Virtual Trade Show Pros and Cons to Consider

In the age of technology, more and more things (and even events) are heading over to the virtual space. This transition is highly welcomed by businesses and companies for a lot of reasons. 

One event in particular that has been observed to do well in the world wide web is the trade show. Most people have this general mental image of what a trade show should look like: a convention center or venue jam packed with booths and a whole mess of visitors. If you’re worried a virtual trade show will take that away, then worry no more because different platforms can make virtual trade shows look like anything. Find out more about how virtual trade shows work by visiting GSE AV’s blog here. For those who aren’t yet sold on the idea, here are some pros and cons to consider regarding the virtual trade show. 

It’s Cheaper

The first pro is one of the more important factors for businesses to consider when deciding between a live trade show and a virtual trade show: the virtual trade show is way cheaper. Consider the costs that typically come with hosting a live trade show: the venue, the advertisements, the organizing committee, and more. 

Even for the businesses, the cost of displaying at a trade show should also be considered. Typical costs would include the booth space, the booth decoration, as well as, the employees’ travels, accommodations, and meals. 

A virtual trade show will be cheaper in a lot of ways. First, businesses won’t have to send their employees to some destination to attend. And since these trade shows can take days, businesses won’t have to get them accommodation as well. Furthermore, you won’t have to prepare printed material and souvenirs to give to passing visitors. The costs of attending a virtual trade show will be greatly reduced. 

It’s More Efficient 

Having an event in an online platform will surely have its perks – and one of them is the ease of getting personal data from visitors. In live trade shows, it is a common sight to see booths getting people to fill out their forms and sign up to newsletter subscriptions because it is a common way for businesses to get in touch with prospective leads. However, all that is simplified in a virtual trade show because records of online visitors can be automatically saved including the personal information of those online visitors. 

Another way virtual trade shows can be more efficient is by maximizing the usage of the platform. For sure, there are some things that would be better presented in person, however there are also some things better explained through the screen. This is especially important for software industries because a virtual trade show can really make software products shine. 

Virtual trade shows are also more efficient in the sense of setting it up. If you’ve ever presented at a live trade show, then aside from the traveling, there’s also the hassle of putting up the booth and getting it setup. This is all done away with at a virtual trade show as most of the work, if not all, will be done on computers alone. 

Since virtual trade shows exist on the internet, you don’t actually have to put it down after the event. Some virtual trade show platforms actually offer to let the booth remain available for the public for a much longer time period, even up to a year.

It’s Environmentally Friendly

If being environmentally friendly is important for your business, then the virtual trade show just might be the one for you. There are numerous ways a virtual trade show is more environmentally friendly than a live trade show. 

Firstly, a virtual trade show won’t require people to travel just to attend it. Trade shows attract hundreds, if not thousands, of visitors alone and that kind of carbon footprint is not something that can be ignored. The beauty of an online platform means everyone can just stay in the comforts of their homes to attend an event that may be happening halfway across the world. 

Another reason a virtual trade show is more environmentally friendly is the fact that businesses won’t have to print hundreds of flyers and brochures to give out to passing visitors. More often than not, these printed materials will eventually go to the trash anyway so not having to do this will not only save money but also help save the planet as well.

Con: It’s Not Personal

There are indeed numerous advantages to a virtual trade show but it’s far from being perfect. One way a virtual trade show can’t live up to a live trade show is the loss of that personal touch. Businesses would opt to send their best salespeople to display at their booth as these people are skilled to really connect with the market. 

These are personal skills – the way they talk, the language they use, how they interact with other people, the general aura they give out. A virtual trade show will greatly dampen the skills of these great salespeople, forming a weaker bond between a business and a market compared to a live trade show. 

Aside from the salespeople not being able to connect as much with online visitors, the absence of physical reminders such as souvenirs would also mean a missed opportunity for further connection. At a live trade show, an attendee can remember a business every time they use a pen they were given with that company’s name and logo. This won’t be the case for virtual trade shows.


Even if there are still hesitations towards participating in a virtual trade show, you could greatly benefit from just giving it a try just from the cheaper cost and convenience alone. Virtual trade shows may not be as popular as live trade shows now but in time, that could very well shift entirely. Businesses are known to be successful when they get with the times and this might just be an opportunity to do so.