We all learned a lot of lessons in 2021. The pandemic brought our entire industry to a standstill, effectively forcing trade show exhibitors, organizers, and attendees to be flexible in the way they engage with trade shows and events.

Thankfully, with some patience and optimism, we still found ways to make connections, buy and sell products and services, and restore the excitement of the trade show floor. Let’s take a look at what went right in 2021, so that we can build on it to create a brilliant new year of events.


Measurable Successes

Unforeseen circumstances led to unexpected benefits over the past year. Here’s what trade show organizers noticed in 2021:


1. High quality leads

While overall in-person attendee numbers dipped for many shows, event producers and exhibitors consistently reported a higher concentration of qualified leads. Meetings were productive and leads were hot, as businesses were more deliberate and goal-oriented in their trade show activities.

As we move into 2022, marketers should shift their perspectives on lead generation to value quality over quantity. 


2. Above-average rebook rates

Nancy Walsh, president of Informa Markets, reported “exceptional rebook rates for 2022.” Hyper-focused trade show attendees proved to meet marketing expectations for exhibitors, and businesses are looking ahead to replicate these successes.


3. Exhibitors and attendees embraced hybrid offerings

The pandemic caused massive changes in consumer behavior. While many people felt it would be safe to attend in-person events, others remained hesitant. This put pressure on trade show organizers to develop and implement digital solutions that catered to everyone.

Ultimately, this has laid the foundation for a new era in which multi-channel trade shows will be the norm. Instead of looking for a “return to normalcy,” the trade show industry is poised to embrace a new future. 


4. Evolving technology

Tools created to make in-person events safer are sure to remain long after pandemic concerns fade. 

No-contact entry, methods for touch-free data exchange (anyone else love QR codes?), and other technological advancements will be standard for trade shows, exhibitors, and attendees. 


Creating the Perfect Trade Show Exhibit

As our industry looks to the future with newfound experience, skills, and resilience, we are tremendously excited to dive into a busy year of trade show marketing. 

The Exhibit Options team is still here to design and produce an exhibit that sets your business apart from the competition, and helps you achieve your trade show marketing goals. In addition, we will continue to provide resources to help you navigate this new era of trade shows and inspire you with ideas for your perfect trade show booth.   


Exhibit Options Can Help

As you plan your marketing calendar, don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions. We’re here to make 2022 a success for all our partners!