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Changes to Trade Shows Following COVID-19

June 03, 2020

Almost every industry in the US will need to make changes to how business is run once they are back to full capacity - the same goes for large gatherings and trade shows. Here are some changes you should expect to see when you return to exhibiting:

Social distancing
The world as a whole is already practicing ‘social distancing’ as a new norm, so plan to see this happening at trade shows and large events as well.

To start, you will likely see convention centers widening the walkway halls of the show floor to allow attendees to keep at least 6-feet apart from each other. The majority of shows or convention centers will start to have new guidelines on how attendees will be able to walk the show floor, whether that be reduced hours in the show hall or signing up for time slots to be in the show hall. Since this will be happening, it will be beneficial to reach out to potential prospects and set up appointments to ensure that you reserve time to introduce yourself or have time to talk with your key customers.

You’ve likely already seen this at grocery stores and other essential businesses, but plan to see floor graphics in many areas of the show floor and within exhibitors’ booths. Not only does this help with social distancing and directing the flow of traffic, this will likely become a requirement on the show floor to make everyone feel safe and comfortable. Reach out today and we can get started on your branded Stick & Step graphics!

No handshakes to greet booth guests
Not being able to shake your booth guests’ hands might feel strange at first. The ‘old norm’ used to be giving a handshake as you introduced yourself to attendees coming up to talk about your company. Along with practicing social distancing, the best alternative could be to greet your guests with a wave while you introduce yourself. This may even help you appreciate a handshake even more when we can eventually get back to doing this.

Tablet/iPad check-in or contact collection station
Since you won’t see booth staffers and attendees shaking hands, you also won’t be seeing booth staffers handing tablets or iPads to booth guests to collect their information. Instead, there will likely be stand-alone stations upon check-in and within booths for attendees to walk up to so they can enter their information themselves. These stands also allow for shelving to store wipes, gloves, masks, or for extra branding messaging. Let’s get started on your tablet stations today!

Attendees and booth staffers wearing masks
If it isn’t already mandated by the time large gatherings resume, you will likely see most attendees and exhibit booth staffers wearing masks on the show floor. Having your logo printed on your masks adds an extra layer of branding to your exhibiting. Make sure your staffers are prepared for this prior to your show.


Sanitizing stations & daily booth sanitation
To ensure that everyone feels safe and healthy on the trade show floor and in your booth space, have sanitizer stations readily accessible in multiple areas of your booth. Instead of having these simply look like plain stands in the corner, get creative, and put your branding on them or see if you can attach them to your existing trade show properties. Companies should begin to think about how they can seamlessly incorporate sanitization stations into their exhibit design during the design phase this is something that Skyline Exhibits & Events can help you with!

More live demos instead of product touching/interaction
With the spread of the virus comes extra precautions. Instead of having open areas where attendees can handle your products, it might be a good idea to opt for scheduling multiple live demos during your show. Having a nice set-up with a large camera filming what you are doing along with a monitor to show your product up close will allow prospects to feel a personal connection to your brand without actually touching the product.

Protective plexiglass walls/barriers
If you do want to have your prospects take a closer look at your products in your booth, also make it a priority that your staffers and attendees feel safe while interacting. Like the floor graphics, you may have seen protective plexiglass walls or acrylic barriers at retail cash registers, so adding these to your countertop or product display will allow for attendees to take a good up-close look at your product without having to touch it. If you feel as though it is a must that your prospects interact with your product, set up appointments with those interested to ensure that you have time to disinfect between appointments.

Difference in airplane seating
This may not be directly related to trade shows, but many airlines are taking this time to change their aircraft seating to ensure the safety of their passengers. Since most exhibitors and attendees travel to their shows, this should help give you peace of mind, so you feel safer about traveling to your shows.


As excited as we all are to get back to face-to-face interactions at trade shows, expect changes to come with it! Along with all these changes, you may realize the need for your exhibit design to have a more open or different layout than you were utilizing pre-COVID. If this is the case for you – please reach out to Skyline Exhibits & Events. We are here and happy to help with anything you may need to accommodate all the coming changes to our industry.

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