5.12.21 – SSN -YARMOUTH, Maine
With trade-show season starting up again, including some of the industry’s key conferences going with a hybrid format, this month’s News Poll looks to gauge where readers are with traveling in the coming months and remainder of the year
With trade-show season starting up again, including some of the industry’s key conferences going with a hybrid format, this month’s News Poll looks to gauge where readers are with traveling in the coming months and remainder of the year.
Many security professionals dipped their toes into conference travel by attending PSA TEC in Denver last week, and with ISC West – notably the industry’s biggest trade show – coming up in July, the goal of this month’s poll is to take the industry’s temperature (no pun intended) on this important topic.
When asked, “Do you plan to attend or exhibit at any in-person shows in the Spring/Summer?” readers were split, with nearly half (47 percent) saying “no,” and 41 percent saying “yes,” with the remaining 12 percent saying, “maybe.”
Security professionals seem much more willing to attend or exhibit at an in-person show in the Fall/Winter, with 50 percent saying they would travel during that time period, 34 percent saying, “maybe,” and only 16 percent saying they would not travel for the remainder of 2021.
Looking at what factors are most important to their decision, the top three concerns are:
- Getting vaccinated/safety.
- Quality of show/networking available.
Readers Sound Off
As was expected, participation in this month’s News Poll was at a record high, with the SSN inbox filling up with comments that ran the gamut, and readers expressing their opinions on both sides of the in-person travel debate.
Many SSN readers seem eager to get back on the horse, with one reader commenting, “Stop the insanity. Get back to status quo,” while others chimed in with comments including, “It’s time,” “I’ve been vaccinated” and “Let’s go.”
As one reader noted, “The economy and our business segment [are] ready to boom, and I believe a large step to enable this is to start returning to normal business and not everything virtual.”
And still another added, “Get the shows open and let’s move on with industry enrichment and growth!”
Other readers seem a bit leery, asking, “Where is the show? Can I drive or do I need to fly? Secondly, what are the restrictions where the event is being held regarding quarantine, etc.” Another noted, “Unlikely to travel until 2022.”
Not quite there, yet
While many are ready for in-person shows and travel, a more vocal group sent in comments as to why they are not quite on-board … just yet.
“Going to a show is for face-to-face contact and interaction with the people you know and the new people you can meet … That is not possible under existing conditions,” said one reader. “Bumping fists and not seeing the expressions on people’s faces is not conducive to good networking.”
Another added, “I won’t attend any show until masks are not required, and people don’t act like they’re scared of everything and everyone.”
Several readers noted the difficulty they foresee doing business on a show floor while social distancing and wearing a mask, in addition to a possible smaller show than in the past. “Not worth the investment since attendance won’t be at full capacity,” one reader said.
Others were even more adamant, with one reader noting, “Not worth the risk getting Covid! Still too early to have shows!” Another added, “Too much, too soon, and we’ll be fighting another wave of infections.”
The elephant in the room
One key element to all of this that many readers alluded to is cost and possible company restrictions, as travel is mostly company mandated.
“While my safety concerns are a factor, even if I feel comfortable attending, the major deciding factor will be for my company to begin permitting business travel and trade-show attendance,” said one respondent.
Another added, “Depends if my company opens up travel approval for conferences. Spring/Summer is not approved. Fall/Winter do not know yet.”
One company owner noted, “I have no intention of allowing any of my employees to travel to exhibits, trainings or conferences until it absolutely clear that the pandemic is behind us.”
There were others who shared their opinions, unabashed, we shall say.
“With new Covid spikes, new Covid variants and people attending yet to be vaccinated from around the world, having an in-person show may not be prudent,” said one respondent. “Moreover, numerous people and companies have told me they won’t be attending.”