What Happens in Vegas … SHOULDN'T Stay in Vegas!
The PPAI Expo is clearly the most significant event in our industry. Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas is taken over with two huge floors of supplier booths, top-notch education, and incredible keynote presentations. There is a brand. section showcasing incentives, a new products pavilion, a "Decorate" area, and a variety of social events.
As valuable as all that is, many Expo attendees will attest that one of the most significant benefits of attending the Expo has nothing to do with the actual event. I'm referring to the personal interactions that are developed through industry involvement...and what we learn through those relationships.
What happens in Vegas...shouldn't stay in Vegas. All the benefits of attending the PPAI Expo should be shared with our colleagues who didn't come, so they can benefit by attending next year. And even before that, we have Expo East coming up!
This year I was invited to join a longstanding get together with some of my industry colleagues. We get along well, because we all are just a bit quirky. Each year they find some odd, of the wall place for dinner...making memorable experiences one night of the show. This has gone on for many years.
As a newbie, I was not privy to the evening plans, but later I learned options could have been a place where you dine in the dark or having dinner in the sky at a table raised into the air. This year, we ended up at a small, order from the counter Venezuelan restaurant, well off the beaten path in a not so great area. And the evening was awesome.
I've never had Venezuelan food. I had no idea what pabellon, chachapas or perico was. Thankfully the staff at the restaurant was very helpful explaining what the dishes were and offering samples. During dinner, discussions on life and business were all over the map. While I was pretty much engrossed with the very tasty food, I was attentive. At one point, coming from nowhere I inserted the quite relevant comment: "Chicken thighs are so 15 minutes ago," which elicited quite a laugh. And laughter is glue in relationships unlike no other. This comment of course would not be funny to you. But that's the point. You had to be there to get it. The five of us at that dinner have memories that make us smile and remember each other. You can't create the importance of that in any other way. Beneficial relationships are built over evenings like this that happen annually at the PPAI Expo. I do hope I will be invited back for this fun get together next year!