Digitalization in the trade fair sector: What will trade fairs be like in the future?

For some time now, the digitalization of sales and marketing has been the talk of the town. Even before the Coronavirus pandemic began, the events and trade fair sector was already experiencing changes. Virtual showrooms, 3D booths, and smart apps for digitally capturing leads are part of the daily work of many exhibitors. Now, with all these digital possibilities, will in-person trade shows continue to exist in the future despite the current pandemic situation?

Last year many companies were only able to hold virtual trade fairs because of the pandemic situation. Therefore, it was necessary to quickly look for new concepts and ideas to somehow replace the canceled or postponed trade fairs. In the end, this resulted in cost savings, for example, by not having to deal with a trade fair booth, travel expenses, and printed material. Instead, companies focused on improving their digital presence to get in touch with existing or interested customers. However, despite all the possibilities, the personal exchange was left on the sidelines, as this is precisely what makes trade fairs unique and extremely important for gaining customer trust. We are convinced that in-person trade fairs will continue to prevail in the future, but they must remain open to change. What might in-person trade fairs look like in a few years? We have let our imagination run wild:

Smart application for planning trade fairs

Organizing is not everyone's cup of tea. Booking tickets and hotels, arranging appointments, and scheduling itineraries with just one click: all this will be possible thanks to a smart app that will automatically suggest suitable trade fairs, accommodations, and transportation – such as air cabs – based on the user's preferences. All relevant data and information will always be at hand: Automatic check-in will work everywhere with a single scan.

The trade fair day made much easier

The app will not only make it possible to automatically plan trade fair attendance but will also automatically organize and save appointments with exhibitors in the calendar depending on the distance between individual booths and previously indicated interests. Thanks to smart technology, it will no longer be necessary to make changes manually. In addition, and of course, it will also show where the nearest restroom or cafeteria is located, where, by the way, lunch can be pre-ordered. But if only there were no need to walk long distances to the next booth or exhibition hall? We also have an idea for this, because walking was yesterday, e-scooters are today! For all visitors, there will be an e-scooter at the entrance with the possibility to leave it parked at any stand and charge it at the same time. It could not be easier!

The trade show booth of the future: personal exchange and physical experience

Digital check-in at each trade show booth will be very simple: just a scan with the app and done. A holographic assistant will take care of the welcome, offering a brief description of the company using a 3D presentation. Visitors will be able to choose between other holographic assistants and real people for more detailed information.

Although not all products exhibited at trade fairs can be physically displayed, this is precisely what makes trade fairs so interesting for many: seeing the product from all angles, trying it out, or even configuring it themselves. With the help of 3D models, this will also be possible. Individual products can be ordered directly via the app or saved for a later date. In addition, there will be no need to scan again, since, thanks to pre-registration, all activities and booth information will be saved automatically. 3D printers will even allow configured products to be printed immediately.

Webinars, product presentations, panel discussions, and other events will complement the on-site offerings using 3D showrooms and virtual booths. Attendance will be possible directly via the app or even with Virtual Reality glasses, which can be connected to the app with a scan – it is like being on-site!

Although this is wishful thinking, for now, we believe that in-person trade fairs will continue to change, become even more digital and visual and keep the personal exchange and on-site experience. We look forward to meeting our customers, partners, and stakeholders at the upcoming trade fairs.