Going to Affiliate Summit 2012 in Las Vegas was an adventure. For the past few years, I normally go to four trade shows: Affiliate Summit (East and West), and Ad Tech (East and West). My favorite trade shows are the Ad Tech’s for several reasons, first being the Ad Tech’s are held where I have family. So when I go to Ad Tech San Francisco, I can hang out with my Aunt, and if there is enough time, we go to a Winery in Napa Valley. Ad Tech New York is always fun, plus I have a cousin and his wife that live there so I get to hand with them for a while as well. To me my least favorite show is the Affiliate Summit Las Vegas show (the one that just ended), as I feel trapped, and for me there is not much that I enjoy doing in this city, but I digress……
Here is why the show was an adventure. One week before the show starts, my boss and I decided that it would be a good thing to check out the show and promote the update to our new program. After got off phone I had the task of trying to find a ticket to the show, as it has already been sold out. So I called a rep from a company we have done lots of business with for years, and he was able to call a few people and hook me up with a ticket to the show; it was very awesome for him to help out like that. Then we booked a flight and found a hotel, which was very hard since CES is happening at the same time as Affiliate Summit (which has made finding a taxi extremely difficult and time consuming process this time). The only issue with the plane ticket was the departure time. It left at 6am in the morning, so I had to be up by 3:30 in order to get over to parents house for them to take me to airport. Overall it was not that big of a deal, because it made the most sense so I could get to Vegas by the start of the show, but it was really hard to wake up and function that early.
My company booked the plane ticket with Southwest Airlines this time, which is totally awesome, even though each flight has a layout somewhere; they STILL hand out drinks and free snacks. Also you can pick your own seat. That’s right WINDOW SEATS for me!! So I end up getting to Vegas by 8:30am and never could get any sleep on the plane. So I went and got in the first of many long lines for a taxi. The show was being held a Caesars Palace. I got there worn out and hungry. There was this awesome French bistro making fresh crepes so I got one of those and headed towards registration to pick up my badge, bag, and other necessary things to enter the large convention center Affiliate Summit exhibition being held at. I talked to several people while we waited for the doors to open, but I was already exhausted and the day hadn’t even begun yet.
So the doors to the exhibition hall open up and we all go piling in there as fast as we can. The first thing I always do is get the scope of the land. Going to these shows every quarter (or so) it is always interesting because you see people move from one company to another, so it is always interesting to see where people are at and see who is still at the same places. This trade show was bigger than in previous years in Vegas, there was a lot more stuff and it was down to work. So I pick the aisle that is at the end and start meeting and trying to sell my programs while listening to them sell their services. After getting a few pens (and some light swag) I go through talking to everyone at the booths, while making mental notes on where some prizes and drawings will be held. Thankfully there were several booths handing out chocolates and 5 hour energy drinks. After chugging a few of these I had the energy to keep going on at the show.
Right before the end of the first day, I witness the weirdest thing I have ever seen at a tradeshow (and that is saying something). There were four people dressed up in all blue suits from head to toe. They were mumbling and trying to promote their company: Install Monitizer, which is a pretty decent company with some interesting business model. I only grabbed a 10 second clip; hopefully I will find something online and will post it. You can view the clip here. It is very odd and scared several people away by their weird antics. One thing is for sure any publicity (no matter what it is) can be good, as weird as that show they put on, it had people talking about it even the next day.
Finally the time to leave came; I was starving and tired at the same time. I went to the hotel I stayed at (The Excalibur…which is MUCH NICER than the Rio) grabbed a bite to eat and promptly fell asleep at 7:30 (Vegas time) and woke up 6:30 (Vegas time). Feeling refreshed I was ready for what the day would bring. But it was several hours till the show opened up, so watched several music videos that they had going on VH1 and MTV. Was really cool seeing what they considered “classics” such as Take a Picture by Filter and others, as it has been years since I have seen these.
The next day was very productive as well. Even though a lot of people didn’t show up, as there were MAJOR parties the night before, such as an MMA event, LMAFO concert, and other parties that was being hosted; plus a lot of people going to CES. Even though that was the case I did get a lot more information from companies and made some good contacts by randomly talking to people as they walked by. But as the show drew to a close, this is when everyone in the building gets really excited (no it was not the free Makers/Patron/Crown/ECT at one booth, or even the free beer at other booths.) It was time for the various drawings. One major thing people like about these trade shows is the swag you can obtain. Companies give away stuff such as pens, t-shirts, stuff animals, wallets, and other trinkets. The big things that everyone drools over are: the iPad’s, Kindle Fire’s, a Galaxy Tablet, Dr Dre Beats headphones, Apple TV, iPod/iPhone, PS3 with GT5 and racing wheel set, and Xbox 360 + Kinect with 10 games. Those are the prizes people really want. Some of the drawings will happen over the next week but 5 are being held at the same time 3:00. So people would rush between these five booths to check if you won, as those booths required you be there to claim your prize, because if not they would draw the next card in the stack. Sadly my name was never called out at these five drawings, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t win something really awesome that was never really advertised, unless you asked!
Finally the show ended and I ended up talking to several more contacts I haven’t heard from in a while after the show. I ended up back at hotel and ate at this new BBQ place that just opened up, twas really good. Now I am at the airport once again, formulating in my mind all the words for the myriads of emails I will have to write over the next week and hopefully work with several of the companies I made contact with.
Affiliate Summit Las Vegas was fun and very productive, but I am ready to get home and sleep in my own bed!