This month, email experts from all over will descend upon Las Vegas for MailCon 2020. As many MailCon attendees are aware, Las Vegas is a convention haven. More than 6 million visitors (that’s x2 the population of Chicago) visited Las Vegas to attend a convention in 2019, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.
The popularity of Las Vegas as a meeting destination is no surprise. With world-class restaurants, plenty of conference space, and—of course—ample hotel rooms, the city is well-equipped to support business travelers from all over. But Sin City can also take its toll on even the most seasoned conference or trade show attendee.
So what does it take to successfully make it through a conference in Las Vegas?
It’s a lot like successfully making it across an actual desert: you have to plan ahead, keep your wits about you, and drink plenty of water.
5 Tips for Surviving a Las Vegas Conference
1. Be Prepared
The best way to avoid getting burnt out on your Las Vegas conference is to put in the work beforehand. Look at your conference website and the schedule before you go so you’ll know important tips and be able to put a rough plan together.
Even if you don’t stick to your own schedule 100%, you’ll avoid getting stressed while trying to figure out what’s happening next at each hour of the day. Plus, knowing your schedule will give you the chance to schedule little breaks or determine when you can get something to eat.
2. Get Shoes Made for Walking
Las Vegas is big, and its hotels and exposition halls are no exception. Expect to be on your feet for the majority of the day, covering lots of ground from your hotel to the conference to any evening activities.
In order to traverse this vast and unpredictable landscape, make sure you have shoes that are able to keep your feet comfortable all day long—or at least long enough to make it to the happy hour.
3. Give Yourself a Curfew
Las Vegas hotels and casinos are specifically designed to keep people up at all hours of the night so they keep gambling. These buildings are famously devoid of clocks and windows, use a labyrinth of corridors, and feature bright lights and colors everywhere to stop you from turning in. It’s up to you to decide how much sleep you want to get.
The best way to do this is to set a curfew for yourself, possibly with an alarm on your phone. Take care not to be too ambitious—you’d likely blow right past a notification telling you to head to bed at 8:30 pm—but try to pick a time at night when you know your networking opportunities will be winding down. The key to remember is that you’ve got another big day of meetings and sessions tomorrow!
4. Stay Hydrated
Just as you might if you were visiting Las Vegas 100 years ago when it was just a dusty old west town, one of the most important items to have on you at all times during a Las Vegas conference is water.
Between the breakout sessions, the endless chatting, and all the coffees and happy hour drinks, you’ll be much happier throughout the day if you keep a bottle of fresh water nearby. Vegas can be rougher than most convention spots, because of the dry Nevada air and the omnipresent cigarette smoke. Having a bottle of water will keep your whistle wet and keep you energized and clearheaded throughout the day.
5. Act Like the Whole World is Watching (Because it might be!)
A conference in Las Vegas is a great way to make new connections, with plenty of exciting social opportunities. But as you enjoy the fun with familiar contacts or make new friends, you’ll want to be sure to keep maintain a put-together and professional attitude at all times.
You’ll be in Las Vegas representing your business and in a world of ubiquitous camera phones and social media, the last thing you’d want is for one out-of-context moment to unspool all the goodwill you accumulated during your Vegas conference stay.