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The week in events: largescale shows ‘safe to attend’

Your weekly exhibition industry news round-up from ExpoPlatform. We highlight five top stories so you don’t miss out on what’s been happening – including announcements, insights, opinion and more.

Mass events “safe to attend” but caution required, studies show

Two new studies have found mass participation events are safe to attend, but emphasis has been placed on being cautious.

Latest results from the UK Government’s official Events Research Programme (ERP) shows the number of Covid-19 cases were “largely in line with or below” community infection rates at 37 mass gatherings.

However, Ministers warned that caution is still required to support health protection measures.

Another study by Freeman has also found trade shows “can be safer” than going food shopping in most US cities.

Its findings show largescale events in August had infection rates as much as 95% lower than the country as a whole.

The research – carried out alongside Epistemix Inc – was presented at the in-person SISO Summer Conference in Kentucky.

Freeman CEO Bob Priest-Heck said: “Businesses and organizations want to get back to events for critical commerce, networking and exchange of ideas.

“This research provides the framework for doing so safely.”

Meanwhile, Kai Hattendorf told Exhibition World that the range of largescale shows taking place illustrates how industries and their leaders want to return to the show floor.

New association launches for online community leaders

A new educational association has been launched to bring together and nurture online community leaders.

The Community Leaders Institute (CLI) is the brainchild of experts from the events, media and community industries – offering tools and training to professionals.

RD Whitney, CLI founder, told ExpoPlatform how associations like these are the marketing model of the future – with “awesome” monetisation opportunities.

This 365 engagement approach has flourished over the last 18 months, when organisations were forced to rethink how they connect and inform their audiences.

Benefits of a community model include that it provides organisers with a way to create year-round revenue and heighten brand awareness using digital tools. Read more here.

Business travel facing further disruption

Air carriers have warned that the spread of the Delta variant is causing a surge in business travel cancellations.

American Airlines is the latest US operator to report lower than forecast revenues in August amid the surge in Covid-19 cases, while it also predicts a delay in the return of corporate passengers.

The company joins several other carriers who have reported a drop in demand as well as bookings being cancelled.

Southwest Airlines has said the decline in demand could hit its ability to report a profitable third quarter.

For more on this: ExpoPlatform’s Chart of the Week previously highlighted findings that corporate travel could be cut by 20% compared to 2019, according to a McKinsey study.

Meanwhile, Delta Air Lines has announced plans to charge higher health insurance premiums for employees who decide not to have a vaccine.

Amsterdam returns as a conference city

Amsterdam has held its first major international conference for more than a year.

Femke Halsema, mayor of the city, kicked off the Money20/20 event by saying the Dutch capital was now a “safe” hub for largescale events.

The RAI Amsterdam conference venue has been operating as a test and vaccination centre throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

Until 2019, shows at the premises were generating an annual turnover of around £592 million (€690 million) and had 6,300 full-time equivalent employees.

It comes after RAI Amsterdam claimed poor communication from the Dutch Government could see a number of international events cancelled.

The international organiser and venue previously said messaging from official websites about multi-day shows was creating confusion for event producers, who they say are now considering withdrawing or moving their exhibitions.

Meanwhile, China has held its biggest exhibition of the year amid strict coronavirus control measures.

Smart China Expo 2021 kicked off on Monday in the southwest Chongqing municipality.

It saw more than 600 companies from 31 countries take part in the three-day show.

‘Stop asking if show attendance is down right now’

Rachel Wimberly, EVP of business development for Tarsus US, claims she keeps on getting asked the same question at events: “how many attendees or exhibitors were at the show?”

So in her TSNN piece, she highlighted the obvious: of course numbers are not as high as pre-pandemic levels.

Rachel said: “For any buyer who decides to go to a show right now you can pretty much bet they are motivated ones who are there to place orders and get business done.

“Please stop asking show organisers how many attendees and exhibitors there are right now.

“I will absolutely guarantee you – the exhibitors and attendees who are coming to shows are very grateful for the opportunity to finally meet face-to-face again.”

Download our Hybrid Blueprint to learn how best to blend live and virtual events.