Aaron recently had the opportunity to be a guest on the The Business of Meetings Podcast with Eric Rozenberg where they talk about the impact of trade shows on the economy. Aaron discusses why he believes that face-to-face events will never get replaced with online events, and he also explains how we can help others and what we should and should not worry about if we are unable to change a situation. A few highlights of the discussion and a link to the Podcast follow.
Getting into the industry
Aaron says that just like everyone else, he got tricked into joining the meetings and events industry. In 1992, he accidentally ended up on the show floor, and he never left.
Wear a damn mask!
There is a reasonable argument to be had that shutting down the economy was too much, and it caused more harm than good, but there is no argument for omitting to do basic mitigations, like wearing a mask, distancing, and washing your hands.
Real lives are being affected
Real lives are being impacted every day by the COVID-19 pandemic, and it frustrates Aaron that some people are being undisciplined and careless. He feels that national leaders need to be setting an example for the rest of the country at a state, national, and local level.
Why trade shows are so important for commerce
There is no place more effective for commerce to happen than at a trade show or an event. There, hundreds of thousands of buyers can get brought to hundreds of thousands of sellers at one time, and they can enjoy massive selections, and great selling opportunities. They can also build relationships and get entertained.
What people don’t see
Small and medium companies all over the US rely on trade shows as one of their main order-writing opportunities. Most people don’t realize that there is a big problem coming down the road, in the economy, as a result of trade shows not happening due to the coronavirus.
Unlike the commerce piece, much of the education piece can be replaced effectively with virtual technology.
Aaron believes that people can meet safely right now. They need to follow the basic mitigation protocols like social distancing, wearing masks, and cleaning their hands and surfaces.
Aaron firmly believes that the industry will regain a similar footing to the one it had in the past at some point in the not too distant future.
People are not too comfortable with the idea of traveling at the moment. Once they start to feel more comfortable about traveling, meetings can start taking place safely.
Fern Health Check
Fern partnered with an app-based technology company called Share My Health a couple of months ago, and they introduced a product called Fern Health Check. It is available today and can be used to test the health of the attendees of events.
Aaron’s thoughts on the future
Aaron believes that we will be using virtual in the way we should have been using it for the last decade when all of this is over. He does not think things are likely to change outside of the trajectory of the way they should have happened.
Working from home
If people keep working from home permanently because of changes that have come about due to the coronavirus pandemic, it will make it more desirable for people to meet in person.
Do whatever you can
Although you cannot change the things that are out of your control, you should still be doing everything that you can to accomplish the things that you can do. And we should all help one another in any way that we can.
“You should spend very little time worrying and stressing about things out of your control.”