While most people in retail real estate have been to the national ICSC Real Estate Conference (commonly known as “RECon”) in Las Vegas, not everyone is a “pro” attendee. It’s easy to forget key points from year-to-year, so whether you’re a first-timer or a show veteran, here are a few tips to help you maximize your experience.
With the conference less than a month away, now is the time to start asking yourself: “What does success at RECon look like for me?” Think about that and then plan your experience around achieving that vision.
Tips from the Planner
- Have a plan for morning, noon and night!
- Plan ahead for breakfast. As your schedule gets busier, you may find that the one thing to fall to the wayside is food. Starting your day with a good breakfast ensures you have the energy needed for a full day.
- Pro tip: Schedule room service the night before to be delivered well in advance of when you have to depart for your first meeting. If you do choose to eat at a hotel restaurant/café, allow for significant wait-times.
- For evening entertainment, plan to attend dinners or cocktail parties. Better yet, host your own special event and invite key people with whom you would like to thank for their business and/or those you desire to build a new relationship.
- A day full of meetings and an evening full of long dinners and parties is exhausting. In addition, jet lag and Las Vegas’ dry climate really takes their toll. Our advice is to give yourself a goal for when you want to be back in your room at night. Stick to it as best you can—it really does feel great to be refreshed the next day!
- You can (and should) work hard and play hard. Schedule some much-needed down time at the pool, casino or wherever you like to unwind.
Tips from the Wardrobe Consultant
- Wear comfortable shoes. You will be walking – a lot. RECon is not the time to break-in new shoes!
- Check the weather before you pack your suitcase. People who tell you that 110 degrees doesn’t feel hot because it’s a dry heat aren’t generally walking around in business attire. Las Vegas typically hits triple digits in mid-May – but it has also been cold and windy — so be prepared!
Tips from the Doctor
- Bring plenty of band-aids and blister block (particularly if you ignored our advice about new shoes).
- Stay hydrated with lots of water. Most companies will have plenty at their booth – don’t be shy to ask.
- Chap Stick and eye drops can help with the extremely dry air.
- Lastly, don’t forget your headache medicine of choice. Late night cocktails with your favorite broker might seem like a good idea at the time, but you will likely pay the price the next morning.
Tips from the Scheduler
- Start planning now by making a list of people/companies you want to meet with and lock-in your appointments in advance. Walking-up to a booth to try to catch someone more times than not just doesn’t work.
- Schedule meetings by exhibit hall/day so you can to minimize walking. Going from the North to the Central to the South Halls consecutively is taxing and doesn’t allow you to maximize your time.
- Allow some free time each day to walk the show floor and view/visit booths.
- Even if you can’t secure an appointment with the person you want to meet, stop by the company’s booth and leave your business card.
Tips from the Travel Agent
- In the cab line, ask the people around you where they are going and share a cab if it’s close to your final destination.
- Maybe it’s the desert air but keep in mind that everything in Las Vegas is much further away than it looks!
- If you don’t have a lunch meeting scheduled at a booth, make sure to take along a few snacks to stave off hunger; nobody likes to meet with someone who is “hangry”!
- Ask people to email you their collateral materials so you don’t have to lug hard copies around the halls. An alternative is to bring a thumb drive and see if they can save the applicable documents there.
- Try to travel to/from the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) during non-peak travel times to minimize wait times in the cab lines.
Tips from the Marketing Department
- Practice your elevator pitch before you get out to Las Vegas.
- Bring plenty of business cards.
- Follow-up with an email, and where possible, a hand-written note to everyone you meet in Vegas. Work on these on the plane ride home while the meeting is still fresh in your mind!
- Network, network and network some more.
- Try to have fun – if you’re miserable, RECon will be a very long 3 days.
- Use the #ICSCRECON hashtag on all your social media posts leading up-to and during the show. Be sure to tag your clients and prospects to share the limelight.