The Forgotten Industry

Media coverage on how Covid-19 has affected restaurants, Main Street small businesses, airlines and anything that falls under hospitality. But what about us?

The Tradeshow and Live Event Industry should be at the top of any list showcasing workers and companies badly hurt by the Pandemic.   In a story posted to David Walens, the CEO of Exploring Inc. shared that the trade show industry supports about $850 billion to $1 trillion a year in GDP.  Walens said, “you’re talking about thousands of companies and millions of jobs – in the trade show world – you’re talking about 10 million jobs lost because they’re totally shut down.”

Some of the industries which have been affected by major job losses are:

  • Convention center show decorators, electricians, caterers, customer service and Janitorial staff
  • Food service and other Retailers both in the Expo Centers and the hundreds of surrounding businesses relying on conventions
  • Freight/Trucking/Delivery Companies along with their own and their clients Logistic Coordinators
  • Suppliers to the industry for exhibits, graphics, labor, A/V
  • General Contracting companies and the hundreds of thousands of temporary recurring and full-time workers with no work for the last half-a-year. Not a slowdown – but none.
  • Tradeshows provide jobs for other professionals from I.T. and marketing to Models, Motivational Speakers and Magicians
  • Many thousands of Service Technicians make their living prepping exhibits before leaving storage facilities for events. With no events, there’s been little to prep.
  • Printers, promotional companies and even Uber and Taxi drivers all continue to suffer with less business when shows are shut down
  • Without people traveling to shows the already challenged Airlines, Hotels and Restaurants (and all of their suppliers) are further hurt

Will bringing back tradeshows fix all the above?  NO.  Will it help? YES.  Sadly, unlike many of the restaurants, airlines and hotels whose businesses have been drastically hurt by Covid-19, we need the media to help us tell politicians that our industry hasn’t just been hurt – it has been completely shut down and our people are hurting.

Politicians are so focused on their personal re-elections it is hard to both get their attention let alone focus them on our Forgotten Industry.   Our company, along with dozens of our industry colleagues and competitors, along with many industry organizations such as EDPA and EACA,  stands in support of efforts by Go Live Together and Live for Life whose efforts are aimed at influencing legislative support for our industry and its people.

About the Author

Ellen Hoffman is Controller at Skyline Exhibits & Design in Greenville, SC. Ellen handles all financial and human resources matters at Skyline. When Ellen is asked about business lessons learned, she will quickly tell you that success is more than worrying about the bottom line – it’s about customer service. Ellen is instrumental in sharing and nurturing that philosophy at Skyline.

Cover Photo Credit: Martin Meissner