Is this the end of traditional franchise exhibitions & events post COVID-19?
There is no denying that the Coronavirus pandemic has in a short period of time completely changed our lives at home & work. Many of these changes will remain for a long period of time, some forever but how will this effect franchise exhibitions & other franchising events post COVID-19?
Social changes affecting future franchise exhibitions
Whilst Franchise UK is an online platform like many of our competitors we have promoted & exhibited at franchise exhibitions in the past. We are social beings & we like to interact with other people so I have seen that for some franchisors this sort of event could be beneficial, but has COVID-19 changed all this?
As businesses we need to adapt to survive & thrive. It has been very encouraging to see the franchising community embrace technology including video conferencing to continue to trade & support each other through this difficult period.
That said this will lead to long term & permanent changes in the way businesses operate generally & this will effect franchise exhibitions as well. The current so called “lock down” or as I prefer to call it “quarantine” is likely to be eased from next week according to a recent statement by Boris Johnson. This is of course great news but how long will it be before more than 50 people can gather together, let alone thousands of people at a franchise exhibition? Also the two main venues for franchise shows are ExCel & the NEC & both of these are still currently hospitals!
We are creatures of habit. The current situation has forced us to use technology & look at different ways of doing things. For many they will never go back to the way they used to work & the longer things stay the way there are the more people will follow suit.
How technology use during COVID-19 is changing franchising exhibitions
As we continue to see how easy it is to get together using technology & the added benefits of lower costs, helping the environment & spending more time with our families the more we will see we have other options to traditional events of all types, including franchise exhibitions.
The first ever UK “Virtual Franchise Show” ran this week demonstrating how technology can be used to create a very similar experience to a traditional franchise exhibition. These events have many advantages over a traditional franchise exhibition including;
- Far lower costs – A “virtual” franchise exhibition stand costs just over £700 whereas a traditional franchise exhibition stand costs thousands & in some cases tens of thousands of pounds.
- No time restrictions – The recent Virtual Franchise Show ran for 7 days, not the usual 2-3 days of other events & virtual events are available 24 hours a day
- Better for the environment – Traditional events involved a huge amount of transport & logistics. With transportation accounting for over 30% of all carbon emissions virtual events will make a huge difference. Note international franchise shows also create a lot more air transportation as well.
- Safer – There are no risks of contracting COVID-19 or any other virus. Staff can manage the stand from the office or at home.
- Greater productivity – Staff can manage a stand whilst carrying out other daily tasks.
Time will tell more how franchising events & franchise shows will be affected by COVID-19 long-term. That said given the growth of franchising in the UK over the decades through many challenges one thing is certain, that the franchising community will rise to the challenge.