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September 2020
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The animal husbandry industry has been hardly hit by the pandemic, like the whole world has.

Parts of the value chain had to deal with a slowdown in production, others had to re-structure within days or weeks the whole operation line, and others had to stop completely. VIV worldwide exhibitions, accelerators of the Feed to Food value chainand trading since decades, have become one of the missing linksinthe animal protein production over the past 3 months.Together with the foodservice industry, and other aspects of the supply world, exhibitions could not perform at all during the lockdown.From the organizers’ point of view, here is how covid-19 challenges the show industry.

Postponements phase: new experience at VIV worldwide

Certainly at VIV worldwide teams, no one had experienced postponements before.To postpone events that were ready to kick-off felt like loosing a championship, even if the championship could not be played in the first place. Resilience was the solution that VIV worldwide together with its exhibitors and partners chose to manage the emergency and postpone some of the very much awaited shows of last March, such as the 3rd edition of VIV MEA in Abu Dhabi and the newly launched VIV cooperation with VICTAM onanimal feed and health and nutrition in Bangkok.

VIV Online 24/7: the choice of staying connected

As meeting face to face became impossible, VIV Online 24/7 took an even more central stage.

VIV Online 24/7is the added dimension to the in-personVIV trade events, since its birth a couple of years ago. Reachable at the www.viv.net address, the portal mission is to keep the VIV community connected all year long, between show times,via knowledge sharing and other online services.

Once the lockdown began, the VIV worldwide team launched a campaign to encourage existingusers and other VIV qualified relations, such as the VIV Industry leaders and visitors, to jump on the digital platformand stay connected. VIV Online offersa safe and approachable space to keep up to date with recent industry developments, find suppliers and network with companies and peers. A catalogue of 2,500qualified suppliers is availableand the practice of knowledge sharing has already produced almost 1,300 articles on a variety of topics. VIV Online 24/7 is evolving and growing daily and welcomes all professionals in the Feed to Food industry to share, learn, and interact for free.

Crucial obstacles to address: physical distancing& travel restrictions

The expo industry has spent the pasttwo months evaluating the new challenges brought by the pandemic, exploring future scenarios and drafting realistic pathsfor the future of the exhibitions world.

 

Physical distance: a keyissue for big-scale events like VIV’s exhibitions

In many countries the distinction between different types of mass gatherings has already been clarified. Trade shows are not comparable to festivals or other massive entertaining events. This was a big achievement that prioritized and brought to an higher level on governments’ agendas,the attention towards economy drivers such as B2B shows during the recovery phase.

From an operational point of view, many hypotheses are under evaluation on how to handle physical distancing at shows. Visitors flow control via smart routes or heat mapping, completely digitalized registration processes, intelligentspace management, segmentations and further profiling to improve meetings quality over quantity and boost lead generation, as well as virtual and in-person combination of events are some of the options under discussion on a global scale within the exhibition world.

Travel restrictions: a concern for international shows

Travel restrictions are a considerable issue for top shows of the VIV portfolio that proudly attract a truly global audience, with more than half of exhibitors and visitors coming from outside of the hosting countries. The VIV show destinations are also accurately selected to provide an enjoyable business environment. The problem of quarantines at destinations or higher flying costs have already put the tourism industry under pressure with the summer season coming up. While the travel industry is busy solving major issues such as the distancing on aircrafts, the exhibition world is working on alternatives to bring the marketplace together again.Another aspect at stake is the different speed and conditions with which thecountries will allow international mobility in the coming months. 

Direction towards a brighter future

Each solution has an impact. Client needsand expectations drive the discussion at the VIV organizing teams.Safety andinnovationwill lead the evolution of the VIV platforms. The VIV experience stays very much at the core of theVIV portfolioidentity. These challenging timesare most likely to drive the whole exhibition industry and VIV worldwideto present an even better product that connects supply and demand via innovative and empowered platforms while guaranteeing health & safety protocols.The best events will adapt and build compelling face-to-face and digital values for their stakeholders.

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