So your trade show or event was canceled. What now?

So your trade show or event was canceled. What now? Banner

Over the last 18 months, our trade show and event schedules have been chaotic and unpredictable. This is an understatement for sure. Most event venues have been tirelessly working to keep exhibitors and attendees in the loop with the latest closures and schedule changes that crop up almost weekly.

So what happens when all information shows a green light and smooth sailing only to have the show or event get shuttered at the 11th hour? You have put tons of time and resources into attending, including design time and other expenses for personnel and logistics. Do not panic. Now it is time to explore some ideas and get things on track quickly to make that work count.

We have some solid options you can fall back on and salvage some of the time and energy you have already invested into the now-canceled event. Here are some suggestions that can save the day and be integrated into your event program permanently if you choose.

Virtual Exhibiting and Events

This option has become more and more popular over the 18 months. For good reasons, online virtual exhibits are turning into a powerhouse option for exhibitors and event managers. Let us explore some of those benefits and how they can save the day.

Exploring virtual exhibiting options in response to event cancellations.

Matches your exhibit perfectly

Virtual exhibits offer a 1:1 virtual match to your in-person exhibit in an online environment. These virtual exhibits can be navigated on almost any device at a pace of your choosing. Most providers offer a CAD-to-Virtual Exhibit option so that your structural design team’s work has not been in vain. This 1:1 match ensures your graphics are now virtually applied to the exact locations with textures and opacities that match your conceptual renderings or existing booth.

Display presentations

The investment in motion and digital presentations can be preserved and used within the virtual space as well. Simple interactions on a monitor within the 3D space can start and stop those videos or power-point style options. Those multimedia items can also be viewed full screen by the virtual attendee in most cases.

Event or booth staffing

Presenters and booth staff can also be available for real-time conversations via FaceTime and Zoom. These abilities offer visitors an on-demand immersive experience while they move throughout the virtual space. Pre-recorded interactions are also easily added where needed making the virtual environment giving the attendee the experience of an in-person visit.

Working for your business 24 hours a day

Another benefit of the Virtual-Exhibiting platform is the ability for your clients and potential customers to visit the exhibiting space 24 hours a day. They can watch videos, download literature, and explore all of the content available from any device at any time. Pre-recorded interactions can be available during off-hours to help with interactions.

Created alongside your physical exhibit

With most virtual exhibits, you can have one created when you are planning your exhibit space. They can be designed to match your booth or event space, regardless of whether it is a custom build booth or a rental exhibit. For an in-depth overview, you can read more about Virtual Exhibits here.

Ultimately having a virtual exhibit allows your attendees to visit you in person at the venue then revisit your exact exhibiting or event space online later at their convenience. It is a fantastic duo to have in place just in case the event is delayed or canceled.

blazer exhibits roadshow kits

Roadshow Kits

Creating a mobile display is another fantastic way to pick up the pieces and move forward. With the lightweight and easy-to-carry portables available today, you can pack a 10×20 fabric display with a projector or multiple monitors in just about any sedan. Very unique options are now available in portable packages these days.

Take the show to your prospective clients

The roadshow option show allows your team to hit the trail and visit potential clients at their locations to have a more meaningful conversation about your offering at a time they control. This alternative potentially makes the return on investment much higher.

Alternatively, you can have potential clients visit your location and have an entire conference room transformed into a tailored meeting space. This option may be more tailored to your client’s needs at that time. You can quickly adjust the message for another meeting as needed.

The roadshow option also can salvage some of the canceled event’s graphic works and multimedia presentations. These are also very easy to produce within tight deadlines and may take just a few days to land in your hands if needed.


When shows and events get canceled without much warning, do not panic – take a look at some reasonable and very effective alternatives that are easily obtainable. The Virtual Exhibit and Roadshow options are spectacular Plan-B options when the need arises. You will be pleasantly surprised how well these two alternatives can work for you when time is not an option.

Matt Smith

Matt Smith has been a professional graphic and user experience designer for over 28 years. Matt works closely with trade show and event companies in the San Francisco Bay area and Denver Colorado.

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