How To Pivot Your Trade Show Plans During COVID-19

Around the world, trade shows are postponing, canceling, or switching to an online format due to the Coronavirus crisis. However, that doesn’t mean that the work is done. Canceling your show presence so close to the event date can take almost as much work as coordinating it in the first place.

From reviewing contracts and policies to coordinating the return of booth items, here are a few things to ensure you account for as you cancel your plans.

How To Cancel Your Trade Show Presence

#1: Check your contracts & terms and conditions with the show.

The first place to look is the terms and conditions or exhibitor contract you have with the show itself. Are cancellations covered? If not, are they making any exceptions for COVID-19? Additionally, be sure to review the exhibit terms and conditions. This can inform you on whether or not your deposit is non-refundable, and if it is, whether or not there are any exceptions. Many shows are offering to carry over your funds to next year. Is this feasible for your company or is there a backup plan for a virtual conference?

#2: Cancel any hotel reservations.

Is there a cancellation policy associated with your hotel reservation? Is there a fee for canceling? Companies such as and Expedia have directions on canceling or changing reservations posted prominently on their websites during this time. If you’re unable to find such information or are struggling to coordinate with the hotel, we are happy to help you undo any arrangements that were made.

#3: Return any booth items.

Returning and canceling any rented or shipped items needs to be managed on a case by case basis. Are your items already in storage at your destination? You will need to coordinate to have them returned. Are you working to cancel a shipment? Ensure you meet any associated deadlines and look into whether recovering any pre-payments is an option.

When done properly, canceling or rescheduling your trade show can be done in a way that minimizes your loss. If you’re looking for any assistance with this, please reach out. We’d love to work with you.