Best Practice: Hybrid tradeshow models for the future

October 19th, 2020

The traditional tradeshow model is going through a rigid transformation process, and there will be remarkable effects on the normal b2b matchmaking channels. Our first three articles described these developments and offered hands-on advice how to cope with the changes. But what does a hybrid event with effective online channels look like? What are the best practices, and do we already have best practices cases, since the entire industry is in an experimental phase at the moment?

The Exhibition Think Tank Club ( undertook a so called “sprint” in August to find the best hybrid practice cases that are available today. .  Around 100 industry professionals organized into eight groups searched for best in class hybrid events. After four weeks the groups shared their research results and four examples were collectively identified. Interestingly, only one of the four came from a traditional event organiser. It was a food trade show in Asia which also launched an online marketplace.  Two other hybrid best practices came from Apple and Cisco. The participants of the think tank were specifically impressed with the professional execution, the content and the extremely well moderated online sessions of these hybrid events.

Take “hybrid” seriously
The fourth and maybe most remarkable hybrid best practice case came from a company that has not been active in b2b matchmaking for too long. It is a French company matching wine producers with wine buyers, called Hop Wine. The company’s service is to create a truly hybrid b2b matchmaking format. It could be said that the company took the word “hybrid” seriously and developed it to the next level. It assembled a buyer/seller journey that ultimately results in a perfect business match.

But what does this journey look like? Firstly, the company collects sample wine bottles from different wineries - the exhibitors. After that, the sample bottles are repackaged into units of four to six bottles which are then shipped to private or business buyers from different categories. This way each buyer gets exactly the range of products that fit their product requirement best. Finally, a world class product presentation is conducted when the products arrive with the potential buyer.

A matchmaking journey is created that uses all formats: live as the products are available for the potential buyer and can be tested or tasted and an online experience that brings these products to life.

The think tank agreed in the discussion that experience, impact, content, execution, and moderation are the key ingredients that make a hybrid event truly stand out. I hope we will find far more best practices in future!

Not enough best practices? Further hybrid tradeshows can be found in this article published by CBI:

Matthias Tesi Baur, MBB Consulting Group, exclusive for SIPPO