No one could have predicted what we would be experiencing now in January 2021, if you would have asked me that question when this whole pandemic thing started. Iâ€™m sure we all thought that this would have been long over by now. And as if we all didnâ€™t have enough on our plates, we had a summer of unrest, a contentious election and an insurrection at the Capitol. Thatâ€™s more than enough excitement for one year. I never thought Iâ€™d hear myself say this, but man, I cannot wait to get back to VEGAS!
But 2021 has come in with some uncertainty and that makes it difficult for us in the trade show world to plan. But plan we must. While vaccinations are not being administered as quickly as we all would like, the hope is that the current plan would get more vaccine into more Americans sooner. NOW, if they just handed over all of the logistics to the professionals in the trade show industry, weâ€™d not only be far ahead of where we are currently, but the balance of the work to be done would be done, dare I say, before the next show is scheduled to move in. Thatâ€™s right, from the show managers to the show vendors, we are all accustomed to moving a lot of people, equipment and resources, both in and out of a large multitude of events every day. AND, in tight time frames and deadlines? Hmmmm. Sound familiar?
100 Million doses of vaccine in the next 100 days? What are we going to do with the other 90 days we have left? When you look at it, convention centers were already used in various cities as temporary hospitals. Guess who helped build those giant facilities inside those convention centers. Thatâ€™s right, convention labor. We probably would have gotten it done even quicker had we been in charge of everything. Considering our ability to build whole convention centers with large extravagant exhibits, we probably would have been more efficient too. Why build the whole center out when all of those beds werenâ€™t needed? If you were confident in your ability to construct more, as needed, when needed, then less expense would be incurred by providing more bed space than was necessary. (As it was, a total of only 33 people used the McCormick Place temporary hospital last year at a total cost of 81.1 Million including staffing, but boy what a great photo op) Iâ€™m thinking we also would have gotten it all completed more economically as well. (unless someone decided to charge drayageâ€¦â€¦) But I digress.
With that for your thoughtful consideration, itâ€™s also interesting that the convention and trade show industry hasnâ€™t received any specific or individual assistance. Itâ€™s not for lobbying and proving the facts as to why we are more than deserving. Our industry has, but it seems that more of the fringe industries tied to our work are recognized. I wrote to my state Senators and House Representatives to advise them that if they really wanted to assist the airlines, the hotels and the restaurants, then instead of pouring money in assistance solely to those entities, they should consider helping the trade show industry and allow us to run reduced factor events safely. If you can go to a Costco or a Home Depot on the weekend and see hundreds if not thousands of people shopping without consideration for social distancing, then why cannot trade shows operate? You want to fix the airlines and hotels? Let us get back to work at our tradeshows and weâ€™ll fill them up.
Iâ€™ve been to a few shows this Covid season in Florida and have read of others where show organizers take attendee temps of everyone entering the floor. Shows have wider one-way aisles, reduced carpet, reduced amenities, stinky hand sanitizers everywhere, extra face masks available and an overwhelming compliance by those in attendance as well as booth staff to take simple and effective precautions. I felt safe in the show hotel and the cleanliness was far greater than any time in the last 30 years Iâ€™ve been traveling to shows. Iâ€™m not about to open a discussion on which states have contained the infections and which ones are having difficulty. Clearly, itâ€™s not due to trade shows. Florida and Texas have opened up events. We havenâ€™t heard any reports of super spreaders coming from any of these shows. I just believe that our industry can produce safe and effective face to face events that apparently everyone is craving.
All of us here at ELITeXPO are craving to get back to work too. Weâ€™ve begun to see more activity ramping up as companies look to get a jump on assuring that their exhibits are ready for those first events that they will plan on using when their show season returns. They are reviewing their inventory and getting orders in now for show materials that they are learning they are needing. We are calling on shows as the Official Carrier as early as next month in February. We have scheduled more shows in March and customers are planning events for April and May. Our largest Official event of the year has moved to August and robust planning is proceeding now to assure that weâ€™re ready.
We all know that events out of our control can sidetrack these plans. But isnâ€™t that the life of a trade show professional anyway? ELITeXPO lives in the plan B side of the trade show world when called upon to make the impossible happen with little or no time to make it happen in. Of course, we are always happy when called upon to smoothly handle all the Plan A plans for our customers events. But I have a sneaky feeling, that our return to business and our ultimate ramp up to getting back to work is going to full of Plan B activities. Weâ€™re ready.
Weâ€™re here, working every day and ready to help. Weâ€™re excited to see our world of trade shows returning to some semblance of normal. What the new normal will be, remains to be seen, but as long as there are shows to attend, with friends and colleagues to see and collaborate with, weâ€™ll figure out the rest. Itâ€™s what we do. Weâ€™re tradeshow strong!
Looking forward to seeing you on the road soon.
David Mihalik – President ELITeXPO