Leaving (for) Las Vegas: Three Cs to Consider Before The PPAI Expo
After five trips to the Nevada desert, that's still the best advice I've heard, but I've learned a few other things worth mentioning:
- No one in Las Vegas knows how to make a good Manhattan
- Dress shoes are not made for trade show walking
- You need to have a plan
It's a few weeks out, but I'm already planning my schedule for the first week of January. There is simply no other way to tackle the enormous volume of options for you in Las Vegas. You can organize your itinerary however you'd like, but I find it easy to break everything down into simple steps and tackle them one at a time. Here's a few easy-to-remember points to plan before January 2.
Calendar: Starting on January 2, you will surrounded by education sessions, keynote speakers, networking events and parties. Once the ribbon is cut on the show entrance, you'll then have three days to walk two floors and see hundreds of suppliers and thousands of products. Somewhere in there, you need to meet with your preferred suppliers and discuss plans for 2012. And, oh yeah, you're in Las Vegas. You might want to do a thing or two while you're there.
To avoid option paralysis, create a calendar for yourself of what you'll do each day. The PPAI Expo PlanIt is a good place to start. With it you can see who is exhibiting and where, as well as view the schedule of events. Export the calendar to your iPhone and you'll never miss a thing. Or if you prefer to use a different smartphone (Android for life), most have easy-to-use calendar apps that can alert you when an event is about to begin. Whatever you choose, make sure to include any late night plans and parties, and to leave gaps in your schedule for the unexpected. Do this now so you don't need to think about it once you arrive in Nevada. You'll have plenty to deal with then.
Cash: Whether for taxis, tips or emergencies, you'll need cash. Most of the ATMs in Las Vegas give out money in denominations of $50 or $100 only, so if you'd rather have smaller bills, take it out before you get on the plane.
Clothing: Colleen discussed what to wear in her blog this week, but it's important to reiterate that your packing should include a variety of options. Are you wearing suits or shorts? Will you be walking the the trade show floor or the red carpet at PPAI Awards Presentation? Most of us will be in Vegas a solid five days, so you'll need a few options. If you have a plane-worthy garment bag you're in the clear. If not, fold pants into other pants, turn jackets inside out, and roll up T-shirts and socks to use as padding for more delicate items.
The most important thing to consider regarding your clothing is what to wear on your feet. As I lamented back in June, I have no idea how to not mangle my feet at a trade show. If you can wear sneakers, take advantage of it. If, like me, you aren't so lucky... like I said, Las Vegas is no place for nice shoes. Or Elisabeth Shues.
Yes, this was all a set-up for that joke.