Early 2021 Shows Are Postponing to Fall — Here’s Why

September 18, 2020

Recent news reports have suggested that the pandemic could still pose a considerable risk to human health and safety well into next year. After monitoring health and safety concerns, economic indicators, industry developments and business travel restrictions, as well as gauging audience comfort levels with participating in face-to-face events, some industry professionals are concluding that postponing 2021 events to later in the year is the smartest move. Here are several major trade shows that will be delayed next year.

NAB Show

Initial 2021 dates: April 11-14

Rescheduled 2021 dates: Oct. 9-13

Show size: 924,876 NSF (2019)

Venue: Las Vegas Convention Center

What organizers say: “We have witnessed growing concern and uncertainty over what the next six months will bring; enough that there appears to be a good deal of reluctance around participating in large events in the first half of next year,” said Gordon Smith, president and CEO of National Association of Broadcasters. “We also have our own concerns around being able to deliver the type of event in April that will not only drive results, but one that can be produced safely for all involved and without significant limitations on the experience. Taking all of this into account and in the interest of supporting the business, health and safety concerns of our show community, we have decided to move the 2021 NAB Show.”

Integrated Systems Europe

Initial 2021 dates: Feb. 2-5

Rescheduled 2021 dates: June 1-4

Show size: 559,723 NSF (2019)

Venue: Fira de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

What organizers say: “Given the understandable concerns among all of our stakeholders regarding coronavirus, and the uncertainty regarding travel restrictions and country lockdowns, we have concluded it is not prudent to maintain our original schedule of an in-person February 2021 trade show,” said Mike Blackman, managing director of Integrated Systems Events. “We feel by moving the event to June, it provides time for the industry to adapt and restore balance. We look forward to hosting the global AV community in our new home in Barcelona.”

The Inspired Home Show 

Initial 2021 dates: March 13-16

Rescheduled 2021 dates: Aug. 7-10

Show size: 812,135 NSF (2019)

Venue: McCormick Place, Chicago

What organizers say: “As the pandemic continued into the summer, we had multiple conversations with our board of directors, exhibiting members and retail buyers, all of whom were experiencing apprehension about the ability to safely convene the industry as soon as March of 2021,” said Derek Miller, president of International Housewares Association. “While the show continues to be a critical part of their businesses, the health and safety of our industry is our first priority and moving the event to later in the year allows more time for authorities to successfully manage this crisis.”

HIMSS21 Conference

Initial 2021 dates: March 1-5

Rescheduled 2021 dates: Aug. 9-13

Show size: 606,750 NSF (2019)

Venue: Venetian/Palazzo/Sands Expo Convention Center, Wynn and Caesars Forum, Las Vegas

What organizers say: “Considering the current status of the pandemic, [we decided] iit would not be wise, nor safe, to hold HIMSS21 in March,” says Karen Groppe, senior director of strategic communications for HIMSS. “[Whether] large events will be allowed to be held in March 2021 is still being navigated, so we made the decision — consulting our team of medical advisors and our leadership — to move to August. By [doing so], it gives more time and space for the pandemic to be managed and to see if large group [gatherings] are safe and wise.”

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Partner Voices

As event professionals and destinations adjust, adapt and evolve in these uncharted waters, it is imperative that substantial resources be put in place for all of the people responsible for planning and executing trade shows, expositions and conventions. An example is Mohegan Sun, which built an industry-leading, COVID-19 Resource Center with a combination of pictures from recently held successful events (the property reopened on May 1, 2020) along with several widely available and informative documents, such as an evolving operational framework: