Exhibitions and Events in 2021 – our experience so far

Covid Safe Events - Interface WorldwideEvents haven’t started back up in the UK, yet, but the team at Interface Worldwide have been busy with some of the international shows that have been able to go ahead in a safe and well managed way.

The last year has required major adjustments to how meetings and events are run worldwide, especially on the part of the planners and venues. As event stand designers and builders we play our part too, designs have been tweaked and the build team have had a whole new regime to adhere to when preparing for an event. We were fortunate enough to be involved with IDEX 2021 which was held in Abu Dhabi in February. We caught up with the team that were on the floor building the stand for Lockheed Martin to see how it went and what the road to recovery looks like for UK events.

Organisation and Planning:

If you need great organisation, comprehensive guidelines, clear signage and an efficient workflow there is no better place to look than the events industry! This was apparent at the biannual defence exhibition in Dubai.

As the event is such an important part of the economy special dispensation was given to allow for the staff to work in and around the event hall. One key element was a robust testing schedule; the build team were all tested before they got on the plane, followed by another test when they landed. Once they were given the all clear they could begin work. Construction staff and exhibitors alike were all required to have regular PCR tests throughout the show and a certificate was needed to gain entry.

Anyone that has ever attended a large international exhibition knows that even pre event the halls can be packed with contractors and deliveries getting the stands ready for the opening day. To stop the construction teams getting in each other’s way when building and, later, breaking down the stands the teams were split into shifts. One half were building through the day and one-half building through the night. It made for an unusually quieter exhibition hall but meant that the teams could work freely and safely.

A Positive Vibe:

The feeling at the show was very positive and the exhibitors themselves couldn’t wait to get going. Some teams flew in, but where possible local manpower was used to reduce the travel requirements. Everyone was wearing masks indoors, following the floor arrows and using the hand sanitiser stations dotted around. These were the obvious post 2020 exhibition markers, but other than that it felt quite normal.

It was a busy show for the first couple of days, constant footfall throughout. Generally, people were happy to be at an exhibition and able to meet up with other businesses. All meetings were booked and pre-arranged. To make the exhibition as Covid safe as possible GES adapted drawings to conform to the spacing regulations, a one-way system, blocking off areas of the stand to help the visitor flow and monitoring numbers on the stand itself.

The Road to Recovery:

This event, and others we have been part of, demonstrate what is possible for the events industry. Through this experience we are now armed with the knowledge of what will be expected. Allowing us to plan and design exhibition stands that will deliver a great customer experience even in these unusual times.

By having the infrastructure in place exhibitions like this one are driving confidence in the market, proving that large events can be held. Achieving what we all want and boosting business with minimal risk.

We look forward to getting back to events in the UK soon and hopefully, as restrictions ease, putting the floor arrows and Perspex meeting room screens in the bin.

If you want to discuss your event and exhibition plans or are looking for some advice on putting together a Covid safe stand design contact the team today.