When word that the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona was canceled due to the coronavirus hit the news, it got the attention of the entire trade show industry.
Should other international shows be canceled or restricted? Would anyone from China be able to attend any shows in the near future?
That was the topic of this week’s ExpoChat, the weekly Twitter conversation for the trade show community. You can review the entire chat transcript for reactions and recommendations, but here are a few resources mentioned where you can learn more about the facts of the situation:
- UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, has created a special resource page with links to advice.
- UFI and SISO have also issued a joint statement on the situation and its consequences.
- PCMA has also created a resource page with facts and updates about the disease.
- SISO now has created pages with links to trade show industry news stories and other show-specific resources. (added 3.2.20)
- IAEE also has an extensive resource page with numerous links, an official statement, and even a webinar replay (added 3.2.20)
- World Health Organization updates (added 3.2.20)
- CDC health updates (added 3.2.20)
- U.S. Travel Association has created an Emergency Preparedness and Response page (added 3.2.20)
- Here’s a map that’s continually updated with U.S. confirmed cases (added 3.6.20)
In case you are considering canceling an event, here are some resources to help in that evaluation:
- What Event Organizers Need to Know About Coronavirus and Canceling Contracts (from an attorney’s perspective)
- Coronavirus Risk Management Tips for Meetings and Events
- Coronavirus Cancellation and Attrition Liability Must-Knows (podcast with industry attorneys – added 3.3.20)
And the good news is that not all shows are in panic mode, especially in the U.S. TSNN has an article profiling what several major shows are doing to minimize the effects of the virus on both attendees and exhibitors.
The event cancellations continue to mount – especially in Asia – and the meeting and events industry is bracing for even more challenges in the weeks ahead. This article from CNBC lays out some of the costs and far-reaching effects.
The city of Barcelona got creative after Mobile World Congress was canceled. They created Barcelona Opportunity Week, which offered deals at hotels, restaurants, and other venues that were losing out on the business MWC would have brought in. But the list of companies affected by the sudden loss of business doesn’t stop there – this article includes how a wholesale florist, taxi drivers, and meat vendors may be seeking to recover.
Meanwhile for events coming up, planners may discover that insurance is very hard to come by.
See new resource links as noted above. DesignNews also published an article recapping the effects on just the tech industry shows alone.
More shows are canceling or postponing, while others forge ahead. Here’s where you can learn more.
- Natural Products Expo West has been postponed. (Expo East is scheduled for September 23-26 in Philadelphia. For a firsthand perspective see 3.9.20 update below.)
- CONEXPO-CON/AGG is on and still taking advance registrations – to the tune of more than 4,000 in the past week, which is ahead of the same period prior to the 2017 show. (The show only happens every three years.)
- The Geneva Motor Show was canceled, but some car companies took advantage of the opportunity to make their big reveal anyway and the show’s website will be broadcasting those videos. (There’s a walk-around video of the would-be show on this page.)
- The International Housewares Association canceled the Inspired Home Show – becoming the first major show hosted at Chicago’s McCormick Place to do so.
London Book Fair will go on(see additional update as of 3.6.20 below), as will the AWP Conference in San Antonio – although that one will be under a bit of a shadow as the San Antonio mayor recently declared a public health emergency in the area.
- The London Book Fair has now canceled.
- In an ironic twist, HIMSS canceled the 2020 Global Health Conference and Exhibition.
- SXSW was forced to cancel their event for the first time ever, after receiving a mandate from local officials in Austin. The event organizers shared their frustration in an update on their site.
- Ace Hardware has canceled their annual conference and trade show at McCormick Place.
- The Self Storage Association canceled their Spring Conference and Trade Show in San Antonio.
- Security industry show ISC West has decided to move this month’s conference in Las Vegas to July with exact dates to be determined.
- Tim Patterson shared an interesting first-person perspective on the Expo West cancellation on his blog.
- The NAB Show has decided to cancel their April event in Las Vegas. (NAB Show New York is still scheduled at this point.)