Virtual Tours: Design Trade Shows Re-imagine Hospitality

Every year, we look forward to attending HD Expo in Las Vegas, then Neocon in Chicago, and BDNY in New York.  There are other shows, of course, but these are typically the big hospitality showcases in which Beaufurn participates.

Beaufurn modular furniture line for flexible design

This year, however, was a year of not-so-typical trade shows and exhibits. So, we adjusted, pivoted, and reimagined how to showcase our hospitality furniture to thousands of “visitors” unable to physically visit these expos.

The design industry has had to reimagine how it showcases its products and creative services while in quarantine. The “new normal” is now design revealed through webinars, virtual tours, digital showcases, and online conferences.

Through Matterport, a three-dimensional scanning app, we created a digital “twin” of our showroom to post online, pandemic-free.  Although in-person interactions were missing, these events were still interactive and proved that hospitality, just like hospitality design, can come in various forms.

We chose to do all our design trade shows virtually to still engage clients and those in the design industry and to introduce our furniture lines

HD Expo 2020

The HD Expo, held in Las Vegas each year, was the first design show the pandemic forced to go virtual. It’s known for showcasing “the cutting edge and carefully crafted” and for designers “who are part of the industry’s collective, creative buzz.” So, it’s no surprise that it successfully crafted an online version of the expo and conference.

Beaufurn was excited to be a part of that creative buzz and we played our part by offering our own online HD Expo 2020 tour. Visitors were (and are still) able to walk through our furniture design booths to learn about products lines and get a video overview of the newest furniture options of 2020, like the Serene Collection of  outdoor lounge seating or the popular Beaufurn Urban Table Tops, perfect for restaurants, patios, bars, and food courts.

HD Expo is one of the premier trade shows of the design industry and first launched in 1992. Among its best attributes, the design expo provides the chance for hospitality professionals to connect. It brings together architects, purchasers, interior designers, and other creatives. Having it in virtual form did not prevent this from happening.

NeoCon in Chicago

When pandemic restrictions forced NeoCon 2020 in Chicago to go virtual, we were ready! We just offered a virtual tour of the permanent showroom at the Merchandise Mart and launched Beaufurn’s NeoCon 2020. You can still take a virtual walk around our display and explore the Bloom Collection of barstools and side chairs perfect for hospitals, medical offices, hotels, and restaurants. This interactive tour also highlights the Columbus Collection of attractive furnishings.

We did also offer a virtual tour of our actual NeoCon space in 2019 as well.  That year we showed in Chicago, but also had the link available for customers to tour if they couldn’t visit our showroom in the city.

With the need to “go virtual,” NeoCon 2020 released its NeoConnect digital hub on Neocon.com to feature product and company details from NeoCon 2020 tenants and exhibitors as well as webinars, online panel discussions and virtual social events. Beaufurn was pleased to participate in this new format that helped unite the design community despite the limitations brought on by the pandemic.

BDNY in New York

In November, Beaufurn participated in the BDNY 2020 Virtual Conference. Starting with the helpful insight from CEOs and executives of leading hotel companies on Day 1 to the final day with Michelle Finn of Boutique Design Group suggesting ways to solve challenges and changes based on COVID-19.

Again, Beaufurn joined professionals in the hospitality industry at this virtual trade expo and created our own online BDNY2020 virtual tour.

Our Jewel Sofa and Urban Marble Table Tops play a dominant role in welcome our visitors to take a virtual “seat” in comfort and style during this online tour. And while we wish we could pour you a nice glass of wine while you sit on our El Presidente Barstool at the ACRE wood bar, we know visitors imagine doing so with each “click.”

It might not be the typical design expo, but it does allow architects and designers to explore new furniture lines and products (without having to pay for overnight stays nor fight traffic on the way in).

Look Forward to Design Expos in 2021

When it comes to the design industry, the show must go on! Creative virtual offerings enable design brands to provide “attendees” access to their showcases and products without having to leave their home offices.

Despite this being one of the most challenging years for those in the hospitality industry, we learned to adjust, adapt, and re-imagine. We are a creative community and met challenges head-on.  In-person events are ideal. Yet virtual platforms not only solve the present-day need for alternative ways to network and display, but they also offer added venues (perpetual venues) to help design brands network, showcase, and remain relevant.

Along with many brands in the design industry, Beaufurn looks forward to HDExpo 2021, NeoCon 2021, BDNY2021, and other hospitality trade shows.  

Some of the challenges, if these design shows must remain virtual, is not knowing the real-time questions customers have. We are exploring ways to have a local designer potentially “walk visitors through” virtual Beaufurn showrooms and answer submitted questions, or perhaps a voice recording that walks visitors through the show.

We remain optimistic, however, that we will be able to physically gather for these events. We also know that we can present an engaging, re-imagined design show virtually if needed.

Meanwhile, our virtual tours from 2020 are all here:

HD Expo 2020

NeoCon 2020

BDNY2020