There is no denying the trade show and event scene has been silent the past few months. So it was a welcome relief for two of Skyline’s Project Managers, Alessandro Hodges-Colavitto and Dawn Kelly, to have the opportunity to attend the Brisbane Care Expo on 11th September 2020 at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. Dawn and Alessandro approached the event with much anticipation and were highly impressed by the COVID-Safe practices enforced by the event organisers and the feedback and engagement from both the exhibitors and the show visitors. The success of the event reinforced the irreplaceable nature of face-to-face events and gave insight into the future of exhibiting.
A COVID-Safe Event:
The Brisbane Care Expo brought together a diverse range of organisations across the health, aged care, disability and support industries. The visitors to the event included some of the most vulnerable populations and therefore it was critical that safe practices were enforced in the lead up to, and during the event.
The communication from the event organisers in the lead up to the event was detailed and included a dedicated webpage informing visitors of criteria and instructions for entry. Additionally, practices whilst in the Event Precinct were outlined such as social distancing, hand hygiene, physical contact and the employment of Social Distancing Ambassadors.
All registered attendees were sent a ticket with a QR code that was required to be scanned upon entry and exit to the event. This helped to monitor the capacity and ensure the maximum capacity was not reached at any one time. Clearly visible signage encouraging hygiene, social distancing and traffic flow were evident on entry and throughout the venue. As expected, there was an abundance of hand sanitiser stations and hand sanitiser was a popular exhibitor giveaway.
As opposed to other years, the aisle spacing was four metres wide which allowed for interactions to take place at booths on either side, while traffic could move through the centre. This seemed to work incredibly well and was preferred by exhibitors as this was more accommodating to those using mobility aids.
Another significant change was that food was not allowed to be consumed on the show floor and was only permitted in the designated food area. Likewise, food had to be individually packaged to be distributed by exhibitors. Exhibitors were also required to have an A4 sign stipulating their maximum booth capacity based on four square metres of space per individual. Overall the exhibitors did well to maintain social distancing, commonly using trestle tables with branded table throws to encourage this. More open booths such as Peninsula or Island Booths, proved more difficult to control the capacity and foster engagement and need to be smartly designed to combat these issues.
Feedback from Exhibitors and Observations:
The buzz and success of a trade show isn’t reliant on a singular variable. It is a unified response from a well-orchestrated event, engaged booth staffers and visitors and impactful booths. Thankfully the Brisbane Care Expo had a fantastic buzz, and besides from a few simple rules to obey and practices to follow, it seemed like business as usual. Attendees and exhibitors engaged in prospecting conversations, offered great deals and samples, booked appointments and gained brand exposure. Lead scanners (via QR codes) were effective tools that some exhibitors used in place of pen and paper lead forms.
Many exhibitors openly expressed how refreshing it was to be face-to-face with attendees and were pleased at the attendance level and quality of the trade show attendees. Additionally exhibitors expressed the vast contrast between virtual and live events and how crucial face-to-face marketing is to their business. The event also provided opportunities to network with other exhibitors which have been otherwise missed.
Dawn and Alessandro’s experience at the Brisbane Care Expo demonstrated that there is great hope for the future of trade shows and an integral need. Whilst there are few events to look forward to in 2020, we are optimistic that 2021 will paint a much different picture. With many events scheduled for the first half of 2021, we expect a lot of activity as clients begin to refresh and restart for the new event season.
Get in touch now to start your planning for 2021 and beat the rush!