and market your products to a global audience.
4. In-Person Trade Shows Are in Demand
More than ever before, attendees may be more mindful about what trade shows and live experiences they want to attend in today’s climate. For brands, it’s vital to be aware of the reasoning behind attendees caring more about how they spend their time and the value they receive from the trade show. Finding the right mixture of connection and professionalism will be vital in creating a more personalized experience for attendees. Brendan Brown, vice president of strategy for event production company George P. Johnson Experience Marketing, thinks that zeroing in on a trade show’s true purpose will help producers draw audiences. “The important thing to remember is the desire, and need for face-to-face connection hasn’t changed. In fact, I’d argue the complexities and challenges all industries face these days demand it”.
5. Latest Digital Options Will Reach New Audiences
Today’s palette of production, live-streaming, and digital innovation has risen in popularity. The advantage to this is the opportunity to now reach attendees that are around the world that are unable to attend, thus, vastly increasing the brand’s reach and awareness. For instance, live-streaming is becoming the future of the trade shows industry because it delivers real-time interaction and engagement for an elevated audience experience. If attendees were having second thoughts about attending, live-streaming would give them the motivation to return, but for a future live event instead.
AI is another powerful tool that propels brands into the next age of the digital movement in the trade show industry. Artificial Intelligence can help deliver relevant content to the right people. One example of AI integration is “chatbot & digital translation.” The chatbot allows attendees to get relevant information by interpreting words given by the user. In contrast, the voice translations enable the attendee to listen to your trade show content in their language. Innovation pushes out of the pandemic and into new heights we never imagined before.
The latest trade show trends have been challenging to keep up with as they are constantly changing, but going back to the basics will always position brands up for the future of trade shows with new tools and plans. Allow your brand to stand out from the crowd. Collaborate with FGPG for a strong and innovative comeback in 2022, and prepare for the next phase of trade shows.