To that point, there’s so much going on at a trade show that it’s easy to lose focus on your core goals and reasons for being there. Avoid this problem and maximize your trade show experience by employing the following helpful ground rules:
PRIOR TO LEAVING FOR G2E
- Write down your specific goals and agenda. It sounds trite, I know, but don’t skip this step! A clear definition of what you hope to accomplish at the conference will shape the rest of your decisions.
- Know your budget. Understand your requirements and limitations, and use that information to establish clear priorities. You cannot effectively seek solutions for your facility without knowing how much money you have to spend.
- Identify the vendors you’d most like to meet, and when possible pre-schedule your appointments with them. Allow ample time (at least five to ten minutes) between meetings to walk between exhibit booths or meeting rooms.
- Prioritize your agenda. Create a “need” list and a “want” list of items you must research, or would like to learn more about.
PRIOR TO LEAVING THE HOTEL
- Rule one is to hydrate. Seriously, just do it. A dehydration headache can turn a day on the conference floor into a death march faster than you think.
- Bring a durable backpack, shoulder bag or wheeled suitcase to store and carry around brochures, catalogs, swag and other trade show materials that you collect. (Plus, you need a place to stow all that water you should be drinking.)
- Dress appropriately for the event you’ll be attending, and remember to wear comfortable shoes. Business casual is generally appropriate for the trade show.
- Bring a stack of business cards to give to vendors and new contacts you meet.
- Pack a pad of paper and pen or an electronic device to take notes with during seminars and meetings.
- Download the G2E mobile application for your smart phone. It offers maps of the show floor, schedules of speakers, workshops, and cocktail receptions, and other important event updates.
UPON ARRIVING AT THE EXPO
- Utilize the coat check at the convention center to store heavy items that you don’t want to lug around the convention show floor.
- Take some time to study the exhibit hall map, or utilize the available mobile application. A little bit of prior planning can save you a great deal of time navigating your way from booth to booth.
- Enlist the help of venue staff. If you are having a tough time navigating the conference, don’t hesitate to ask them for guidance or other helpful tips.
- Make a plan to hit the tables on your “need” list first, since vendors do run out of materials on occasion. Even if these items don’t carry a high priority, do take the time to follow up on them. Keeping a relaxed, open attitude at the convention could lead you to alternative products or solutions that you might not otherwise have considered.
- If you think of additional questions for a vendor after the completion of your appointment, be sure to write them down. Contact the vendor after the show to follow up and thank them for their time.
- Stay for the entire show. You owe it to your employer to be attentive and bring back the best information possible.
- As time allows, browse the exhibit hall and check out the products on your “want” list. Should you strike upon a fresh idea or solution for your facility, you will be one step ahead of your competitors as you plan for the upcoming year.
Good luck, have fun and be safe!