How To Exhibit Safely And Effectively When Events Re-Open

Published on 10/08/2020

This is an example of how a trade show stand can be made safer both for the stand team and visitors. The design includes entry and exit points; barriers to walk-on entry; a one way system around the stand; screens to impart information; wipeable graphics; sanitising stations and meeting spaces wide enough to maintain safe distancing.

When trade shows reopen their doors in October, it won’t be business as usual.

It can’t be because, and quite rightly so, there are concerns and therefore precautions to be taken to protect the safety of exhibitors and visitors and the suppliers who work in the halls building and supplying stands. 

One of the significant challenges event organisers must overcome will be a lack of confidence among visitors. 

Visitors need to believe they have no reason to fear attending an event.

Exhibitors will need convincing that although it's assumed attendances will be smaller, exhibiting can still be a paying proposition. 

They too, will have concerns surrounding staff safety.  

Concerning the first point;

Although attendances are likely to be lower at the restart, those attending will be serious buyers. 

So exhibiting, particularly for businesses who rely on trade shows for leads, will still be worthwhile.

Moving to the second point; 

As you can imagine, the trade associations whose members organise, house and build exhibitions have been working flat-out to prove to government officials that trade shows will operate safely.

Collectively they have produced the “All Secure Standard.”

This document aids member organisations when thinking about handling COVID-19 considerations in their risk assessments. 

It helps to determine the necessary controls specific to their event. 

Precautions fall under four “Cornerstones.”

  1. Protect & Detect 
  2. Social Distancing 
  3. Cleaning & Hygiene
  4. Communication 

To give you an idea of the content within the document, below is an extract from Cornerstone 1: Protect & Detect. It highlights a policy for show organisers to consider if they foresee a risk with overcrowding at their event.  

What: Staggered Admission 

How: Some event formats could be divided into time slots across the days of their occurrence. Show organisers provide the ability to facilitate visitors’ attendance during a designated time slot in order to evenly spread the attendance to allow adherence to social distancing guidelines and minimise contacts. Controls over the maximum number of visitors can also be set. 

Why: By staggering admission each audience can enjoy a safer and more seamless experience. Our exhibitors can enjoy full, productive days throughout the event. Our visitors can plan their time in advance and have the option to reduce their costs and travel if desired. Predictable and traceable audience patterns also gives us better insights into attendee flow, a key piece of feedback often expressed. 


Video shows how the organisers of World Travel Market are reassuring visitors 

You might also want to view this video, produced by the organisers of World Travel Market. It explains to visitors the steps taken to ensure a safe visit for the event that will be held this November. 

It’s a policy that other organisers will be following in a similar way depending on the size and location of their events. 

As a stand design and build business, we too have re-examined our design policies.

Our focus has been on two aspects we think will make for safer exhibiting;

  1. Redesigning stands to be safe working environments for exhibitors and visitors
  2. Dramatically reducing the number of staff required to make an exhibition stand work.

The result is the Safe Stand Solution. 

It encompasses the following elements;

  • Defined entry and exit points on each stand - sanitising stations at the entrance and exit and in meeting areas 
  • One-way progress through a stand with barriers to the front to stop visitors walking-on and breaking safety procedures 
  • Desks in meeting areas large enough to ensure a 1-1.5m gap during discussions
  • Along the display route, high-impact and wipeable graphic displays (printed or digital) will tell some of the product stories that salespeople would typically handle
  • Staffed information pods, with perspex protection screens, can be placed along the stand route or at the exit point. Placement will depend on the size of the stand 

This image shows how we have adapted a 9m x 3m stand to be safer to visit and work within.  The same principles apply to stands of different shapes and sizes.

By applying these principles, we have helped one of our clients reduce staffing on their stand by thirty people in two events in Germany this coming October and November.

This reduction has dramatically reduced management concerns about staff safety which was the number one issue our client had to address.

And by removing the costs associated with those thirty staff members at each of the two events, exhibiting spend can be justified at proven events even with lower visitor numbers attending. 



The Safe Stand Solution can be applied to small stands too as shown in the illustration above.  All of the principle safety elements seen in the larger stands are incorporated into this design. 

Visitors by appointment 

Another essential element exhibitors should consider is the role that appointment setting will play when trade shows return in October.  

Offering buyers appointment slots for stand visits is one more way to build confidence around the idea of trade show visits being safe. 

It’s why marked entrances and arrival points on stands are vital. 

They feature in all our current designs for stands destined for autumn 2020 events.  

Appointment setting pre-show is a marketing opportunity 

Appointment setting provides an ideal reason to contact your clients and top prospects. 

Indeed, not all will agree to visit the event you contact them about but knowing why they have decided "no" is useful. Common reasons will provide insight into how positive or not, particular groups of buyers are feeling.

Better yet, if you are following-up email invitations by phone, your sales team can engage in a sales conversation. 

When making your diary bookings allow for the fact that there will a small number of cancellations; things do crop-up. 

Also, this way of working doesn’t mean that you can’t have walk-up visitors entering your stand. Appointment setting is one way to ensure safe numbers are maintained at all times. 

If your stand is busy, you can ask visitors to return during a quieter period using your bookings calendar as the guide.

FAQ’s re the Safe Stand Solution 

Do these new stand designs cost more?

Not usually because we are building with standard components. Where extra costs arise as in utilising more digital screens than usual, costs reduce due to the savings made in stand staffing. 

Is this a purchase or rental scheme?

Safe Stands are available for hire or purchase. For companies that purchase a stand, all of the components can be added to as and when required. It's a modular stand system so it can expand very quickly. 

Who will assemble the stand? 

Our experienced building team will assemble the stand for you whether you hire or buy. 

If you buy a stand from us, we will show you how to build it so that you and your team can do this at future events without assistance. 

You always have the option to hire our build team if that is more convenient.

Is extra time needed for building and breaking-down these stands?


Do we need any special permission or approval from the show organiser for our stand?

No; you will submit details of your design in the usual way. 

Will you provide a risk assessment and method statements?

Yes, we will liaise directly with the organisers and provide all the paperwork they require for us being on site, building and breaking down your stand.

How do these stands reduce the number of people needed to work on them?

Staff numbers reduce because we use graphics and digital screens to do some of the work typically handled by your sales team. 

The use of a one-way system on the stand also steers visitors to staffed information pods where they can obtain further  information and register their interest.   

What happens if the show we intend to exhibit at is cancelled or postponed? 

If the show postpones and new dates are published, (and you still plan to exhibit), we will allocate any monies paid to your stand to the new dates. 

If a show cancels with no future dates published, we will refund any monies paid. 

Can you help us create safe spaces within our office or factory buildings? Yes, we can. See this page for details. 


If you think this solution can work for your business, let’s have a conversation. 

To discuss an upcoming event, call 01702 662 111 or email [email protected] 

Alternatively, complete the form on this page.

Now is the time to start rebuilding your sales enquiries and contracts. We would be delighted to help in any way we can. 


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