New to the CONEXPO-CON/AGG experience? With thousands of exhibits to see and millions of square feet to cover, it can be a lot to take in, even for seasoned veterans. But with a little prep work and a go-with-the-flow attitude, it’s a show that can help move your job, and your business, forward. Here’s what to expect as a newcomer — plus a few strategies for making the most of your first visit.
If you’ve visited Las Vegas before, you know — nothing is as close as it appears. So, make sure to allot yourself enough time to get from your hotel to the Convention Center each day. Take a look at a map before you arrive and plot out your course, keeping in mind that the monorail might be the best option depending on where your hotel is located. Plan for big crowds, which may slow you down a bit (but make for great people-watching).
Speaking of plans, it pays to make them BEFORE you arrive on the show floor. You can’t possibly visit all 2,800 exhibits, so do some research in advance to decide which products you want to see, which technologies you want to try and which events you want to attend. To help with your planning, here’s a look at the new service offerings, machines and technology Caterpillar will have on display. Also, let your contacts know you’re coming to the show and make plans to meet up — put the word out via LinkedIn or email. CONEXPO’s a great place to foster existing relationships and start new ones.
Because of the distance from most hotels to the Convention Center, it’s not easy to pop back to your room when you need a break. Besides, there’s so much to see and do that you’ll want to commit to spending the whole day on the show floor and festival grounds. Operator Stadium, Caterpillar’s 70,000-square-foot outdoor arena, is worth an entire day (or more) in itself. You’ll be walking around a lot, so don’t weigh yourself down with a heavy bag, but do carry the essentials: your ID, plenty of business cards, a phone charger, a water bottle and a few snacks. A jacket with zippered pockets is a great way to keep everything secure. Nothing ruins a CONEXPO trip like a lost phone or wallet.
About those business cards — don’t carry them around for nothing! One of the biggest benefits of a show like CONEXPO is the opportunity to meet the people who make the products you rely on and learn from your peers. Make it a point to talk to both exhibitors and other attendees and don’t be afraid to attend events solo. (Lots of others are doing the same.) Give people your card and collect theirs in return. When you get back to your hotel room, jot down a quick description to help you remember what you talked to each person about. It makes follow-up much easier.
Five days in Vegas can be exhausting. Pace yourself — it’s a marathon, not a sprint. And it’s not all work, either. You’ll find all kinds of fun contests and activities at the show, and even opportunities to rub elbows with a celebrity or two. Definitely mark Tuesday, March 14, on your calendar to see the world’s best operators go head-to-head in the Global Operator Challenge Finals at Operator Stadium. Check the schedule to find out when you can watch Mike Rowe host Mike Rowe Live. And enter The Big Ticket Giveaway for your chance to win a Cat® mini excavator or other worthy prizes.
Your first trip to CONEXPO-CON/AGG is one you likely won’t forget. And if you follow these first-timer tips — along with advice on how to get the most out of the Caterpillar experienc at Operator Stadium — chances are you’ll be ready to return and do it all again three years from now.
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