On March 22, Reed Exhibitions USA, a division of Reed Exhibitions (RX) reentered the face-to-face arena when it opened the trade-only 2021 Jewelers International Showcase (JIS) at the Miami Beach Convention Center (MBCC). The show attracted 3,000 buyers and 170 exhibitors from across the United States.
The Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO) and The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI) co-produced a case study about the event — the first show for Reed Exhibitions in the U.S. and the first show at the MBCC since the pandemic — in a continuing series about returning in-person shows.
The jewelry industry has performed well during the pandemic, but “buyers still need to touch, feel, and try on the pieces before committing to merchandise they’ll stock in their stores,” Jordan Tuchband, industry vice president of JIS Events, said in the case study, which helps explain the show’s solid performance.
For RX, the jewelry show was an opportunity to put its health and safety measures into practice. Mike Grant, senior vice president of the operations group for RX USA, said that in order to standardize those practices, RX created an internal task force with members from across the enterprise, not just operations. “We had representation from sales, marketing, conference, and other critical staffers who understood the different specifications within the business,” Grant said in the SISO/UFI case study. “We crafted our plans relative to the pre-show, on-site, post-show experiences. We felt the need to develop our own enhanced protocols and mission statements above and beyond what was being put out by the industry.”
Here is a breakdown of the safety measures RX USA put in place:
- Daily temperature screenings for all attendees and exhibitors, who received a new wristband each day that indicated their temperature had been checked prior to entering the show floor and that it was normal.
- Signage and security stewards throughout the MBCC reminded participants to wear their face covering properly at all times. In addition, signage prompted attendees to wash or sanitize their hands frequently (via numerous stations around the center), maintain a six-foot distance from other participants, and comply with a “no-handshake” policy.
- A dedicated phone number was set up for participants to call or text with any concerns.
- Booth-occupancy limits were established based on the size of the booth. In addition, there was one entry-only door and one exit-only door for exhibit-hall traffic.
- There were no education sessions, networking breaks, or other meal functions in the program. Several F&B carts were set up at the back of the exhibit hall along with large tables set with three chairs and cocktail tables.
- To foster contactless connections, RX US partnered with Konduko, a wireless technology that enabled attendees to use their badges to scan readers at the booths of vendors they wished to learn more about. Eighty-eight percent of exhibitors used the technology and more than 2,450 leads were generated.
JIS was Reed Exhibitions Global CEO Hugh Jones’ first face-to-face event since joining the company in February 2020. “It has been a very hard year for all of our customers, visitors, and our teams,” he said in the case study, “but I’m delighted to say that physical events are back. Exhibitions and trade shows are key to the growth of business and the local economies in which they take place. JIS was alive with the excitement and buzz that comes from meeting friends, colleagues, and business partners once more, and all those present were playing their part in complying with our health and safety protocols to the benefit of all. It was humbling to witness.”
Michelle Russell is editor in chief of Convene.