The International Consumer Electronics Show is the place to be in January if you are into technology and innovation. Each year, thousands swarm Sin City in order to get a preview of what’s next in tech and gadgetry. And as a five year veteran, I consider myself pretty well-versed on CES and it’s happenings.
I’ve compiled a list of 10 Best Practices for the International Consumer Electronics Show for those of you who may be new to the Big Show, or want to learn my tips of the “trade”.
Here we go…
Have a Plan
What is your overall goal of attending CES? If you aren’t sure, it should be something you should identify before you actually arrive. Because CES is so huge and massive, you can get swallowed up (literally) if you don’t have a plan in place. Are you going to cover the event from a journalistic standpoint? Are you going because you are a fan of tech? Whatever your reason, CES is an overall better experience when you have a plan in place.
My plan is to cover everyday tech items and stories that my readers will be interested in while also showcasing some of my favorite events and spots in Las Vegas. So when I go, I know how to attack the showroom floor(s), what booths I will be visiting, who I want to interview, and what events I want to go to. Having a plan in place makes it much easier to actually have fun while there.
Pack early so you make sure you have everything you need. But also make sure not to overpack because there’s nothing like lugging around a bunch of stuff that you probably won’t use. My prep is simple: When I attend CES, I pack two smartphones, two extended batteries, a camera, and a small purse to hold my wallet, hotel key, etc. In the hotel room, I leave my tablets and laptop, as most of my reporting work is done after I have left the trade show.
If you are taking notes on the floor, you may want to bring a small notepad with you as well.
In terms of clothing, I wear something that is comfy yet cute. You will be walking for miles during the show, so comfortable footwear is a must.
Brands will want to meet with you if you are covering the show for press or for your own blog or website. Because of this, scheduling appointments is a practice most of us use. Make sure as to not overbook yourself—keep in mind the locations of the appointments and how long it will take you to get from point A to B. I try to schedule things back to back in the same area with breaks in between. Keeping your schedule light could help keep the stress at bay.
Speaking of stress, make sure that you book some time for yourself as well. You will undoubtedly be tired at the end of the day from all of the walking to and fro, but you also want to have some time during the day to regroup, refocus, and relax. Make sure to add this time into your schedule so that you can actually enjoy yourself while you are there.
Use the CES app
The official CES app for iOS and Android is a lifesaver, as it has a list of the brands and companies and what area of the show they are located. There is a paper guide that CES also provides, but it can be hard to keep up with during the hustle and bustle of the show. Having the app on your phone and/or device will come in handy and is a must for those of you who want to get the most out of your experience.
Bring a Good Camera
If you are covering CES for your website/blog or for press, you want to make sure to have a good camera to take proper photos. And if you plan on doing video, a wireless microphone is a must if you will be reporting on the show floor.
Attending CES for the full duration can be costly. So, it may be more cost effective to get a roomie to split hotel costs with you if you are paying out of pocket and aren’t sponsored or covering the event for work purposes. And if you are paying your own expenses, you can write them off as a business expense on your taxes, so keep those receipts!
Last Day May Be the Best Day
The last day of CES may be the best day. Why? Because brands are breaking down their booths and don’t want to have to send back giveaway items and freebies. So if there are extra and you are roaming the show during the last day, you may make a come up on some good stuff. Don’t count it out.
Get Your Tweet On If You Can
If you have a good signal (which can be tricky if you are an AT&T user—just saying) while on the CES floor, use Twitter and share your experiences using the #CES hashtag. I’ve actually gotten some pretty good hookups using Twitter while at the show, and I’ve even won a few things, too. Brands who are actively looking for people to cover their items are utilizing Twitter, so make sure you are visible if that is your goal.
If you are looking to work with brands you’ve met while at CES, then you want to make sure you follow up after the show is over. This can lead to a good working relationship with you and the brand, which can also lead to other cool things. (oh, and make sure you bring plenty of business cards with you—I order 500 before the show so that they are ready to bring with me to CES).
Here’s to a great experience at CES. Make sure to follow my 10 best practices for the International Consumer Electronics Show, and most of all, enjoy. There is nothing like it!