Convention Center Calendars Are Filling Up as Trade Shows Roar Back

Commercial Zone Blog

October 28, 2021

Convention Center Calendars Are Filling Up as Trade Shows Roar Back

Few industries were harder hit by COVID-19 than trade shows and conventions. In 2020, industry revenue nosedived 72% from the previous year, and more than half the companies in the events space were forced to cut jobs, according to the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry.

A new study from the organization shows that the damage to the industry hasn’t been as severe or as long-lasting as many may have feared. The study found continued demand for trade shows among both exhibitors and visitors, with 72% of visitors saying they plan to continue attending trade shows just as often – or even more often – than they did before the pandemic.

Convention centers across the U.S. are already witnessing that demand. The nation’s largest convention center, Chicago’s McCormick Place, has been busy with events since this summer, among them RetailX, Morningstar’s 2021 Investment Conference and North America’s largest metal forming trade show, FABTECH. In October, True Value Hardware hosted its annual Fall trade show at McCormick Place, drawing 11,000 people, while the National Association of Convenience Stores was attended by more than 22,000.

McCormick Place’s calendar will remain busy for the foreseeable future: it has scheduled more than 120 events for its current fiscal year, which started in July and runs through June 2022.

Atlantic City, NJ, is reporting a similar convention bounce back. Larry Sieg, president and CEO of the city’s convention bureau Meet AC, says the Atlantic City Convention Center has been experiencing “tremendous” business. “People, I think, are very eager and hungry for in-person meetings again,” he said.

Earlier this month Kentucky welcomed the return of the country’s 6th largest trade show, GIE+EXPO at the Kentucky Fair & Exposition Center, where vendors reported packed floors and attendance not far below that show’s record 2019 figures.

With so many visitors pouring back into convention centers after an almost two-year break, now is a great time for facility managers and show operators to ensure that their venues not only look their best, but are also equipped to meet the trash and waste needs of such large crowds.

From waste and recycling containers, planters, benches, cigarette receptacles and related accessories, Commercial Zone specializes in fixtures that harmonize with exhibition spaces, creating a cohesive look across the entire site. Our trash containers are both functional and visually appealing, with our popular Precision series standing out as a particular favorite at convention centers for its sleek, modern appearance and easy maintenance. These stainless-steel designs elevate the look of any space.

When replacing outdated trash containers, it is important to ensure that exhibition halls have complete coverage. Studies have shown that people are more likely to properly dispose of garbage if there is a trash container within 10 feet of their location. The longer the gap between trash containers, the more likely people will be to litter. Outfitting your space with the proper number of trash containers is an easy way to keep it clean and inviting, and to ensure that visitors and exhibitors are more likely to come back.

Learn more about the innovations available from Commercial Zone — which includes over 200 unique products in a wide variety of materials and finishes — at Or call 800-782-7273 to talk with a member of our team of trained experts, who can help you integrate them.