Have you booked your flight? Can you believe the cost of the hotels this year? It starts on a THURSDAY?? Did I register for a Floor Pass?
Yes, it’s that time of year again when it all of a sudden the entire marketing industry suddenly realises that CES is only a few days away and they really need to get their stuff together. CES, begun as a chance for tech companies to show off their new cool products to consumers, has now become an essential event in the advertising and marketing calendar.
But if you are new to CES, it can be a bit of a blur. So how do you know whether you have done everything you need to do? And are there any potential pitfalls you should avoid? Well, I have been leading tours at CES for C-level marketers and senior agency leaders for over a decade now and wanted to share my checklist of things you need to help you survive Vegas.
Hope it helps. 🙂
- Book your flight. Seriously. I cannot believe you haven’t booked your flight yet.
- Download the CES app. Not only is it actually quite useful in planning the trip, the Consumer Tech Association continually updates it during the conference to ensure you are aware of any scheduled changes or major announcements that occur during the conference. There are always major announcements!
- If you are arriving on Wednesday or Thursday, avoid the crazy taxi line at the airport by taking the shuttle buses. Not only is it 15-minute wait versus an hour, but it’s a fixed price under $10. Taxis will repeatedly try to rip you off by telling you that traffic on the Strip is terrible and ask if they can take the highway. Yes, you can, but I would suggest using Lyft or Uber instead. Just be prepared for mega-surge pricing. Yes, I know you are likely on an expense account, but waste the $$ on dinner, not the ride.
- Pick up your CES Badge at the airport. You can use the QR code in your email confirmation or you’ll need photo ID and a business card. I repeat, and a business card, to get the badge.
- Clothing: Comfortable shoes and a sweater/coat. With most of the hotels, the walk from the elevator to the taxi or bus shuttle line is 10 – 15 minutes just to start off. You’ll be navigating thousands of booths on mostly hard concrete. Do not try this in heels.
- Bring extra power for your phone. Over 175,000 tech nerds each carrying 4 devices puts a lot of strain on whatever cell/wi-fi signal is out there. This forces your device’s processor to work incredibly hard to keep the signal, which drains your battery faster than a Taylor Swift relationship.
- Be prepared to have spotty cell service. Connectivity in the actual LVCC is almost impossible and, yes, it’s the definition of irony.
- Given the Thursday – Sunday schedule this year (which, if you were wondering is mainly due to the way that New Year’s falls and the inability of the show floor to be set up before Thursday), you may have very little time to actually walk around all of CES. Here’s a shortcut: The top floor of the Sands Expo, which is adjacent to the Venetian, has some very interesting tech: 3D Printing, Smart Home, Fitness Tech. It also has a showcase in the back of the conference center of the prize winners of Best of CES. It’s a good place to get a quick synopsis of the hottest tech for 2017.
- Allow 40 minutes to travel anywhere. Taxi waits can be an hour, especially if you are leaving the Las Vegas Convention Center between 4-5pm.
- Chapstick and water bottle. Between the canals of the Venetian, the dancing waters of the Bellagio and the beautiful horticulture at the Mirage, it’s easy to forget you are actually in a desert. Make sure that you stay hydrated and bring lip balm, as your lips will tend to dry out quickly.
Compiled by Unruly’s SVP of Client and Agency Development, Jeff Minsky