By Lindsay LeCain, Senior Account Executive at Racepoint Global
When I was asked to draft a blog post recapping the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (better known as CES)—I thought sure, I can do this, no problem—bang out 200 words on my client (Yuneec International) why they make some of the best drones in a highly saturated market (because they lead the industry in all things that fly via remote control and because they build real-human sized electric airplanes), talk about how cool Vegas is (celebrities, bars that never close, free drinks) and drop some pithy line in about how “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” but I think at this point, the expressions are beyond cliché and might make your eyes bleed. So, instead, please allow me to take the following approach—a blog post consisting of a stream of quasi consciousness. A listicle of things I thought about, experienced, witnessed and overhead during my three days at the world’s largest tech show.
Long lines: I fully recognize that I am not the first person to call attention to this fact, but do not for even one second think this is something that can be avoided.
Note: Cab Lines -This just might be the single worst aspect of the show, too many people, not enough sharing and traffic means you will be waiting a considerable amount of time to even get into a cab should you be anywhere near the conference areas or hotels. Your best bet at avoiding the lines is to take your life into your own hands and attempt to scurry across the dark crosswalks of the Strip in an attempt to find a less active casino (say, Hooters, directly across from MGM Grand), etc.
Show floor: Let’s get two things clear, right off the bat—CES has tons of stuff and even more people looking at said stuff. More than 160,000 attendees are perusing, poking, watching, asking, photographing, looking, exhibiting, reporting, buying, selling and demonstrating all in a space of around two million square feet. To put this into perspective, this is the same amount of retail space as that of the Mall of America. While shocking, after the first day, that fact seemed less surprising as simply navigating your way back to the booth from say, a media briefing in broadcast alley, takes much longer and far more energy– especially when carrying a drone with flashing lights–than one might suspect. As for seeing all that cool stuff, the sad but true fact of CES is this—you will only ever really get to see your booth. One cannot (while actively engaging people at the booth, securing media briefings and interacting with clients) actually see the cool car features, latest and greatest wearables, etc. If you do have the time to do this, you are likely missing some major opportunities for press…
Note: Remember your booth number (see full explanation below) and be able to help navigate people coming to the booth by number, cardinal direction, major booths, etc.
Cabs: Once you make it through the insufferable lines of people and get into a cab, remember that if you are paying with a credit or debit card, your fare will automatically increase by three dollars. End of discussion. Also, for reference, every time you get into a cab it will cost you no less than $20, each way.
Pro Tips for CES:
- Know your booth number by heart. Be able to direct anyone in Vegas to that location in the shortest number of steps as humanly possible.
- Carry more business cards than you could ever imagine giving away.
- When exchanging cards, make a note on the card of where you met and what you discussed. NB: Keep a note for yourself as well
- Wear comfortable shoes. No, not the cute comfortable ones, the ones that your grandmother would describe as “practical.”
- Dress in layers. It will be cool in the morning, hot on the show floor and even hotter in the late afternoon sun. Remember, this is the desert after all.
- Keep chapstick and water with you at all times. (See desert reference above)
- At night, fill the bathtub with a small amount of water and keep the door open, this will help add some humidity back into the desert air of Nevada. (Again, the desert)
- Don’t forget to eat.
- Don’t forget to sleep.
- Bring an external battery for your smartphone. You never know what you might miss looking for a charger/outlet/cord.
- Always have a pen a paper handy.
- Listen closely to the way the executives, technicians and product managers talk about the product at the booth.
- Engage directly with each individual (see above) asking what they think the best/most important features of the products are. The answers might surprise you…
- Ask the producers, reporters, anyone you are going to meet exactly what they expect you to bring with you for the briefing (e.g., working products, a product they can hold on-to until the end of the shoot, etc.)