In spite of a troublesome situation, events and trade show organizations are looking ahead to the future
This is not a lucky season for trade shows and events, despite the industry’s innate resilience.
Times of uncertainty are looming on the horizon, and not just for Italy and Europe.
That is why big shows have been postponed and even cancelled, while others are putting in place severe restrictions to safeguard the health of all the stakeholders.
For the time being, the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the trade show business is unpredictable. Though insiders have already started to calculate the loss caused by the virus.
Hard times call for hard measures
In Italy, for example, several prestigious events like the Furniture Show (Milan), Vinitaly (Verona) and Cosmoprof (Bologna) have been postponed, an unavoidable decision while waiting for the emergency to be over.
Similarly, Fira Barcelona’s organization has already re-scheduled some of its major trade shows, like Alimentaria and Hostelco. Catalonia is one of Spain’s biggest industrial regions, if not THE biggest, and Barcelona is the heart of it, being the perfect entrance to the Spanish market.
Italy and Barcelona: a thriving partnership
The difficult, yet inevitable, choice to postpone events may not be totally negative. In fact, it will give Italy, one of Barcelona’s privileged business partners, more time to recover and come back with all its resources.
The Italian presence at Fira Barcelona’s events has always been relevant and welcome, reaching its highest peak in exhibitors’ numbers between 2003 and 2010. Also the number of visitors has been increasing ever since.
What to do, now?
The keywords are “be proactive and prepare for recovery”. The trade show industry is resilient. Remembering the setbacks of the past, it will get back stronger than before.
And trade show marketing is an option that should always be considered.
Even if it may sound counterintuitive, crises represent the best time to look for the help of professionals and rely on their expertise.
Most of Fira Barcelona’s Italian exhibitors are small and medium enterprises (SME) willing to enter the Spanish market, looking for local agents, distributors or other channels, in order to build and develop their business on the territory.
Trade show marketing: essential even in times of trouble
Despite a period of economic downturn, SMEs should not overlook the potential of trade show marketing. It is true that the digital revolution opened a new world of opportunities, but it will never replace face-to-face meetings or in-person relationships.
Specialized trade fairs are the backbone of SME’s internationalization and export strategies. Regardless of those who, several years ago, predicted they would disappear with the advent of the digital technology.
Italy is an export-oriented country, which makes its companies in need of professional support in their path towards foreign markets, even more so in times of budgeting and low investment rates.
Expo Consulting, with its 23 years of experience and expertise in the exhibition business, has already survived economic downturns in the past. The knowledge of international markets (Spain, in particular), of the Catalan industry and economy, and the privileged relationship maintained with Fira Barcelona during many years, allow us to offer Italian companies the right tools and continuous support to find the business opportunities they are looking for.
Hope for the best, expect the worst
What we take home from these weeks of instability is that trade show marketing is strong, resilient and will weather the storm. We will have to work hard and welcome the economic recovery with enthusiasm and willingness to do once again our best to succeed.
Fira Barcelona is taking action to maintain the top-notch quality of its shows and, by so doing, to give us and our international colleagues the chance to continue providing a high-level service and assistance to our customers.