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Washington DC: Homeland Security – AFCEA

Unsurprisingly, cybersecurity dominated the discussion at the AFCEA Homeland Security Conference in the nation’s capital. The depth, breadth and variety of topics surrounding cybersecurity and information protection in all its forms indicated the degree to which the information security mission has engaged every department and agency, at all levels of government.  Challenges still remain in information sharing and interoperability, agreed speakers and panelists.  Information security officials from various agencies voiced support for the Department of Homeland Security’s Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation (CDM) Program, which is designed to fortify computer networks across the federal government. Officials from the Homeland Security Department (DHS) stressed the need for strong partnerships.  One of those, we heard, is with FLETC, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, which is becoming known as the “Disneyland of law enforcement” because of the facility’s extensive use of sophisticated simulation technologies.  Roll up, roll up for the ride of your lives…!  #AFCEA

Chicago: Pittcon – Conference On Analytical Chemistry & Applied Spectroscopy

Pittcon is the world’s largest annual premier conference and exposition on laboratory science, organized by The Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy, a Pennsylvania not-for-profit educational corporation comprised of the Spectroscopy Society of Pittsburgh (SSP) and the Society for Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh (SACP).  Pittcon attracts more than 18,000 attendees from industry, academia and government from 90 countries worldwide.  The target audience is not just “analytical chemists,” but all laboratory scientists — pretty much anyone who identifies, quantifies, analyzes or tests the chemical or biological properties of compounds or molecules, or who manages these laboratory scientists.  Pittcon, we heard, has evolved into an event that now also serves a diverse constituency encompassing life sciences, pharmaceutical discovery and QA, food safety, environmental, bioterrorism and other emerging markets.  Here’s your lab-coat…  #pittcon14

Vegas: Hospitality Week 2014: Nightclub & Bar Show + Catersource + Pizza Expo

1st let me just state for the record I think these 3 shows should combine. There is a  precedent  “Expo Design Week” that included the Exhibitor Expo, Global Shop & ASD/AMD Spring;  “Design Build Week” moving the May show KBIS (Kitchen & Bath) to coincide with the International Builder’s Show (IBS2014) and Vision Expo – which is window coverings and the ever popular FWLV – with all the apparel shows wrapped into one week.  Since the NCBShow is the most expensive badge, add a few dollars on to it – say charge 150 and it covers all 3 shows. And even if you don’t do this, could you stagger your hours so that we can at least get a morning or an afternoon at each of the other shows on the expansive list. With movie theaters looking to expand their offerings to more adult fare like cocktails, gourmet pizzas & event based nights out, perhaps even adding NATO aka CinemaCon to the offerings might be advisable. More bang for the Exhibitors buck! And if you do so: We at Beyond-the-Booth should get lifetime trade show passes. Just saying.

Fresh off our night at CinemaCon we sprang up on Tuesday to rush over to the LVCC ready to see what is the newest in culinary, cocktail & pizza offerings. Starting with the keynote at the Pizza Expo – was  Donatella Arpaia, frequent judge on Food Network’s Iron chef & owner of a “glitzy” pizzeria in Manhattan. The expo opened at 10am. It was a veritable feast with the latest in ovens, dough hooks, store design and of course: Pizza! #PizzaExpo2014

Luckily it was just across from the Nightclub and Bar Expo that opened at 12n. And really who drinks before noon in Vegas? Well everyone, actually. Always one of our favorite shows, we feasted our senses on the visual feast that is NCB. Celebrities were everywhere, including some from across the strip from CinemaCon. The flair bartenders were showing off their expertise in flipping a bottle in the air and having it pour just the right amount into a crystal encrusted martini glass. I have to say my favorite sighting was the booth bunnies done up in Duct tape. I just hope they waxed beforehand. Everything you could want in a club, lounge or bar was exhibiting from flavored jumbo condoms to flavored toilet seat covers to booze infused fruit. #NCBShow2014

And finally we made it over to

Catersource – the annual trade show dedicated to catering, personal chefs and event planning.    Menu planning, tablescapes, setting up social media for each event (and believe me many trade shows could take advantage of this seminar) floral arrangements and destination planning were all included under the Catersource umbrella.  We were invited to their opening night party aptly titled MUSE, held at the ballroom in Bally’s. Full of glitz and glamour it was the perfect start for a conference dedicated to creating amazing and memorable events. #CSES2014



Trade Show Tip Thursday: 5 Must haves for your Conference & Trade Show

1: Easy to navigate website:  I cannot stress this enough. Attending 700+ trade events per year gives us a little bit of knowledge on this topic.

Website’s Front page:

  1. 1. Big Honking Registration button
  2. 2. Search feature (try google’s – it’s free)
  3. 3. Brief UPDATED description of what your current show offers. No one cares that in 2013 40K people attended – save that for your exhibitor’s page.
  4. 4. Link to What’s new for 20xx (pick a year this advice is timeless)
  5. 5. Clear navigation tools

2. PR in Advance- aka Social Media: Set up your twitter # (hashtag)  at least 3 months in advance & put it in your twitter description. Make it simple like #ShowNameYear Set up your 4Sq – I cannot tell you how many shows overlook this tool. It is invaluable to finding who else is attending that might be a good cross match to both your attendees & exhibitors. Same with Instagram. If you don’t have a trade show account, get one then encourage all your exhibitors and attendees to post their photos with the present up # (that is the SAME as your twitter one- can’t believe i have to write that)

3.  Badge Pick up vs Onsite Registration:  The advantage of registering prior to the show is to make it faster from the badge pick up to the show/conference floor. It should not include having to show 30 pieces of ID in order to retrieve your badge. It’s like voter registration: less than 1% of people will be fraudulently trying to to attend your show. Make it easy for those who do. (I’m looking at you #CONExpo – 2 hour wait, lines back up to the street – not a good start) Speaking of badges. Even the most technical show should have a trade show only options. Especially if you are in a large market venue like Orlando, New York or Las Vegas. If it’s a medical conference – sometimes the staff of a practice can benefit from just attending the trade show but not at 1K per head. Or maybe someone is thinking of getting into a career in aviation. What better way to find out what opportunities are available than attending the trade show.

4. New Product Showcase:  How hard is it to carve a space out on your trade show floor, upcharge your exhibitors a set amount and post a list of participants with new products on your website? Not hard at all and worth it to both attendees who are looking to expand or upgrade their lines and for exhibitors looking for new clients. Win-Win. And event management looks like a champ!

5.  Social Meetup:  No matter what your business is, there is always a need for personal engagement. Sometimes a conference and trade show are the only interaction many companies have with their peers. Sure everyone has a group breakfast or dinner but it always includes a speaker and/or presentations/awards. Not much time to meet & greet. So why not offer a ‘tweet-up‘ on the show floor. Like the new product showcase, you can carve out 100 feet – put a couple of chairs there and at 4pm or 10am or 2pm have a daily “Tweet & meet.” One of the best peer to peer engagements we’ve ever seen or been to is at the annual Exhibitor’s Expo. they have a big white board called Dinner with Strangers. Every night they have a dozen or so restaurants & a facilitator who coordinates the dinner. It’s usually limited to 6-10 diners. there is a set menu of $25-35 – and you have dinner with people you don’t know. Its a great way to expand interactions among attendees/vendors and for those who are the sole person from their company or they are new to the industry they don’t have to dine alone.  At the NAB show, TWIT-Tv sponsors a photo walk down the strip. they limit it to 100 participants but every year they pick a different section and stroll along  snapping pictures with their cameras, cell phones & tablets. afterwards they meet up for cocktails and share their adventures.

It is no longer just booking conference space & having a trade show. It’s about engagement pre-during-post show.  Most of these should be intuitive but it is surprising how many conference planners forget they are in the service business and attendees/exhibitors are their customers.

Vegas: CinemaCon Day 2: Universal Studios

Day 2 of CinemaCon2014 kicked off with a breakfast presentation about alternative content such as the Broadway, Lincoln Center and various other live musical events collectively known as “Event Cinema” and why the members of NATO should utilize it.

The it was right into the Keynote of the Day:   State of the Industry. All presenters proclaimed it Good! Strong! Healthy! (and someone from the audience shouted out – Thanks to Obamacare bringing down the house) Former CT Senator Chris Dodd – Chairman of the MPAA said he will continue to push Congress to pass SOPA – and spoke of his ongoing efforts to encourage theater owners to use new technology to deliver their content thus keeping up with the market. There was some panel discussion on a subject very close to my heart and the reason I actually stopped going to movies: Cell phone usage. Touching on the recent murder of the texting dad at the theater as an outlier, the cons of cell blockage noted that use of cell phones inside the theater could create excitement and buzz for the movie on social media while those who were pro blockage argued that it causes too much interruption to those who are actually looking for a “phone free zone” – it was suggested that multiplex theaters might want to implement a “quiet zone” or special no cell showings of movies. Still nothing was resolved and I shall continue to wait for Netflix and OnDemand.

It was Universal Day at CinemaCon and they delivered their slate of upcoming films starting with the trailer for “Neighbors” with Seth Rogan that opens next month but has already been screened at SXSW a few weeks ago.  They also offered a full screening later today.

Universal trucked out their stars to get the buzz going on many anticipated films for 2014-2015:  Director Angelina Jolie was there for her upcoming biopic “Unbroken” the story of 1936 Olympic runner Louis Zamperini and his survival of the Japanese P.O.W. camps.  Jeff Daniels appeared for the 20 years in the making sequel to “Dumb & Dumber To.”   Other sequels were Ted 2, Pitch Perfect 2, Fast & Furious 7 (see below for trailer)  & Jurassic World.  Some new original content (or perhaps just some sassy remakes) were “Lucy” a SciFi staring Scarlett Johansson; “Get on Up” the James Brown biopic starting The Help’s Octavia Spenser as his mother

Here are the trailers of the movies I actually am looking forward to:

The Seth MacFarlane’s A Million Ways to Die in the West – Spoiler alert on the cameo! Quite frankly I was expecting Ron Perlman to do the voice overs.

Fast & Furious 7:  So long Paul Walker. I’m anxious to see how they work around his death using the footage that was shot already.

Minions and no it is not about TeamBeyond-The-Booth – but it should be!

and finally the 1st look at probably the most anticipated movie of 2015, so far anyway,  50 Shades of Grey  Collectively known as #FSoG – I mean the every surface of Caesars was covered with the backside of Christian Grey so it was good to see what the hype was all about. Full Disclosure: I didn’t read the book.  However I am a huge fan of Seattle so I look forward to seeing the scenery.

We spent the afternoon on the trade show floor – mostly at the concession stands! Big Score? White Castle gave out Crave Boxes! Why hasn’t White Castle opened in Vegas yet? What are you waiting for?

Since its inception as recently as 2011, CinemaCon has become the largest and most important annual gathering of cinema owners and operators from around the world, and the eyes and ears of the worldwide motion picture theater industry were focused on the proceedings.  Professionals dedicated to Cinema Exhibition, Film Distribution or Production, the Equipment or Concession fields, and absorbed with Marketing, Advertising or the burgeoning field of Social Media Networking, or indeed the design, construction or financing of movie theaters or the exciting world of digital cinema… they were all there for their big-screen moment.  They came to witness the latest, most innovative technological advances in theater equipment, and the newest, most scintillating offerings from the concession world—everything they needed, in fact, to satisfy the demanding needs of today’s sophisticated moviegoer.  I’m ready for my close-up now, Mr. deMille….  #CinemaCon




Vegas: CinemaCon 2014 – Day 1 – Paramount

The annual schlep to Vegas for NATO (National Association of Theater Owners) collectively known as CinemaCon (formerly known as ShoWest) kicked off today with a series of seminars and previews.

We started with a meet up of long time pals from my previous life in entertainment including my former accountant and lawyer, who were trying to entice me to get back into craft services. Unlikely but I do love hanging out with them. Boosts my ego that I’m actually still relevant while living in the cultural desert of Las Vegas.

Our 1st (and little did we known only) panel was the Rotten Tomatoes vs. Audience where critics assured the full room of theater owners and “industry” personnel they were still much in demand even while lamenting the loss this past year of long time critic Roger Ebert.

We then proceeded to wander the hallways to find the opening night reception where every available surface was skinned. Including the elevator doors with a nice teaser portrait of Christian Gray.

After a cocktail, we all trooped en masse to first previews of the night brought to us by Paramount. Being a huge fan of the comic book/high fantasy genre I was excited to see the 3 big block busters coming to a theater near you:  Hercules – with The Rock, Transformers: Age Of Distinction with Mark Wahlberg taking over for Shia LeBouf who is otherwise occupied, and the big one for the under 30 set: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – scoring the most skinned surface at the show. Several other clips were shown – Hot Tub Time Machine 2  (did anyone see part 1?)  and a 3D SpongeBob Squarepants and the new more somber Adam Sandler/Jennifer Garner film: Men, Women and Children. Christopher Nolan was on hand to pump us up for his Interstellar starring the very hot-star-of-the-moment but absent from CinemaCon – Matthew McConaughey.

Line of the night was from Duane “the Rock” Johnson (does anyone ever call him Duane?) who quipped: “Happy to be at the 1st night of ComicCon”  which later lead Marky Mark to say “I actually thought this was an episode of Wahlbergers” referring to his family show & business in Boston.

After 1.5 hours of Paramount Pump up we adjourned to dinner called “Taste of Vegas” showcasing the many restaurants of Caesars.


Trade Show Tip Thursday: Live from the Floor at #GlobalShop

Trade show Tip Thursday is brought to you live from the show floor at GlobalShop 2014 by @LasVegasLoopy (that’s her twitter-follow her!)

  1. Don’t beeline for booth visitor- Note: if we have questions, we’ll ask you.
  2. Don’t use visitor’s name –Note: it’s creepy
  3. Don’t ask visitor how they are – Note: See #1 & #2
  4. Don’t sleep in booth  – Note – this Is very common to booth personnel from outside of Las Vegas
  5. Don’t ask out a local – Note: Again Creepy.
  6. Don’t ask where the store is if you have never been to Vegas before
  7. Do have Free Booze –Note:  always a booth draw and legal in Vegas
  8. Do put business cards out.  Note:  Why are you at a tradeshow if you don’t want people to contact you?
  9. Do be witty with your displays – Note: Small but clever booths are awesome
  10. Just say No: Booth Babes, Bikes, Cars – Note:  If they have nothing to do with your product!


Uber creepy baby display

Uber creepy baby display