ComQi Pulls Out Of DSE 2020 Over Health Safety Concerns
March 10, 2020 by Dave Haynes
Stu Armstrong, the company’s President, called Monday afternoon to fill me in, explaining it was a very hard decision to back out of a show the company has been at, in some fashion, since DSE’s inception.
It came down simply, he said, to not wanting to require staff to travel and mix in crowded places when there is a nasty virus circulating that could do anything from quarantine them for two weeks to, if they have underlying health issues, potentially kill them.
After monitoring the spread of COVID-19, ComQi has decided to withdraw from DSE 2020 scheduled for Las Vegas in April. If you planned on meeting us there, please reach out and we would be happy to reschedule either by phone or in a more private setting. https://t.co/wqmEDLDrEt pic.twitter.com/8dQW1cBBTP— ComQi Inc. (@comqi) March 9, 2020
I have been watching the exhibitor list for the last few days and it has held fairly steady. While the totals have held up, there are companies quietly pulling out. Denver’s Four Winds Interactive, for example, came off the list last week.
Who knows where this goes, but I assume this is the make or break week for the show’s Atlanta-based organizers Exponation, who have steadfastly maintained it is on. While there is every reason to think the actual risk to otherwise healthy people is not that high, particularly if they follow CDC recommendations for things like hand-washing, the problem with running a show amidst all this is that people may not be able to go to DSE, because:
- large companies are mandating no travel unless it is essential, and getting name-brand end-users is what DSE touts as a key value;
- schools are closing, and parents need to work from home, so they can’t leave home cities;
- people have elderly or immune-compromised relatives they care for or see regularly, and can’t risk bringing COVID-19 home;
- flights are restricted and they can’t even get to Vegas, or if they can, it’s a bear of connecting flights.
Whatever happens, this while thing is a big kick in the financial shins, for organizers and exhibitors. If the show goes forward, it is a very safe assumption the foot traffic counts will be down. We can look to ISE four weeks ago (when COVID-19 was barely in Europe), where traffic still dropped by 30%+. There were zero cases in the Netherlands then, and now there are more than 300, and relatively nearby Italy is locked down.
Pulling out this late, for larger exhibitors, means they’re eating costs for things booth structures, shipping, content, hotel room guarantees, and on and on. None of this is good.
Stay tuned …