What the future of Hemp & Cannabis Trade shows could look like.

Trade Shows in the Age of Covid (Part III)

Welcome to part three of our Trade Show Insights & Analysis, where we look into the potential future of the Hemp & Cannabis Trade show environment.

So far, we have observed the market implications the COVID pandemic has had on the Cannabis and Hemp Trade Show environment. Most events have been canceled or postponed due to the virus and response, impacting both event organizers and vendors with financial losses

However, as often happens in business, new challenges spur innovation. In part two, we examined how Cannabis and Hemp Trade shows are adapting to the Covid-19 world.

In a groundbreaking response to the pandemic, Cannabis and hemp Trade Shows pivoted to digitizing the experience, moving gatherings to virtual spaces, and providing vendors and attendees with some of the value they expected from live shows. The time demands that businesses network through online, digital, and virtual platforms to remain relevant in the still burgeoning Cannabis and Hemp industries.

Even after the Covid crisis is over, and in-person shows resume, virtual events will likely remain. They may not offer all of the same values as a traditional trade show, but they do have some huge pros. The costs associated with travel, shipping, lodging, etc. are eliminated. Vendors can connect with attendees from all over the country without the need for airfare, booth setup, and all the things that most people consider the ‘not-so-fun’ part of live shows. 

At CannTrade’s “HempShow” for instance, businesses can participate in a monthly B2B show that focuses on driving connection, and allows vendors to present their brands and products and even accept orders and get paid on the spot, all within the app. Additionally, unlike live trade shows that are over when they end, the digital format of HempShow creates marketable content and a live 24/7 wholesale menu that supplies ongoing value, even after the show.

That said, there will always be value in live shows that cannot be replicated by their digital cousins. They will be coming back, and many events companies are making considerations about the right time, place, and protocols. While businesses want to take advantage of the “hunger” for live events and real human interaction, they also want to balance that out with risk mitigation and health consciousness.

To share additional insights into what the future of Cannabis and Hemp Trade Shows might look like, we followed up on CannaCon, which held its first-ever virtual cannabis expo last month called Virtual CannaCon.

Cannabis exhibitors and industry leaders were brought together on the Cannacon virtual platform to educate and assist entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry. Although WHen speaking about the future of Trade Shows and virtual events, the Director of Marketing for Cannacon, Angela Grelle, said, “I think the seminars were similar to the live experience, but the expo side was very different. People were appreciative, but everyone still prefers the live events.

Trade Show hosts like CannaCon are aware of this as they’re preemptively preparing to host their next live show, dually informing the public of the serious safety concerns as they prepare for the safest show possible. 

The upcoming event in Oklahoma City, called CannaCon South, is scheduled to occur on September 28-29 next year. The precautionary measures for the CannaCon South event include hand sanitizer stations, social distancing signs, markers to eliminate confusion and accidental encounters, compulsory masks, one-way aisles, and booths with taller side walls.

MJBizCon, the largest trade show in cannabis, has not disclosed plans or news on upcoming live trade shows or in-person events on their website, but, according to the Las Vegas Convention Center, MjBizCon hopes to return to Nevada Vegas by December 15, 2021.

Organized and hosted by MjBizcon, the European Cannabis Symposium, a conference that delivers an objective, unbiased view of opportunities, challenges, and nuances of the European cannabis industry, remains postponed with new dates to be announced in the coming weeks.

Producers of the NoCo Hemp Expo also decided to move into multimedia platforms after deciding to reschedule Noco7 to March 25-27, 2021.

Their expansion includes the hosting of virtual conferences & trade shows, podcasts, weekly newsletters, and the introduction of a hemp-themed digital magazine.

In association with Let’s Talk Hemp Media, the NoCo Hemp Expo team successfully hosted two virtual events this year.

The first event, dubbed the NoCo Hemp Expo Earth Week, was held on April 22, 2020, and the second event, called Experience Hemp Summer Solstice, took place on June 16-19, 2020.

Another inbound virtual event called Wafbu Virtual is set to take place on January 11-13,2021.

The Lucky Leaf Expo, the first major cannabis & hemp, and CBD trade show of its kind to be held in Texas after the new cultivation laws were passed, and similarly to VirtualCanncon, has disclosed information about upcoming events and precautionary measures and in light of the pandemic pressures have rescheduled events:

Dallas, July 9-10, 2021

Oklahoma City, September 17-18, 2021

Albuquerque, September 3-4 2021

Austin, May 14-15, 2021

Houston, November 5-6, 2021

And will also be taking similar precautionary measures mentioned above, like:

  • Encouragement of social distancing measures 
  • Use of PPE like masks and gloves
  • Providing additional sanitation stations
  • Staff following strict hygienic protocol
  • Frequent cleaning and disinfection services

And there is the aforementioned digital HempShow, powered by CannTrade, which takes place the first Tuesday of each month. The next show is scheduled for November 3rd. HempShow is unique in many ways, as it is free to present as a vendor OR attend, so long as you are a verified business within the CannTrade network.

Final Insights:

The virtual events ignite excitement, expanding one’s awareness beyond the four walls of the home office, which is just an important part of the forward-moving formula enterprises and individuals need to grow.

However, with beautiful booth displays and full-size equipment setups, the sound of laughter, interaction, and the occasional friendly aroma that we all know and love, live shows bring their unique values and appeals that virtual events can’t replicate.

Related Articles:

Article #1: The Virtual CannaCon Experience

An overview of the virtual event series with insights into speakers, attendees, and interesting comparative metrics made from past shows. Includes insight into what the team thinks the future holds for the industry. 

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