CES was big. I mean really big. And really busy. The Las Vegas Convention Center should have it's own zip code if it does not already. See below. Photo is not to scale. LOL!!
So, this post is about the things that I learned while attending such a huge function. Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy myself. It was just a bit overwhelming at times. Here are 10 things that I learned:
1. Don't schedule too many meetings & events: Before CES I got a ton of emails with requests from vendors for booth appointments. I chose some that I did really want to see and setup appointments. Then 3 problems occurred: #1 I got WAY too many emails. As the time drew closer and closer to CES, my schedule started to fill up, so I just had to start ignoring the emails. And the parties… I was trying to figure out how I was going to be in 5 places at one time. I was going to party hop, but not all the parties are close together like they are at a blogging conference. #2 While I was already in the planning stage for CES on my own, Sears got involved and asked me to be a part of the Blue Blogger Crew. I was of course more than willing. It was as great opportunity. However, along with Sears involvement came more appointments and meetings in addition to what I had already setup. #3 I did not realize the hugeness of the LVCC. It was impossible to quickly get from one place to another in the time alloted. The vendors were spread across 3 different HUGE buildings. So, I feel that you (talking to myself really) should stick to setting up only a handful of appointments of things that you REALLY care about. The rest? You can always wander by the booth while you walk around anyway and ask to chat with the PR rep.
2. PUT DR. SCHOLLS PADS IN YOUR SHOES: Even if you think you are wearing comfy sneakers, they are probably not comfy enough. I realized quickly that my Chuck Taylors had NO support. My feet were killing me. And I did not have quick access to some nice gel inserts. I would have said “Ahhhh”. Actually Dr. Scholls should setup a booth next year and pass them out! Hey, Dr. Scholls, call me!
3. Leave the laptop in your room: Seriously, unless you plan to spend a good amount of time in the Press lounge, don't bring the laptop. You will spend a lot of time walking around, visiting booths, taking pics, and chatting. Save the blogging for when you get back to your room. Why? Besides probably not having the time, it will get heavy! You will quickly get sick of carrying it. I know I did. Take notes on paper, your iPad, or Smart Phone.
4. Have a GREAT backpack: CES gave the press some really nice looking bags with a nice cushy pocket for a small laptop with one MAJOR flaw. They were only shoulder bags, not backpacks. Actually, the bags on their own are pretty heavy. After half a day of carrying that thing on my shoulder with my laptop and other goodies in there my shoulder and back were DYING. I kept passing it off to my BF throughout the day. So, even if you don't plan to carry your laptop, have a great backpack for your camera, iPad, and other gear.
5. Bring a GOOD camera: There were quite a few star sightings at CES. I zoned out a couple of times and did not snap pics, but I wish that I would have! Plus there is a LOT of cool stuff going on. I noticed quite a few people relying only on their cellphones for pics. Blah! Bring a good quality camera. It will make your posts look better. You don't want to miss bragging about a CES or Vegas moment because you have only a blurry pic to show for it, or it takes forever to unlock your phone and get to the camera app.
6. Have plenty of business cards: As you walk around, you will do a LOT of networking. PR reps at such events are really good about following up. You don't want to have to scribble your info on a napkin. Keep some business cards in your badge holder, bag, pocket, and coat so no matter where you reach, they will be available.
7. Have a little extra space in your carry-on: You may get a little swag to bring home. I did not get a lot at all. Frankly I was quite disappointed. I had heard rumors such as “You will have ALL this stuff to bring home.” Well, I got only a few things. Perhaps due to the economy. However, that was fine with me because I would not have had to room to bring it in my luggage. PLUS, I was headed to Ford Green in Detroit after and did not need to carry anything extra. I barely had enough room to fit what I did get into my suitcase. So, leave some space just in case you do snag some good stuff.
8. Have lots of cash: I spent SO much $$ on taxi cabs the first day I was there. The CES buses started running on Wednesday, but they only run until like 6:30 pm. So, if you want to do any night time Vegas stuff, you will have to take a cab or the Monorail. And the cabs only seem to take cash.
9. Be prepared to spend a lot on food: Unless you are invited to dinners and brand events (which I was lucky to have happen on most days), you will need to feed yourself. And food in Vegas is not cheap. I had a $17 hamburger accompanied by $7 fries. It was the best damn burger I ever ate! LOL! You will have to venture out a bit to find reasonable places.
10. Bring a friend or two: Having someone to walk around with is great. It is nice to have someone to chat with when you are not “working”. Otherwise you wander aimlessly… alone… with nowhere to go. LOL! Ok, that was dramatic. But it IS Vegas. Hopefully you can work some fun into your trip.
Disclosure: Just a reminder, the first half of my trip to CES was brought to you by the Sears Blue Blogger Crew. The second half was brought to you by AMD. All opinions and advice are my own!