Why Events are Going Virtual

As companies continue to costs, trade shows are becoming an expendable expense.
Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the July 2009 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

As companies continue to cut costs, tradeshows are becoming expendable. The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry found that nearly 70 percent of show organizers surveyed expected a more than 10 percent decrease in sales. Even Las Vegas' popular Consumer Electronics Show had vacant floor space this year.

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Ever attend a tradeshow and wish you could stream footage to your team back in the office, or sit in on a presentation that you thought your partner should see? For these reasons and more, the creators of Qik sought to be the go-to application on mobile phones for people who want to capture those moments and stream them live online with near-zero latency. Just download the application and start recording. Viewers can chat live, and the video is automatically archived on Qik.com. The application can also be embedded in profiles on social networks such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. -L.H.

Virtual platforms, however, are fast becoming the way to host, exhibit at and attend a tradeshow. Sony held its first virtual tradeshow in January with much success--and savings. "It's a cost-effective way to build brand awareness or establish yourself as a small business without having to put your schedule on hold, hop a cross-country flight or create and ship materials," says Scott Steinberg, publisher of DigitalTrends.com and a veteran of the digital media space.

So if you're considering giving tradeshows the axe, here are five reasons you may be better off going virtual.


  1. You'll save money. Not only will you save significantly on flights, hotels and setup, but registration tends to be cheaper, too.
  2. It's better for the environment. Virtual tradeshow host Unisfair has saved its clients more than 161,833 tons of carbon-dioxide emissions.
  3. You won't lose as much employee productivity. Employees can be in the office and at a virtual tradeshow.
  4. Virtual tradeshows have everything a standard show does--and more: panel discussions, speeches, demos, real-time networking, and so on. Most hosts provide attendee metrics, too.
  5. There's no tedious setup or breakdown. "Assemble" a virtual booth in less than an hour and save it for the next show.
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