Trade shows provide key role in the industry

Trade shows are an integral part of the plumbing, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration market. Really, these shows provide an important role in any of the trades. They provide a central location for the smart men and women of our industry to come together and discuss the latest and greatest innovative technology, where the industry appears to be moving, and to learn a thing or two about a part of the industry you might not have known. It really is the mixing pot of our industry.

While gathering material for my article on water jet drain cleaning machines, which can be found in the July/August 2020 edition of Plumbing & HVAC, one of my sources said to me: “Every time you go to a big trade show you see something different… I don’t know what it is going to be. I am usually surprised when the next innovation comes out.” It was this comment that I wanted to explore. We might not be able to visit a trade show in the near future and it is interesting to think about how they might be organized.

Most conferences and trade shows have been cancelled or rescheduled for the 2020 season. There are a few that are still holding out and, so far, plan to go on as scheduled. My guess is that our industry won’t be coming together again as a whole this year.

We have already seen examples of general meetings turning towards webinar platforms. Will it only be a short period of time till be see our trade shows take on this method? The transition from in-person sessions to webinars will be an easy one, as we have already seen an increase in the amount of training moving towards this platform.

But the option to move the actual exhibition floor to the web will be much more difficult. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it can’t and shouldn’t happen.

Though it won’t be the same, it can still provide a benefit. New products will be seen. Ideas can be shared. The downside is that visitors won’t be able to handle the products and speak directly to the manufacturer.

I can foresee trade shows starting to make a comeback sometime in 2021. However, I doubt that they will look the same. There might be less room for exhibitors, larger aisles, less people allowed to attend each day, and those arrows that have seemed to pop up every where.

I am curious to hear how some companies will approach trade shows in the future. If you have anything you’d like to share with us, please email me at I’d love to hear your comments!

Hopefully, we’ll start to see coronavirus cases dwindle even more. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’d like to start seeing life returning to some normalcy.


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