The Spanish Show Loses 500 Exhibitors

Adrian J Cotterill, Editor-in-Chief

Today is the deadline for companies who wish to cancel their exhibition space at #ISE2021, Barcelona, June 1-4, 2021, and avoid a cancellation fee (getting their money back in full).

Whilst the likes of biamp, Christie, Lang AG, Panasonic and syscomtec Distribution have publicly voiced their support for the event, hundreds of other companies including Sharp NEC Display Solutions Europe and Samsung have realised that the risk/reward of exhibiting is far too great and have pulled out.

It is rumoured that Sony has already pulled out and that Barco will announce on Monday that they are also not exhibiting. Two companies who were vocal back in 2020 that they would not attend the last ISE in Amsterdam, namely LG and Midwich had seemingly never planned to exhibit this year in Barcelona.

I am sure that many a CFO will have been involved in the decision making, drooling at the opportunity to get that money they spent or promised, back into their own company’s bank account.

The dilemma is, even if exhibitors do choose to attend, will there be any significant customers to present to or do business with on the show floor? The discussions we have been having with exhibitors who have cancelled has not been is it safe to go / will I catch or spread #Covid19 but whether there is any real appetite for anyone to attend. With so many corporate (internal) travel bans in place and with doubts still surrounding what each country’s own international travel bans are, then attendance can only be one thing and that’s low.

Also, as one prominent industry observer state-side has been saying for many months now “If as a manufacturer/provider I struggled during the pandemic, can I afford to go? And, If I flourished and made a lot of money, do I really need to go? It’s Hobson’s Choice”.

I will not knock the ‘too good to be true’ deal, allowing exhibitors to pull out of the show with no penalties but it’s likely that by the end of today #ISE2021 will have lost up to a third of its exhibitors.

Remember that the organisers are giving exhibitors, we quote their statement from Monday, “the opportunity to choose if they wish to continue to be part of ISE 2021 Barcelona, without hindrance” by: –

  • No penalty fees will be due for any withdrawals that are made before 5 March (this Friday)
  • Those companies that decide not to continue and have paid in part or full for ISE 2021 will have the option of a full refund of their monies or be able use this as a credit towards participating in other ISE events in 2021 or even as a deposit/payment for ISE 2022.
  • All exhibitors will retain their priority points from ISE 2020 and be able to participate in the rebooking process for ISE 2022 as dependent on their points and priority ranking.

I suspect that the offer to any company that does exhibit that it will receive 2x the points for their participation at the in person Barcelona event will fall on deaf ears – as we said earlier this week, exhibitors are starting to wake up to the fact that the whole points system is a revenue maximisation plan for the organiser and gives little value to them (much like airline loyalty schemes).

If this event ever does take place then it is going to be a very small show for the Spanish locals.

A Hobson’s choice is a free choice in which only one thing is offered. Because a person may refuse to accept what is offered, the two options are taking it or taking nothing. In other words, one may “take it or leave it”

One Response to “The Spanish Show Loses 500 Exhibitors”

  1. Small Exhibitor Says:

    Having seen this coming for months, my small organization cancelled our 100 sq meter booth in November, subject to the 20% cancellation fee. When we wrote this week to request that the 20% now be refunded, we were told “this offer is only for exhibitors who still have a contract with ISE — no refund for you.”

    Nice people! And they clearly know what they’re doing.

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