Maybe we jumped the gun and signed up for trade shows too soon…we thought we saw the light at the end of the tunnel…until we didn’t.
All of the U.S. Red Oxygen team (Australia has had a different roll-out schedule than the U.S.) has voluntarily received their vaccinations…so when the possibility of attending or exhibiting at trade shows became plausible, we were on board. These shows were all determined and ‘signed on the dotted line’ before the resurgence in COVID cases.
Oh no, what did we do?
But after attending our first show exhibiting in a Vegas casino convention hall in early September, even with the statewide mask mandate in place (requiring even fully vaccinated people to wear masks while indoor public spaces), we immediately questioned our decisions. A high percentage of people being allowed to wander the exhibit halls as if there wasn’t a deadly pandemic in our midst, maskless with no immediate consequences. What were we doing there? Yes we trusted our double layer of protection (vaccines and masks), but why would we subject our team to the lack of leadership the trade show was exhibiting?
Our next step, raise our standards even further…if the show didn’t tick all of the boxes (requiring proof of vaccines or negative COVID test along with being fully masked), we were just going to take the hit for the cost of attendance and/or booth rental.
Your life is worth more than 80 leads.
—Tom Sheahan, Red Oxygen CEO
A crystal ball can come in handy sometimes.
We were lucky, we chose wisely when originally signing up for shows, three of the four upcoming shows checked those boxes, plus some.
So, we’re heading out to exhibit at a conference in a couple of weeks. ONLY because ICMA2021 has confirmed their COVID safety regulations; requiring proof of vaccines or negative COVID test prior to entering the event, as well as a mask requirement during the event. Decisions that surely altered their attendee and exhibitor count.
We’re also attending SaaStr, who requires proof of vaccination AND proof of negative COVID test, no exceptions. This show happens to be in California, and as they are often blessed with nice weather, the show is 100% outside, and they still expect these requirements to be met before entering.
The next one on our trade show exhibitor docket, JAC|SEC 2021 conference, made the tough decision of switching to a fully virtual show. Refunding in-person fees in the name of safety.
We just wanted to take note of these and the countless other shows that are having to make tough game-time calls. And also say thank you to these shows and conferences that have made their staff, keynotes, clients, volunteers, attendees and exhibitors their priority. Chalk one up for health, safety and genuine concern for fellow humans.