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Exhibition Industry Trends to Watch Out for in 2021

Exhibition Industry Trends to Watch Out for in 2021

As we wrap up the first month of 2021, we remain in un-chartered territory when it comes to the exhibitions industry. With no clear path of when we will be allowed to reopen, we thought it was a good idea to collate what we believe will be the key trends for our industry as we go into 2021 both during and post COVID.

Social Distancing & Hybrid Events

With the risk of coronavirus remaining very much real, the large events we’ve been so used to hosting in the past simply will not be possible. We believe that this will create a trend for smaller, more niche events where audience size is much more manageable. Social distancing will also remain key, especially in the first half of 2021. This means that new seating plans and layouts will have to be adopted in order to optimise the space.

Hybrid events are likely to be one of the biggest trends in 2021. What is a hybrid event? Put simply, it’s adding a virtual element to a traditional live event structure. Hybrid events will allow shows to allow small groups to take part in face-to-face sessions, which are then shared with larger audiences through live streaming or other digital platforms.

Outdoor Events

The risk of COVID-19 spreading is thought to be less significant when outdoors. This may well lead to more traditionally indoor events being converted into outdoor events. This will enable more guests to attend, also making it easier for organisers to provide a safe and comfortable distance between attendees.


Event planners have been embracing technology more and more over recent years, and if Coronavirus remains a significant risk in 2021, technology will play an increasingly central role when it comes to all events & event planning.

We’re seeing increased use in live, 360 degree video technology which can be used to connect remote audiences, mimicking the experience of walking round an event first-hand. Apps and interactive websites can be created to allow followers to take part in the event from the comfort of their own home, even streaming the event on call platforms such as Zoom.

Sustainability & Personalisation

Even without COVID-19, we still predict that there will be a number of trends that will emerge strong in 2021.

Firstly, sustainability. We’re more aware of our environmental impact on the world around us than ever before, meaning sustainability is sure to be one of 2021’s hottest trends for the event industry. This will mean organisers focussing on the reduction of waste and sustainability, with attendees expecting incentives and eco-friendly initiatives when they attend events.

Another rising trend is personalisation. During the events themselves, we can expect to see a greater degree of personalisation for guests through apps, polls, gamification and more, delivered straight to their phones and tablets. By inputting interests and data into an app, attendees can receive personalised scheduled, or even be matched with others for networking.


Trade shows and exhibitions may have had a rough year in 2020, but hopefully 2021 is the year things start picking up again. If you’re planning a stand or you want to talk to our team of experts, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

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