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Is it time to return to the in person tradeshow?

For the past 18 months, we have all been participating in online events and on-demand seminars to connect with our constituents.  This move allowed organizations to continue to engage with buyers and sellers. Starting in Q2 2021 we started to see some hybrid and person trade shows and users group finding their way on to the calendar. Every organization needs to make their own decision about when the right time to come back in person is and how to do so.

Is it time to return to the in person tradeshow

At Apps, we asked ourselves when is the time right for us to dip our toe in the in person arena back in April.  We were checking the schedules for upcoming conferences and came upon Ascend, an Oracle Applications & Technology Users Group (OATUG) and Oracle HCM Users Group (OHUG) conference taking place in August in a hybrid format.  We felt that was the right combination for us.  Apps Associates decided to sponsor Ascend, our first external event since the pandemic. We knew we had to take the first step eventually and with the conference being half virtual and half in person we wanted to see what it was all about.

In August, Apps Associates participated in Ascend both in person and virtually.  Six of our employees attended to meet with people and work the kiosk. One of our subject matter experts who resides in Germany participated virtually and conducted a presentation where there were in person and virtual participants. His presentation was titled “It’s Not All About Lift-and Shift: Modernize Oracle EBS, How to Build a Cloud Roadmap.  You can view his presentation here.

We were all curious –  would it be the same as pre-pandemic? What would the traffic be like? Did we select the right time to return to the exhibit hall in person? Bottom line, the answer was that we did see value in participating in this event. With proper precautions in place we jumped right in. Was it the same a pre-pandemic? No, there were fewer people as well as mask and social distance protocols still in place.  So much was the same – the kiosks, the meeting rooms, the badges, the food.  The people – it was so good to see the people and while that was similar there were differences too. The volume of people traffic was down significantly, but the conversations with those people were better.

It was confirmed that there is nothing like actually talking to customers, prospects and partners face to face and having human interaction. It was helpful to hear how people had been adjusting over the past 18 months, what their challenges were and how they approached the solutions.  It was also interesting to hear what initiatives had bubbled up in priority, what their pain points were and how we could help them.

While there were many differences with this event from our pre-pandemic days, there were many similarities as well. Overall, this was the perfect way to test the waters on returning back to in person events.