It’s 5am and I can’t sleep. Interbike is on my mind and it’s keeping me from allowing my eyes to stay shut. The list of people and products I want to see is a mile long. Unfortunately, many of my local friends that usually make the trip won’t be this year. Some are injured (like Allison Mann above pouring her heart into a watt meter contest), some are just too busy and some can’t get away from their full-time gigs. This year will be my first time visiting the Outdoor Demo. Previous years I didn’t have enough time in my schedule to allow for both shows. I made sure of it this year. I also made a last minute hotel switch to Treasure Island. I was going to stay at Excalibur on the cheap but then realized if I am going to be in Vegas for an entire week, I need to be comfortable where I want to be. Also, Treasure Island puts me walking distance from the Sands Expo Center and also offers complimentary wifi. Excalibur still uses wired internet in the rooms. Are they still partying like its 1999 over there? Geesh.
One of my new cycling friends, Arleigh Jenkins aka Bike Shop Girl, made a great point on her site the other day about trade show marketing and media. I’ve been covering trade shows for what seems like forever and is more likely around 12 years. Not a year goes by that I don’t receive countless last minute show appointment emails. In fact, this morning at 5am, day one of Outdoor Demo, I am getting emails about meeting at Outdoor Demo. Really? I’ve come to the understanding and accepted that this is how it is many years ago. I realize we are all busy and often leave marketing and PR behind. Well, stop it. Make the time to get your emails and invites out 2-3 weeks before trade shows. Give the media a chance to book time with you or risk the chance of being missed. You spent a lot of money getting to the show, don’t waste it.
Another good point and something else you need to do a better job of doing is letting the masses know about booth specials, show specials, parties, etc… If you want people there, you need to let them know. Not just your close friend with a blog. Get on Twitter & FaceBook and promote your event. Send out PR to magazines and websites ahead of schedule so they can talk about it. If you cannot afford the time to get properly prepared for trade shows, hire someone for 2 weeks to do it for you. It may be the best two week check you ever spent. Think about it.