For first timers, CES can be a place of wonder and excitement, but without proper preparation it can also be immensely overwhelming. Not to worry, though! We were first timers ourselves at one point, so we’ve put together our best CES tips for navigating 2018’s massive tradeshow to ensure that you get the most out of your first trip to CES.
1 – Plan Ahead
With 180,000+ attendees, three massive buildings and 4,000 exhibits spanning over 2.6 million net square feet, “winging it” isn’t recommended. In order to get the most out of your time at CES we recommend planning ahead. Set up any meetings via email prior to arriving and know that it will take you longer to get from point A to point B than you think. Incorporate cushion time into your meetings if you’re worried about getting there on time. For example, if you’re setting a 30-minute meeting, set your next one an hour later if it’s in a different building.
It can also help to draw out a map highlighting the exhibits you want to visit most and where your meeting spots are. Take note that CES isn’t a quiet tradeshow, so plan accordingly if you have important meetings set. Try utilizing your mornings for coffee meetups and evenings for dinner meetings.
2 – Use CES Resources
The masterminds behind CES provide a variety of useful resources to navigate the labyrinth tradeshow including maps, a mobile app and shuttles. Our best advice? Use them.
The mobile app has everything you could possibly need for navigating CES 2018. We’re talking exhibitor lists, schedules, push notifications for important events, in-app networking, turn-by-turn directions, and the ability to create your own personal CES agenda. Did we mention turn-by-turn directions? There’s even a help bot if you have questions!
As we mentioned earlier, with 180,000+ attendees you can imagine that ubers, taxis and trolleys aren’t all that accessible without a wait. You have the option of waiting out the lines with a cocktail in hand, or you can use the shuttle system and shuttle map that CES offers complete with stop locations, shuttle routes and all boarding locations. In a nutshell, use the resources and you’ll be better off.
3 – Consider Alternative Routes
Have you ever tried navigating a crowded shopping mall during the holidays? CES is very similar, but tack on a few extra thousand people and their rolling bags that they intend to fill with swag. You’ll find that if you stay within the halls of the building, you’ll accidentally kick a few bags, and no matter how much you grumble and nudge unfortunately, no one is going to move any faster.
We’ve found that the best way to navigate the conference is to consider alternative routes and walk outside the convention halls to avoid crowds and save yourself some time. Plus, the weather in Las Vegas is usually really pleasant and refreshing after being crammed in with herds of people for a few hours.
4 – Wear the right shoes
Finding alternative routes and making your way around CES brings us to our next point: shoes. For all the ladies attending, try picking out a comfortable, yet stylish, pair of sneakers or anything other than a pair of heels that will leave your feet crying out for help at the end of the day. Just trust us on this one.
5 – Bring Business Cards
Keeping that 180,000+ number in mind, just know that you’re going to meet a lot of people. Make sure to bring plenty of business cards with your updated site and contact information so people can get in touch with you after CES.
6 – Fortune Favors the Prepared
Lines, lines and more lines. CES will be full of them, for everything from the restroom to outlet access and more. With that many people in one area you should go in with the mindset that charging your devices won’t be easily accessible, so make sure to bring battery packs and whatever else you may need to stay charged. You’ll also benefit from filling your pack with granola bars, extra snacks and a water bottle – others will envy your preparedness.
CES is most certainly a learning experience, and we learn something new every year that we go! So, start with these five best practices for navigating the monster tradeshow and you’ll be off to a good start. We’ll be on the ground at CES this year, so tweet at us for more tips on how to make the most out of your trip, or get in touch if you want to schedule a quick meeting with someone from our team while we’re there.