Like many companies who regularly attended Trade Shows before Covid emerged, Frasca had no choice but to sit out events for a good eighteen months while shows were cancelled or postponed due to shut-downs. Now that many shows are up and running again, we’re back on the road again – ready to meet customers and industry friends face to face.
Our return to in-person events has not been done without extensive research and planning with respect to the safety of our staff and show attendees. In fact, attention to Covid precautions have been very thorough at all the events we’ve attended – ranging from required vaccines to onsite Covid testing. While most shows encourage masking and signs are typically prevalent throughout the exhibit halls, many attendees feel they can safely go sans- mask with the vaccine and testing protocols in place.
To date, we have not heard of any outbreaks occurring at any of the shows we attended in 2021. One of the first events we attended this year was EAA/AirVenture held in late July in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. This long running GA show combines a traditional airshow with an industry trade event. Many of the display areas were open air, or at least had cross ventilation in hangars, which upped the safety factor. We found the event to be well attended and the quality of leads was excellent.
In addition to AirVenture, Frasca attended and exhibited at: FSANA, UAA, AMTC, NBAA, WATS, EATS, Helitech and Gobal Defense Helicopters – quiet a busy Fall/Winter Trade show season coming right out of Covid restrictions. Our team recently attended I/ITSEC in Orlando and reported a slightly smaller show, yet still well attended.
Some shows, as expected, had a smaller exhibitor footprint and lower attendance rate, particularly with international attendees – due to travel restrictions. NBAA, held this year in Las Vegas, was a significantly smaller show, although the event did yield good contacts and people were genuinely interested in getting back to face-to-face business dealings.
Traditionally smaller, more focused shows such as Halldale’s WATS and EATS events and AMTC, were productive and regardless of slightly lower attendance, they produced quality meetings. While the decision to attend each show required extensive discussion and risk assessment, the logistics also proved challenging.
In one instance, we never received booth graphics that were shipped to an international event. They were held up in customs after extensive shipping delays and never made it to the event. For other events, we shipped well in advance to advance warehouses to avoid shipping delays. Booth graphics had to be located and extracted from an unexpected lengthy storage time, and last minute repairs to a large booth structure required overnighting spare parts.
As we plan for 2022 events, we anticipate that there may again be last minute cancellations or postponements as we navigate the challenges presented by the ever-evolving Covid virus. And we are ready to pivot as needed. We’ve survived nearly two years of never before challenges, dealing with a worldwide pandemic and the effects it’s had on our industry. Fortunately, we (as an industry and a company) are a resilient bunch and will continue to adapt and work through future challenges, whether it’s a cancelled trade show or a supply chain disruption.
We hope to see you (safe and healthy) at an event soon!