Every January in Las Vegas, over 100,000 people flock to the Super Bowl of tech, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). This showcase of emerging technologies from companies both large and small sparks imaginations, inspires deals, builds relationships, and makes (or breaks) companies in the year that follows. It’s a can’t-miss event for tech companies as well as anyone involved in tech, sponsorships, corporate partnerships, marketing, and advertising.
As CES grows in size and scope year after year, managing your time for meetings, exploring the convention floor, and even eating can be challenging, especially if it’s the first time you’ve gotten to experience this incredible frenzy of new tech. With that in mind, we’ve got five quick survival tips for you to consider so you can make the most of your CES experience.
1. Stay light on your feet.
It’s tempting to grab EVERYTHING and stuff it into your bag before you leave the hotel for the exhibit floor. But before you shove in that extra computer battery or multiple copies of that presentation, think about what you will actually need during your time walking the floor. Keep your bag limited to the essentials and your shoulders, back, and legs will thank you.
2. Get comfortable.
During your time at CES, you are going to walk. A LOT. If you have step goals on your fitness tracker, you’ll love this because it’s pretty much guaranteed you’ll hit your goal every day. Your feet? That’s another story. If you don’t treat them right, you’ll be in for a long week. Make sure you pack a pair of comfortable shoes for walking. If dress shoes or heels are part of your daily wardrobe, grab a set of cushioned insoles to slip into those shoes.
3. Get ready for crowds.
Remember the number of attendees we mentioned at the start of this blog? Yes, over 100,000. With that many people roaming around one event, you will most certainly be next to (and maybe even shoulder-to-shoulder) with a stranger that’s just as tired of the all the crowds as you are. Practice patience, breathe deep, and follow your plan, if you have one.
4. Plan. Plan.
Speaking of plans, you should have them. It’ll make your CES life so much easier. Check out the exhibitor’s list a week (or even a day) before you hit the floor and figure out where you actually want to go. Plan your lunch(es) and have backup options at the ready. Plan to leave the convention center for lunch. Food options could be hit-or-miss and seating for everyone in your group will be even less reliable. Need to entertain clients while you’re there? Are there opportunities for dinner meetings? Plan ahead and have backups for those plans, too. Everyone is booked, they won’t hold reservations, and there’s no such thing as “Let’s see if we can just walk in for dinner.” It could be the difference between treating a client or your team to a steak dinner and waiting an hour and a half to grab a table at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company (which can be a tasty option, depending on your mood). But while plans are always encouraged and almost required…
5. Don’t be afraid to roam.
All the giants have spent millions in R&D, product development, floor space, and booth construction, so those are the destinations that will naturally draw the most attention. While you’ll most certainly see some cool offerings in those locations, there will be some diamonds in the rough you can find if you go off the beaten path. These smaller vendors have emerging tech, are looking to make a name for themselves, and could be great opportunities to get in early on a company that could grow into something big.
Meeting someone on the convention floor? It’s a good idea to roam in this instance as well. Pick a place on the periphery instead of going straight to the larger, more “iconic” booths. The crowds won’t be as large, so you can hear better on your phone if you need to call and you’ll be easier to spot.
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