MIAMI – Miami continues to exhibit signs of renewed enthusiasm for trade shows in addition to an array of glittering jewelry with 170 brands exhibiting at JIS March, produced by Reed Exhibitions. Bringing together a variety of manufacturers, wholesalers and brands at the Miami Beach Convention Center (MBCC) March 22-24, show attendance was up 10% from February 2020, attributable by several factors, said Jordan Tuchband, Industry Vice President, JIS Events.
Tuchband cited a shift in consumer spending back to tangible goods instead of services which helped jewelry retailers, the buildup of demand resulting from almost all jewelry trade buying events not running in 2020, and the “cabin fever” effect that many of us can relate to. “Attendees and exhibitors are missing the value and experience of the live events and are anxiously, yet cautiously, looking to start participating again.”
Health and Safety Protocols
Prior to the show, JIS clearly communicated its health and safety guidelines to attendees and exhibitors to ensure everyone was properly prepared for the event. Onsite protocols included mandatory daily temperature checks for everyone who entered the building, and extra registration kiosks were used to ensure adequate physical distancing in the registration area. Proper facial coverings, hand sanitizer stations placed throughout the show floor, heightened deep cleaning and air filtration throughout the venue, and transparent barriers were also included in the onsite protocols.
How did people react to these protocols? “Attendees, exhibitors show staff and our contractors and vendors were all thrilled to be back at a live event,” said Sarin Bachmann, Group Vice President, Reed Jewelry Group. “The JIS marketing team was very proactive in clearly and regularly communicating our health & safety protocols, so our audience knew in advance what to expect and that complying with these new protocols was required in order for them to attend. Several exhibitors and attendees have shared that all of the efforts going into health & safety made them feel much more confident about attending the live event and was critical in their decision making process.”
Even better? Initial survey results show 96% of attendees and exhibitors said they felt safe as it relates to Covid-19 at JIS March and that 90% of survey respondents reported that the show’s health and safety pre-show communications were helpful in preparing for the event and finally, over 70% indicated that the health and safety marketing communications impacted their decision in making them feel comfortable enough to register and attend.
The first ever JIS show was held at the MBCC in January of 1980 and it has been the home of their two annual Florida events ever since. “Over the years, we have forged a fantastic working relationships with the City of Miami Beach, the Miami Beach Convention Center Management Team, and the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau who all came together with us at Reed Exhibitions to review our health & safety plans and provide the necessary approvals for the show to take place,” said Tuchband, adding that the MBCC used the downtime throughout most of 2020 to install a wide range of new requirements, infrastructure, and procedures all aimed to maximize health and safety throughout the building. “We got to witness this and appreciate it firsthand,” he added.
Advice for Trade Show Executives
Before embarking on a socially-distanced show, Bachmann advises her fellow show producers to first survey their customers, both attendees and exhibitors, to gauge their comfort level coming back to face to face events for the timeframe under consideration. “At the same time, work closely with your operations and risk management teams, as well as public health experts to develop health and safety protocols for your event that align with – or even better – exceed the venue and governmental requirements at the time of the event. There is a tremendous amount of information sharing around health and safety protocols across the industry between trade show organizers and through great industry resources like TSE and major industry associations such as IAEE, SISO, and others. We at RX are also more than happy to share our learnings with other trade show organizers so don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We are all in this together!” she declared.
“Looking back, we are extremely proud of what the JIS and extended Reed Exhibitions team was able to accomplish with JIS March, especially considering how fast we had to make adjustments as new information became available,” said Bachmann, adding that they know information and protocols for COVID-19 will continue to evolve and they will now plan to incorporate social distancing when initially laying out the floor plan vs having to make modifications later in the cycle. “We are also in the process of evaluating, using feedback from our staff, vendors and customers, what protocols can be improved upon. Our planning will take into account the increase in vaccinations while continuing to follow and build upon the venue and government guidelines at the time of the event.”