Business is booming.

Trade show organisers remain bullish despite Omicron blow

75


“When the world stopped, you kept going.” The slogan will greet tens of thousands of construction industry contractors, dealers and distributors who have paid up to $600 each to attend the World of Concrete trade show this month in Las Vegas — unless the Omicron variant of coronavirus forces a last-minute cancellation.

How many corporate exhibitions can themselves keep going in the new year is once again in doubt. Just as business executives had finally begun reaching for their conference lanyards again after months of restrictions, the fast-spreading Covid-19 strain has prompted another round of postponements.

At ExCeL, a venue in east London, the education technology fair Bett, gambling sector event ICE and eyewear exhibition 100% Optical — all of which are supposed to be go-to events in their respective sectors early this year — have been pushed back.

Some exhibitors have meanwhile withdrawn from shows that are still happening. Amazon, Meta and Twitter are among several tech groups that have pulled out of in-person appearances at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), although organisers are determined to press ahead with the event, which is due to start this week, also in Las Vegas.

Having survived previous coronavirus-induced restrictions and cancellations, battle-hardened executives behind some of the world’s biggest trade shows are trying to position their companies to take advantage once the pandemic finally subsides.

“Effectively, we have been scheduling, rescheduling, negotiating, renegotiating every three months for almost two years,” said Stephen Carter, chief executive of Informa, the world’s largest trade show organiser.

“It has been very demanding on our teams, and it’s been quite demanding on our relationships with venue partners and contractors.”

Even so, he added: “Customers have remained very committed to participating — when they’re able to.”

So confident is Carter in its prospects that he has identified events as one of Informa’s priority areas for expansion, alongside academic publishing.

This month, the FTSE 100 media company laid out plans to dispose of a portfolio of data and consultancy assets and niche publications estimated to be worth at least £1.7bn, and to redeploy a chunk of the funds in its events business.

Investors remain circumspect. Shares in Informa are almost 40 per cent lower than they were at the start of 2020, while Paris-listed GL Events is down 25 per cent over the same period and New York-listed Emerald Holding 62 per cent.

Nevertheless, before the emergence of Omicron there were encouraging signs for the sector that Zoom-weary delegates were keen to return.

Data from the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) show cancellation rates among US business-to-business exhibitions improved from 98 per cent in the second half of 2020 to 19 per cent in the third quarter of 2021.

Despite a slow start to the year and persistent concerns about coronavirus, CEIR estimates that 15.3m people attended such events in the US in 2021 — more than double the previous year, albeit less than half pre-pandemic levels.

“The snapback shows the model is strong,” said Paul Thandi, chief executive of NEC Group, owner of the UK’s National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham. Still, he added, since the spread of Omicron “exhibitors have become more risk-averse”.

“They are wary of spending thousands on stands, staffing costs and other ancillaries,” he said.

An employe of the Frankfurt Book Fair works on book shelves
The Frankfurt Book Fair. Trade shows have been forced to spend more on Covid-related measures such as sanitising and social distancing © Arne Dedert/AFP/Getty

Events due to take place at the NEC in the new year that have been rescheduled include Lamma, an agricultural machinery show popular with farmers.

Despite the widespread cancellations, few large event organisers so far have run into serious financial difficulties, in part because their parent companies have interests in other sectors that have not been hit so badly by the pandemic.

One exception is Paris-based Comexposium, which spent much of the past year in a “safeguard procedure”, although it exited this in October after shareholders injected €110m into the business.

Some other organisers tapped shareholders for cash at the onset of the pandemic, helping them weather the storm. Informa raised £1bn in a placing last year, equivalent to about 20 per cent of its equity capital.

Furlough schemes and other forms of government support have been lifelines. In cases where authorities imposed restrictions preventing events from going ahead, insurance has also been crucial, despite sometimes-limited scope of cover.

About £65m worth of insurance payouts helped Hyve, another London-listed events organiser, return to profit in the year to the end of September.

Pressure on organisers’ cash flows was also less intense than it might otherwise have been since exhibitors typically paid up front, said Dan Assor, an events industry consultant.

He added that in some ways it was subcontractors — often smaller companies that provide equipment from lighting rigs to registration desks, as well as logistical support — that had been hardest hit.

“The supply chain has been decimated,” Assor said. “Lots of freelancers have disappeared.”

As in other industries disrupted by coronavirus, executives expect some changes to prove long-lasting.

Mark Shashoua, chief executive of Hyve, said he expected a shake-out of smaller trade shows. Even before the pandemic, he said, there had been a “gravitational pull” towards the largest event in any given sector — a trend that the pandemic had only accelerated.

“If the event and the sector was in the ascendancy before Covid, it’s recovering very fast,” he said. “If it was a second or third tier show, it’s not recovering.”

Sarah Simon, analyst at Berenberg, anticipates that the fragmented sector will consolidate. “Short-term, in certain markets, there’s going to be continued disruption, which I think will flush out more of the weaklings,” she said. “There’s quite a lot of medium-sized assets out there that could be of interest.”

Column chart of US metrics, rebased to 100 for 2019, showing how the pandemic has wreaked havoc on the exhibition industry

Analysts said possible sellers might include Daily Mail and General Trust, which, as well as owning the UK’s biggest selling daily newspaper among other titles, also has an events business.

Its portfolio includes ADIPEC, an energy industry exhibition hosted by Abu Dhabi National Oil Company. DMGT was recently taken private by Lord Rothermere, who is said to be focused on the company’s publishing assets.

Companies such as Informa are also trying to more fully exploit the data generated by such events. They have long encouraged delegates to use specialist apps, yet recent health and safety requirements have made online registration compulsory in some cases. Organisers are trying to sell participants more related digital services, such as delegate matchmaking and post-event analytics.

Yet unlike conferences, or at least the onstage discussions that underpin them, trade shows cannot be easily recreated online. It is hard to feel the fabrics, as at the Pure London fashion show, or gauge the prospects for emerging mobile technology, as at MWC Barcelona, remotely.

“You can’t replicate face-to-face,” said Assor, adding that the shows had facilitated commerce since London’s Great Exhibition of 1851.

Chris Skeith, chief executive of the UK’s Association of Event Organisers, said the pitch remained straightforward. “The clue’s in the name,” he said. “They generate trade.”

“You get your finger on the pulse on everything that’s happening in your sector — all your competitors, customers, suppliers are in one place at one time. It’s an incredibly efficient way of doing business.”



Source link

75 Comments
  1. Senzgj says

    levofloxacin pills levaquin 500mg cheap

  2. Pgsoeo says

    cheap avodart 0.5mg buy celebrex 200mg pills order zofran sale

  3. Phqxww says

    buy aldactone online cheap buy diflucan 100mg without prescription generic fluconazole 200mg

  4. Lddtzd says

    cost ampicillin 500mg purchase erythromycin pills buy erythromycin without prescription

  5. Butbsr says

    purchase sildenafil online cheap purchase robaxin without prescription robaxin 500mg over the counter

  6. Hhjtqx says

    cheap sildenafil 100mg aurogra 100mg pills estrace 1mg usa

  7. Jbzbhv says

    lamictal generic mebendazole 100mg cheap buy retin gel generic

  8. Rjbbok says

    tadalis 10mg pill voltaren us diclofenac 100mg drug

  9. Mkzufv says

    buy accutane 40mg sale zithromax 250mg usa azithromycin 500mg ca

  10. Syumfs says

    tadalafil 5mg ca cialis 20mg mail order buy sildenafil generic

  11. Jeeayw says

    order arimidex online pfizer viagra c direct-trade sildenafil 100mg brand

  12. Azrbmo says

    buy deltasone 5mg generic generic cialis online pharmacy sildenafil overnight shipping usa

  13. Xkrtwf says

    tadalafil 20mg kaufen ohne rezept sildenafil 100mg generika rezeptfrei kaufen original viagra 50mg rezeptfrei sicher kaufen

  14. Elfnmm says

    modafinil 200mg price oral acetazolamide 250mg order diamox 250mg online

  15. Qkfrbs says

    doxycycline 100mg oral doxycycline 100mg tablet furosemide 40mg pills

  16. Gqkdzx says

    buy altace 10mg pill altace 10mg usa buy azelastine 10 ml

  17. Fuvzzr says

    clonidine for sale buy tiotropium bromide 9 mcg generic order tiotropium bromide without prescription

  18. Tnksbi says

    order buspar 10mg generic phenytoin 100 mg tablet oxybutynin medication

  19. Zfdsnl says

    purchase terazosin pill buy sulfasalazine 500mg online cheap azulfidine 500 mg us

  20. Ibtduo says

    buy alendronate online cheap buy famotidine generic order pepcid 40mg online

  21. Zdafdr says

    olmesartan 20mg sale diamox 250mg ca acetazolamide 250 mg drug

  22. Xpwczv says

    tacrolimus ca buy ursodiol 300mg for sale urso us

  23. Neqzhy says

    buy imdur 40mg generic imdur over the counter order micardis 80mg pills

  24. Ihncfy says

    generic bupropion strattera 10mg canada oral quetiapine

  25. Zqdlpu says

    buy generic molnunat 200mg oral naprosyn prevacid pill

  26. Wbztqe says

    purchase imuran generic imuran 100 mcg cost viagra pharmacy

  27. Ebwnfd says

    order tadalafil 20mg pills brand viagra without prescription order sildenafil 50mg sale

  28. Ozfege says

    tadalafil 40mg over the counter buy tadalafil pills order symmetrel 100 mg without prescription

  29. Qjlult says

    naltrexone drug cheap revia purchase abilify without prescription

  30. Xvolga says

    buy dapsone 100mg online cheap buy allegra perindopril without prescription

  31. Iavbvy says

    provera 10mg generic cheap praziquantel cyproheptadine 4 mg over the counter

  32. Qhpwml says

    provigil for sale canada pharmaceuticals online generic ivermectin

  33. Rvfftb says

    luvox buy online buy luvox 50mg online glucotrol cheap

  34. Siazbt says

    oral accutane 10mg buy isotretinoin 40mg online cheap deltasone 5mg uk

  35. Tmojte says

    piracetam for sale online nootropil brand viagra for sale

  36. Pdmznz says

    zithromax 250mg brand buy prednisolone 10mg buy gabapentin 600mg for sale

  37. Atyzlt says

    lasix 100mg us lasix 100mg sale purchase hydroxychloroquine pills

  38. Sdaxes says

    buy tadalafil 20mg without prescription buy cialis online cheap cost anafranil

  39. Ivscsx says

    cheap sporanox tindamax 300mg tablet tindamax 500mg tablet

  40. Pyekic says

    buy glycomet 500mg for sale oral glycomet 500mg cialis 10mg without prescription

  41. Kuybzw says

    olanzapine over the counter olanzapine 10mg pill order diovan 80mg online cheap

  42. Hfzlgq says

    norvasc buy online norvasc 5mg usa cheapest cialis online

  43. Ykaazk says

    clozapine 100mg ca dexamethasone 0,5 mg sale dexamethasone price

  44. Vwarzs says

    buy viagra 100mg online cheap viagra sildenafil 50mg buy lisinopril 5mg generic

  45. Kgefqo says

    omeprazole 10mg oral online blackjack casino best poker online real money

  46. Xhocny says

    buy linezolid pills casino game gambling casino

  47. Zzowrb says

    order metoprolol for sale brand tenormin 50mg vardenafil 10mg cost

  48. Ldjfzm says

    help writing a paper online gambling money sports gambling parx casino online

  49. Cqluvh says

    buy levitra 10mg generic cheap lyrica 75mg methylprednisolone 4mg over the counter

  50. Iaotmr says

    buy essay online uk paper writing websites cheap viagra without prescription

  51. Sfcogx says

    order generic clomiphene clomiphene generic best casino games

  52. Qxcibc says

    tadalafil 20mg pills sildenafil australia canadian viagra

  53. Trqnzf says

    aristocort 10mg us order clarinex without prescription clarinex sale

  54. Vtfccm says

    buy priligy sale synthroid 100mcg usa cheap synthroid

  55. Tuazdy says

    buy cialis 10mg online cialis 10mg sale order viagra 100mg without prescription

  56. Acczxt says

    order xenical 60mg pills buy orlistat without prescription brand zovirax 800mg

  57. Kptjlz says

    tadalafil 5mg usa order inderal 20mg sale purchase clopidogrel online cheap

  58. Tlcivz says

    generic cialis 5mg oral clopidogrel purchase plavix sale

  59. Ppataj says

    allopurinol over the counter buy rosuvastatin 20mg order zetia

  60. Rtzpsg says

    motilium 10mg oral generic motilium 10mg purchase cyclobenzaprine generic

  61. Qispiz says

    order cozaar 25mg generic buy topamax generic cheap topiramate 200mg

  62. Xupbxj says

    baclofen order online baclofen 10mg brand buy toradol sale

  63. Pmrxtr says

    cheap sumatriptan 50mg buy avodart pill avodart order

  64. Umqicj says

    order colchicine 0.5mg without prescription casino online games casino game

  65. Tsnywu says

    buy ranitidine 300mg online mobic price order celecoxib pills

  66. Iojhtl says

    order tamsulosin 0.2mg online order spironolactone 25mg sale buy aldactone for sale

  67. Dbczay says

    tadalafil order cialis generic oral ciprofloxacin

  68. Nhmfdt says

    simvastatin buy online generic propecia proscar 1mg over the counter

  69. Lrfira says

    flagyl 400mg oral oral flagyl 400mg purchase bactrim online cheap

  70. Ohoqub says

    fluconazole online order fluconazole 100mg canada oral sildenafil 50mg

  71. Lehpnu says

    buy cephalexin 125mg pills cheap cephalexin order erythromycin online

  72. Ndmwxm says

    tadalafil 20mg price cialis tadalafil 40mg viagra tablet

  73. Uupelp says

    order sildenafil pills buy sildenafil 50mg without prescription cialis tadalafil 40mg

  74. Xecrog says

    order ceftin 250mg online order cefuroxime 250mg without prescription robaxin oral

  75. Yuppue says

    real casino slots free spins no deposit casino genuine cialis

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.