Returning to the payments industry tradeshow scene this year is bound to be a breath of fresh air! After a year of distancing ourselves and mostly sticking around home, the opportunity to come together, meet new people, and learn new things is something we certainly won’t take for granted.
However, it is important to acknowledge that the tradeshow environment will not look “normal”. There will likely still be social distancing practices in place, mask requirements, and other new procedures to follow for the safety of all attendees and exhibitors.
Today, we’d like to share five tips to help you have a safe and seamless return to in-person tradeshows and events. Here they are:
1. Expect new trends and be ready to adapt.
One of the positive things that came out of 2020 was enhanced creativity! With many venues closed and large gatherings prohibited, event planners had to be creative with their offering. And so, they found ways to bring their events into a virtual space.
It’s likely that creative trends like this will continue into 2021. In fact, according to a recent report, 93% of business leaders plan to invest in virtual event strategies this year. You may even see some hybrid virtual and in-person events begin to surface. Preparing yourself for different experiences like these will help you make the most of your time at a tradeshow, whether virtual, in-person, or a little bit of both.
2. Keep your safety and the safety of others in mind.
Prioritizing health and safety is important at all times, but especially as the pandemic continues. If you are attending a tradeshow in-person, keep the following health guidelines in mind:
- Eat healthy and stay hydrated.
- Get plenty of sleep and listen to your body; take a break or rest when you need it!
- Wash your hands often or use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are unavailable.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Maintain distance of at least six feet from others, when possible.
3. Review health and safety guidelines for the event in detail.
Speaking of health and safety, be sure to review all guidelines set by the event you are attending. If the event is out-of-state for you, we also recommend visiting the state’s department of health website to review any health orders or recommendations that may be in place.
Every state is handling the pandemic slightly differently, so taking the time to review all these details in advance will ensure you are prepared. Plus, it’ll help you decide on how many masks to pack and how much hand sanitizer you might need.
4. Stay aware of the comfort levels of others.
Your primary goals at a tradeshow or conference are probably to make contacts and generate leads. Typically, you might introduce yourself with a handshake but this year, you’ll need to stop and think before reaching out that hand. Some people you meet might feel completely comfortable shaking your hand. Others may prefer an elbow bump, or no contact at all. To start a new conversation (and hopefully, working relationship) off on the right foot, you’ll want to make a first impression that aligns with their comfort level.
The simplest way to determine that comfort level is to candidly ask them, “Can I shake your hand?” and move forward from there. Some events, however, may ask and answer that question for you.
Here’s an example. A trade association for the recycling industry in Arizona, NORA, hosted an event in November of 2020. They encouraged people to only attend if they felt comfortable and gave everyone in attendance a color-coded ribbon based on their comfort level. Green indicated a person was comfortable with a handshake or elbow bump, yellow indicated a person was comfortable with talking but not touching, and red indicated a person wanted to keep their distance. It’s possible you will see a similar color-coded system on tradeshow floors this year.
5. Be flexible.
Above all, remember to remain flexible. No events are going to look exactly the same as they did a couple of short years ago. New, creative ideas and strategies will be formed, health guidelines will be in place, and people will be spread out. Have patience and keep your fellow attendees and exhibitors in mind as you travel to a payments industry event this year.
Stop by Our Booth!
Electronic Merchant Systems will be exhibiting at the following events this year:
- Southeast Acquirer’s Association (SEAA)
- Midwest Acquirer’s Association (MWAA)
- Western States Acquirers Association (WSAA)
Click here to learn more about each of these events and more!