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    Are You Ready? Planning for In-Person Trade Shows and Events in 2022

    After a much longer hiatus than any of us could have planned, trade shows and in-person events for the building materials industry are back in 2022.

    To say that this news is exciting would be an absolute understatement. Our ER Marketing team has missed seeing all of you — and we know you’ve missed being out on the road, too.

    But planning for an event after such a long time away and the underlying threat of a global pandemic means taking more precautions and adding in extra steps that you might not have otherwise needed to do in the past — which is why we want to help you out. Here are a few tips to help you prepare to represent your company at trade shows and events this next year.

    Know Local and Global Travel Restrictions

    The first tip we want to share with you is to know all pertinent local and global travel restrictions. These guidelines really do vary from one locale to another — and change fairly often — so it is important to ensure you’re up-to-date on them right up until the day you arrive at the airport. We can all agree that changes post-pandemic are unreliable at best, which means being ready for anything during the travel process.

    Think About Touchpoints in Your Booth Experience

    Creating an interactive experience to delight trade show attendees is an excellent idea. However, you want to be mindful of potential “touchpoints” within your booth — i.e., spots where people are literally touching items like iPads, pens, samples, brochures, etc. Educate your team on proper sanitization measures and have a plan for keeping your space as germ-free as possible.

    Have a Vaccine or Testing Protocol

    We know that there’s no subject quite as touchy for some as COVID vaccinations. However, part of attending trade shows this next year includes understanding that the topic will come up. In fact, it is almost better to prepare your employees for it now to keep them from running into surprises when they attend a trade show. How should you do this? Have a firm policy for those attending that they either have to be fully vaccinated or engage in a COVID-19 test before and after the event. Each venue will have its own rules, too. This means it is important to explore the topic and compare it to your company’s current policies before deciding to attend.

    Understand Any Contract Guidelines for Events

    Event venues and trade show promoters took a big hit during COVID-19. To help mitigate some of that loss, many now add clauses to their contracts that state you cannot get a refund if your team has to cancel at the last minute or can no longer attend. Ensure that you’re protecting your financial interests by reading the contract guidelines carefully. Better yet, have your legal team review them before you sign. This is a good way to ensure you understand all expectation angles well in advance.

    Think About Your New Goals for Attendance

    As we already know, the pandemic changed everything. Several years ago, attending a trade show in person might have an attached goal of trying to meet more customers to schedule sales meetings at their headquarters. Now? Maybe that’s to get in a Zoom call or just introduce them to your self-service web portal. Whatever your goals are now, it is important to clarify them with your team to ensure adjustment in this new era of business.

    Don’t Be Afraid to Skip a Booth

    With expenses much higher than in the past, don’t feel like you should get a booth at an event if you don’t feel you’ll see a return on your investment. Sometimes just sending a few representatives of your company to put in face-to-face networking time is enough. Then, you can decide in the future if getting back to your regular conference presence is really necessary for where your business is post-pandemic.

    Create a Backup Plan

    Keep in mind that everything these days is a bit different than it once was. Instead of remaining fixed to your goals, make sure to create a backup plan. Include things like alternate booth layouts that incorporate social distancing guidelines, extra sales materials, and plenty of masks and gloves for venues that might require them on short notice. As a bonus tip, have a few extras imprinted with your logo for handing out to other vendors that might not have brought any.

    Remember to Have Fun!

    Most importantly, remember to have fun at these events. After such a long time apart, seeing colleagues and other vendors is sure to be an enjoyable experience. As you already know, the building products industry is very close, and getting to meet in person with those we haven’t been able to visit in two years is always exciting.

    Wrap Up: Planning for In-Person Events in 2022

    Isn’t it exciting? Trade shows and events for the building materials industry are back in the next few months. If you’re planning on attending one, these tips are great reminders of what you need to consider now before packing your bags and jetting off.

    For more information about how ER Marketing can help with your digital presence, please contact us today. And, we hope to see you at one of the trade shows we’ll be at in 2022!

    About The Author

    Elton Mayfield

    Elton's career spans media, production, digital and building industry expertise. His diverse experience makes him nimble, innovative, and curious – always pushing the envelope to create extraordinary work that delivers real results for our clients.

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