Nadia Askar: A guide to show travel
Prepare and plan
These next few months I will be traveling to quite a few trade shows, members meetings and media events. In preparation for these events I have been working ahead and getting content ready for RJ 2.0’s next issue in December. I have also been putting itineraries together to make sure I get everything I can out of my trips. However, when the show floor of an event is bigger than a hotel ballroom, figuring out where to start can be daunting, not to mention exhausting.
Gearing up for just such shows, many organizations are writing articles containing helpful tips for attendees to take full advantage of their time at their show. Here is what I’ve learned from past events:
Register early. In addition to possible discounts on registration, you also get email notifications about any changes/additions to the itinerary. With this info you can properly plan your days ahead of time and not stress out before the trip.
Book travel and hotel accommodations ASAP. As the show dates get closer, the airfare and room rate can increase in price. Although it can be difficult to gauge what will be going on in your business or personal life a year or even three months before the event date, that is where trip insurance and hotels with free-cancelation policies come in handy. Also, the hotels closest to the event locations will be the first to fill up, and the further from the show you are, the earlier you will have to start your day — or you will have to choose to forgo morning events.
Have a plan. You can plan your day a few different ways. One is to create a chart in Excel and type out all the things you want to do, booths you want to visit and even places you want to eat. You can also just write everything in a travel-size notebook.
Some shows offer apps you can download. These apps often have show-floor maps, a list of speakers and events, a bookmarks page to create your own itinerary and even a guide of local restaurants and attractions. It is also important to wear comfortable shoes and stay hydrated. You may want to bring some hand sanitizer as well. You won’t be learning much if you catch a cold.
Network before, during and after. Make connections and learn about all the newest products and technology available. Many shows have a hashtag they use so you can follow what is going on in real-time. In addition to following show posts, you can follow your favorite manufacturers and trade publications. I will be tweeting and posting from every event and you can easily catch up with what RJ 2.0 is covering by following us on social media and/or typing #RJLive in the search box.
Even after the event is over, look back at what you learned in those educational sessions and make short-and long-term goals to put those lessons to use. Keep in contact with people you meet and don’t be shy about asking for advice. A lot can be gained from attending these types of events and hopefully you’ll see the positive effects both at work and in everyday life.
And if you see me at these events, please don’t hesitate to come up and introduce yourself.
For those that can’t make it to an event for one reason or another, RJ 2.0 has got your back. We will be posting photo galleries, blogs, videos and event coverage features on our website. If there is a particular breakout session you want to know more about or a booth you want a virtual tour of, just reach out and ask. We are here to provide the content you want to see/read.