I must have made nearly a hundred trips to Las Vegas by now for trade shows. However, it was until my recent visit [twice, in two weeks for back to back shows] that I got to thinking about all the tips and tricks of the trade that I have learned over the years, most of which Vegas taught me the the hard way. So, hopefully this basic guide “how-to” guide will allow you to learn from my mistakes and enter the Vegas trade show scene with ease.
KEEPING TABS ON YOUR DEVICES
Before even boarding your first flight, I would advice installing a passcode, geo-locator and any other safety measure to secure your phone from theft and misplacement. I’m not entirely sure if it’s just my own bad karma, or if, in fact its true of everyone that Las Vegas has a way of making cellphones disappear, but that has surely been my experience. Being a trade show model and manager, I travel a great deal and have never lost a phone in any city of the world, except Vegas. I have a current tall of five phone lost to Sin City forever.
Phone and laptop chargers tend to be one of the most common items left behind. Once settled in a hotel room, the thought of having to track down a new charger via cab is pretty daunting. Thankfully, some bright spark came up with the idea of purchasing all the chargers from hotel “lost and founds” [likely at a cheaper rate] and repacked them, delivering directly to your hotel. Simply call the front desk, give them your device details and you will have a charger in no time! These up-cycled chargers run roughly $30, money well spent having saved you time and round trip cab fare. I have now used this service twice and can vow for its quality and reliability.
AVOID THE TAXI SCAM
Nearly every taxi traveling city has it’s share of “scams,” but Las Vegas is extreme. If you are traveling to a hotel from the airport, via taxi, be well aware of your route and the route in which your driver seems to be taking. Cab drivers everywhere have been known to take the longest route to get you to your hotel, thus racking up the cab fare. In Nevada, however, this is actually illegal. You have the right to report it and not pay for the expensive fare. The NV Taxicab Authority lists updated approximate fares from the airport to each hotel. It is worth looking up what your fare rate should be to prevent yourself from getting scammed.
When possible, I recommend using credit card over cash. There may be a small additional fee but many cab drivers are known to give change in counterfeit bills, banking on you being in such a hurry that you wont take the time to double check the money.
CHOOSING YOUR STAY
It’s not always possible, but if you are not staing at the horel where the trade show is being held, do your best to choose a “non-gaming property.” It’s quite unfortunate to walk through a smoke filled casino in a full business suit first thing in the morning, and quite unpleasant for your trade show visitors throughout the day [smoke lingers – especially in business wear]. My personal favorite hotel location is Trump Tower. The lobby is clean and fresh with no sounds of “ding-ding-ding,” coming from slot machines. It allows you to start the day relaxed and smoke-free – a please when you are working the whole day on the trade show floor.
When checking in to your hotel, I’d recommend requesting a room close to the elevator. Vegas hotel hallways are unusually long and it’s not fun dragging your luggage a mile to and from your hotel room and walking the extra distance after standing [often in heels] for hours and hours at trade show events.
PREPARE FOR THE WEATHER
Vegas is known for it’s cold, dry winters and the extreme heat of summer, but regardless of the time of year, you’re going to want to remember 2 things: eyedrops and a sweater. Especially if you are visiting from the East Coast, you’ll want to keep eye drops on hand, as the dry air will likely cause irritation and discomfort to those of us who are used to a more humid climate. Always pack a sweater! Yes, you heard me, a sweater – even in the summer. If it’s 100+ degrees outside, it is guaranteed to be freezing inside!
TRADE SHOW SETUP
If you plan on getting last minute booth parts or collateral shipped to you in Vegas, I have two pieces of advice.
1. Don’t have it sent to the show directly, as they will charge you triple what the package is even worth for you to take delivery. It’s called a “handling charge,” but should be referred to as highway robbery – as that would be far more accurate. I’d suggest having the package delivered to your hotel where you can pick it up at the bell desk.
2.Make sure you get the correct zip code! Las Vegas has more zip codes per block than anywhere else in the United States. Hotels, like Hard Rock for example, has 3 zip codes. If you ship to the wrong zip code, you’re likely to have your package sen tot he hotel kitchen and see you’re collateral served up at the buffet. When it lands, if it’s delivered to the wrong zip code, you can kiss all chances of ever seeing it again goodbye.
BEST FOOD FINDS
Let’s face it, if you’re in Vegas, you’re going to eat at least one buffet. Hand’s down, the best buffet in Vegas is found at Bellagio. If you’re looking for more upscale eats, the top “expensive” meals I have had were at Joel Rubuchon at MGM Grand and at “Alex” at Wynn.