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GSK 2016: The Linkedin Influencer Event

GSK16_linkedIn While It isn’t for everyone – by invite only – it mostly consisted of 22-32 yr olds listening to 45 yr olds tell them what is the next big thing in business, social media, disruption techniques, etc.  Just as a note: people over 45 – actually have MONEY to spend.  how many 24 yr olds do outside of Silicon Valley?

As a member of traditional media, I was excluded from some of the closed events like the impromptu “blogger” news meet up. While I understand totally their disdain for “old” media since we’ve done such a crappy job of covering actual news and most of the networks have become one long infomercial for the presidential candidate that shall not be named in case he manifests, we can still report what is news worthy and what is just a fad.

The problem with the Linkedin model is while it is the best platform for business, they fail to differentiate between a lone person on a job hunt (at 29.00/month to be a premium member) and someone who has a job – therefore income and can afford the 29.00 a month. So there are 1000’s that are left behind – once again.

My takeaways from this event:

  • If you are an intern – you get to do social media and get paid to attend this conference while still making less than what one pair of shoes the paid speaker is wearing.
  • The Aria is still a beautiful hotel but their convention space leaves a lot to be desired.
  • The trade show area was mostly apps and analytics

The parties were worth the time it took to schlep from valet to the trade show area.

Trade Show Season in Las Vegas: Tips to Survive

Yes the countdown is on for Trade show season in Las Vegas. January until June is the 1st season. September to mid November is the 2nd one with events like Electric Daisy Carnival, Well Rounded Las Vegas & National Finals Rodeo filling in the time frame to keep our hotels packed.

If you want to visit Vegas in the “off season” it’s December 15-24. that’s it. Cheap hotels. Free buffets. Lots of Glitz.

Otherwise if you are a road warrior like we are and attend over 150 shows per year, here is what I recommend.

Invest in a really comfortable pair of shoes. Forget heels or wingtips. Yes they look good but honestly, NO one at trade shows, especially the bigger ones cares about your Manolos or Ferragamo pointed toe wing tips.

If you want to dine a specific restaurant – make a reservation. Especially in high season, many exhibitors book out entire restaurants for private dining. Use Open Table to secure you seat AND do not be late.

Put all your trade show related items in a folder and make sure you put it in your carry-on. Badge/hotel confirmation/floor plan – and yes there are apps for this BUT none of the convention centers OR hotels has great wifi and cell service. We want folks to gamble not use their phone. Side note: Map your show before you go.

If you are an exhibitor or event planner – make sure you have your logisitics, booth plan, meetup locations, and staff lists with you. A copy of your order form from GES or whoever is servicing your show, and the cell numbers of the booth staff If you are hiring local folks to staff your booth, make sure you speak to them prior to arriving – ideally meet them for coffee ahead of time. and have BACKUPS just in case. Nevada is a very low wage state and people will take another job for a quarter more. True story.

If you plan on arriving early or staying over, make sure you have confirmed those dates. Many shows are back to back and the hotels often over book. Don’t think you’ll get here and be able to check in early or extend. You might be spending the night in Pahrump.

Stay hydrated! We are in a desert and even if it is 40 degrees -its a dry cold. All the casinos have free bottled water on the casino floor so when you get a cocktail, ask for a back up water.

Enjoy yourself but don’t over do it. Nothing worse than waking up in Vegas and not knowing what you did the night before. Chances are you’ll find it on youtube eventually. We have cameras everywhere.

The girl eyeing you longingly at the bar probably will cost a couple of drinks and $300.00 for an hour of her company. and she might not be a girl. No judgement .. just keeping you informed.

Finally: Get off the strip. There is so much more to Vegas than just the 4 block area from Sahara to Russel road. Go downtown, walk around Fremont. Explore our Chinatown or go to the Pinball Museum, or the Atomic Energy Museum, or try one of the great off the beaten path restaurants that isn’t in a hotel. If you stay over, take a hike in Red Rock. Or rent a BMW motorcycle and let the desert breeze warm your soul.

Vegas Means Business but we have fun while we are doing it.

Beyond The Booth: We are Growing!

Two new additions to the Gem Communications Empire!

Our new “Everything you wanted to know about the Hospitality Industry” Blog:  The Daily Dunkin

Hospitality includes:  Arts & Entertainment, Broadcasting, Food & Beverage, Gaming, Hospitality Design, Tourism & Travel, Event Planning

Because we are road warriors – we’ll be adding curated Tour guides from Jauntful.  We are starting with Las Vegas and have published 2 so far.

These will be our common theme areas for the 11 major cities that we cover plus some individual guides for things like “Our favorite Secret Spots” NYC or Best Craft Breweries in Portland.

You can follow us – Beyond The Booth


Trade Show Tip Thursday: Go Small or Go home.

Recycled TSTT: I normally don’t repeat trade show tips because there is always something new & exciting at shows but I came across a very good example of this tip and wanted to share a great small booth that had huge impact.

Small booth - huge impact

Small booth – huge impact

This was spotted at the Supply Side East show also known as The Ingredient Show. This was a 10×10 corner but they used all white for their booth with pops of color. You can’t really see it in this picture but they had a Keurig brewing coffee and the smell brought all the attendees to the yard.


Bigger is not always better, except in maybe the case of lottery winnings & apartments in NYC.

From a recent Forbes magazine article after the end of CES2014

If everyone is going big this year at the convention, try going small. Many people are overwhelmed at a booth that looks like a cathedral; they feel lost and unimportant. So instead, use a small, intimate setting, perhaps just a nice table and some comfortable chairs, and concentrate on listening to the people that stop by your modest booth. Depending on the weather and environment, a hot cup of coffee or a cold glass of lemonade is always a guaranteed draw as well!

Nowhere is this more prevalent than at ConExpo/ConAgg. Sure, the big names are all there. John Deere, Case-New Holland, Sanyo, Caterpillar, Mack Truck, Bob Cat. Names that are in our vocabulary & a rudimentary knowledge of what they do but no real idea except when we drive by a work site and see one of their magnificent monster machines at work. These companies take up a great deal of show floor space & capture the imaginations of attendees by offering full sized engines made out of legos or 2 story Autobot Transformers.

So how to make an impact if you are one small 10×10 booth? You can start by having something that will make people want to actually stop at your booth. A cup of coffee or bottled water works wonders in getting people to actually go into your booth. You have planned and paid for this exposure but now the show is so crowded, everyone is passing you by. Nothing like the smell of coffee to lure folks in. and you can sleeve your cups with a company logo & contact info.

Or Chocolate.

Or Beer

Or popcorn – I mean who doesn’t love the smell of popcorn. And you can get imprinted popcorn bags again with your logo and a clever tag line” Thanks for Popping in to our booth #21031 at ConExpo.

Don’t forget to let people know via twitter or your linkedin/facebook pages. “Stop by for a free cup of coffee at booth 21031 & see what we are brewing up in 2014”
LVCC offers all these opportunities.

Now that you have 3 or 4 people standing around your booth drinking coffee (or beer or water) you want to capture them without being the classic pushy salesperson from the Music man. “Oh we got trouble. Right here in Convention city”

How about a short 3 minute video that highlights your company, new product or services? Moreover, while they are watching you can collect their information for a follow up later.

It doesn’t need to be a big booth to have success at a trade show. It just needs to be a big idea to have a big impact!

Las Vegas: PAINWeek

Sept. 6-8, 2013. Pain is a persistent problem in the treatment of many medical conditions.  These can be as diverse as headache, cystitis, fibromyalgia, rheumatism, facial pain and dental pain.  PAINWeek assembled physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses, pharmacists, psychologists, hospitalists, dentists, social workers, and podiatrists, all there to talk about pain, both acute and chronic.  There were more than 60 exhibits with representatives ready to demonstrate their latest products and offer information on the most advanced equipment, supplies, and services for any medical practice. Special sessions included The Complexity Model: A Novel Approach to Collaborative Pain Management;  Learning to Unlearn: How Coaching Is Changing the Pain Management Landscape;  and Developing a Transformative Vocabulary: How the Words We Use Can Make or Break Chronic Pain.  We knew that “words can never hurt you”.. but they can fix pain…? Seriously?

Las Vegas: FTE

September 4-6 2013. FTE?  It stands for Future Travel Experience, and it’s a global affair.  This independent global forum for the travel industry focused on the end-to-end travel process from the passenger point of view – from the moment of booking through to the collection of baggage at the arrival destination – and assessed how every aspect of the passenger experience on the ground can be improved. Hosted by McCarran International Airport, one of the most progressive airport authorities in the world, the event delivered a learning and networking platform through workshops, conferences, airport tours, social events, an awards ceremony and a full exhibition program.  Said program was neatly divided into an “On The Ground” section (focused on the latest passenger-facing tech) and an “Up In The Air” section (looking in detail at The Passenger Experience).  Watch out, apparently there’s a new beast up there called the “Me-Centric Passenger”….

Las Vegas: NACDS-TSE

August 10-13, 2013. NACDS is the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, and the TSE part stands for Total Store Expo.   Attendees were typically buyers and category managers and other product decision-makers from Drug Stores, Supermarkets, Club Stores, Mass Merchants, Convenience, Dollar and Specialty Retail.  Special sessions like Meet the Market were a big draw.  Meet the Market was designed as a special program to introduce the latest innovative products, technology and services to the drugstore retail audience at the Total Store Expo, covering pharmaceuticals and a wide range of other fast-selling product lines. Participating exhibitors presented their company and products to retailers through a series of 10-minute appointments arranged by NACDS, thereby ensuring thousands of presentations in this pre-exhibition event.  Drug Stores never break “the chain”…