COVID-19 turned the trade show and exhibition industry upside down. Although virtual events took place while gatherings were not permitted, attendee engagement was generally inferior compared to the old live events. It just wasn't the same. Now, as vaccines roll out in force and restrictions loosen, in-person trade shows are making a comeback and we couldn't be more excited.
Last month, we dipped our toes in and attended the Canadian Elevator Contractors Association (CECA) event in Muskoka, Ontario, Canada. It was a small event but a successful one where we were able to connect face-to-face with our industry colleagues.
Last week we crossed the border and attended the much larger NAEC Convention & Expo in New Orleans. We enjoyed our time so much and thank everyone who took the time to stop by our booth to see what FIELDBOSS is all about.
This was our first in-person NAEC show in 2 years due to COVID. With the spirit of being back at trade shows we asked our Owner, Jonathan Taub, a few short questions about his experience.
1. What has it been like being at in-person trade shows again?
It is a relief and a step in the right direction to going back to normal. It feels good to talk to real people and make solid connections. There really is no substitute for in-person trade shows. We had a great time meeting new people and catching up with existing clients.
2. How was the trade show different compared to before COVID?
There are pros and cons. It was not as busy or crowded with people so you can spend more time together and have one-on-one conversations which was helpful.
On the flip side, there was a mask mandate indoors at the convention center so it was kind of difficult to hear people as you can’t read lips to understand. What would happen is people would pull them down every now and then when having an important conversation, but the “Mask Police” would show up and tell you to put it back on every time without fail.
Traveling with COVID is also more of a hassle with all the documents needed and COVID tests required, especially when coming in from Canada.
New Orleans itself also seemed to be completely empty. No lively street music or art displays around the French Quarter. It was very quiet and eerie.
3. Is there anything you liked more at this years NAEC Expo than the pre-COVID conference?
I do like the fact that we had more time with people than we usually would. I think it was helpful for both parties. Another plus was the Jazz music playing all day through the speakers in the Exhibit Hall; that was a nice New Orleans touch. There isn’t usually music playing at a tradeshow.
We are hoping that due to the success of this show people will spread the word to attend more shows in the future. There's nothing like face-to-face connections!
4. What are your final thoughts on your experience?
Although our luggage got lost on the way down, went to the wrong hotel upon arrival, had long mask wearing days, and had to be at the airport at 4:00 am for our flight home, the connections we made and people we met made the effort completely worthwhile. The travel bug is back and we are excited to do it again.
Attending the NAEC show in person was a great opportunity to talk to our industry colleagues about their business challenges and to highlight how FIELDBOSS can help. We heard a lot about all the little things that add up to frustrations and prevent companies from realizing their full potential. We tried our best to educate how FIELDBOSS is a platform that lets companies of any size get more out of the people you already have and in the budget that works for you.