Las Vegas is the mecca for trade shows and conferences, especially tech trade shows like the upcoming HIMSS 2018 in March. The “City of Lights” hosts around 20,000 trade shows every year - the biggest being the Consumer Electronics Show in January - and with so many events going on (not to mention the crowds), attending a Las Vegas trade show can seem a bit daunting.
This comprehensive guide to attending Las Vegas trade shows will help you have a great exhibiting experience without feeling overwhelmed. As always, it’s a good idea to plan everything out before you arrive.
Prearrange your transportation to and from the airport
Given that the Las Vegas McCarran International Airport is always incredibly busy, it’s important to figure out your transportation options before you land.
- Hotel Shuttle. If your hotel provides a shuttle, this is probably the easiest and most hassle-free option. If you’re checking luggage, remember to book the shuttle for around 30 minutes after you land to allow yourself enough time.
- Public transportation. The Deuce is the name of Las Vegas’ public bus transportation system, and is the most cost effective way to get to your hotel from the airport. The Deuce doesn’t stop at the airport, so you’ll have to take the Route 109 bus to the South Strip Transfer Station to get on from Terminal 1.
- Taxi or Ride Sharing (Lyft/Uber). Taxis are still one of the main ways of getting around town in Vegas. There is an abundance of them throughout the city and there will definitely be several waiting in line at the airport. Uber or Lyft is another option for those who have the app.
Keep in mind location when booking your hotel
Generally, the closer you are in proximity to the trade show venue, the better. Although the closest hotel may not look like the most inexpensive option, keep in mind the fees you’ll rack up in transportation.
Las Vegas transportation to and from the trade show venue will add up fast (especially if you make more than one trip per day). Another thing to keep in mind is that if a specific hotel has paired up with the trade show to offer special deals, you’re more likely to meet other exhibitors, attendees, and potential leads outside of the trade show. Those extra leads you may pick up will pay for themselves!
Check the weather beforehand – and pack accordingly!
Las Vegas can be a bit of a wildcard when it comes to weather. Summers are incredibly hot and very dry, so packing light is essential if you plan on being there anytime from May through August. Here are a few tips:
- Bring layers – spring and fall can be a bit chilly during the day, and even though you’ll be indoors most of the time, the air conditioning will likely be running and can make things a bit cool indoors as well.
- The air is always dry in Vegas, so remember to bring plenty of chapstick and moisturizing lotion. You can also request a humidifier when you check into your hotel room; many offer them.
- Remember to drink water! Staying hydrated is key throughout the trade show – especially as you’ll be talking more during presentations and pitches, which can strain the vocal cords if you aren’t drinking enough. Bring a water bottles with you and fill it up at one of the water cooler stations at the trade show.
Book seats for entertainment and shows ahead of time
If there’s one thing Vegas is known for (besides casinos), it’s the live shows, entertainment, and fine dining restaurants. With that notoriety comes popularity, however, and it’s important to reserve seats or tickets way in advance; most of the bigger names will sell out. Rather than spending hours walking from place to place, trying to figure out what’s sold out and what isn’t, book all your reservations ahead of time.
This is especially critical when attending a big convention such as CES, because there will be even more people than usual trying to check out everything Vegas has to offer.
Note: treating your employees or work team to a show or a fun night out is a great way to boost morale and build camaraderie. After all, the fun part about going to a trade show is getting to experience a new city!
While you’re there, take care of (and pay attention to) your health
It can be easy to get caught up in the excitement and enthusiasm that accompanies a trade show, but taking on too much can lead to being stressed out and ultimately take a toll on your health.
This is especially true in Las Vegas, which has hour attractions and parties going on 24/7 – which may be tempting, but it’s still vital to get plenty of sleep. Sufficient rest will help you feel confident and relaxed at your trade show booth, rather than trying to speak with potential customers off an hour’s worth of sleep.
Las Vegas trade shows offer so many incredible opportunities for you and your company, and the right amount of preparation and planning can go a long ways in creating a highly successful trade show experience.