How to Plan your Trip to IAAPA

In our 26 years of experience in the Entertainment Industry, Creative Works has witnessed the evolution of trade shows and events. As a company dedicated to designing and creating immersive amusement experiences, we’ve gained valuable insights from an exhibitor and attendee perspective. With the upcoming IAAPA Expo 2023 on the horizon, which is undoubtedly the year’s most significant event, we’re excited to share some of our best tips to help you make the most of your experience.

Create Goals

Before heading to the show floor, take the time to set clear objectives. You’re investing time and resources to attend, so having a plan is crucial. Ask yourself what you hope to achieve, what attractions you need to add to your venue, and what industry insights you need to gather. By establishing a few primary goals, you can tailor your schedule around educational seminars and booth meetings to maximize your time at the event.

Attend Educational Seminars

IAAPA has a huge variety of educational seminars. It’s needs to be noted that these sessions aren’t included in the standard trade show registration ticket. However, if you’re already an IAAPA member, these sessions are complimentary. Review the seminar schedule before your trip and select those that align with your goals. Even if you’re familiar with most of the content, those rare, game-changing nuggets of wisdom can significantly impact your business.

Schedule Booth Meetings

Once you know your goals and you’ve scheduled your educational seminars, set up booth meetings with the appropriate vendors. You should know who these vendors are based on the goals you set in the first step. You can, of course, just walk up to these booths and hope to talk to the right person, but there’s a better way. Instead, we highly recommend scheduling a specific time with a specific person from that company. Don’t miss out on an opportunity for success because there wasn’t enough time or proper planning. 

Some vendors, including Creative Works, offer easy scheduling options, making it a seamless process for you to connect and receive information on their offerings and show specials. Click HERE to schedule an appointment with us while at the show!

Attend Parties

While the IAAPA trade show floor is open from 10am to 6pm everyday (10am to 4pm on Friday), some of the best conversations and interactions happen after hours at parties. The evenings are perfect times to grab dinners with key people, attend networking events, and build better relationships. A lot of vendors host various client appreciation parties throughout the week.

Be Flexible

So far, we’ve talked about creating schedules and setting appointments. But you also have to be flexible. Build free time into your schedule. What will you do during this free time? It doesn’t matter. Maybe you’ll want to take a break and grab a coffee. Perhaps you want to take a nap. Or maybe you’d like to wander the aisle to see what cool things you can find. This flex time will help keep you sane and account for the eventual hiccups; meetings run long, or all the above, etc. We say this from experience. If you try do everything at once, none of it will actually get done. It’s better to focus on the big things first and be adaptable

Other Tips

A few additional tips we advise you consider

  • Bring comfortable shoes, maybe even 2: You’ll be covering a substantial distance and taking a lot of steps. Consider packing a spare pair to switch into when needed.  Seriously, if you haven’t been to this show before, be prepared. There are more than 9 miles of aisles in the convention center.
  • Plan extra time for parking: Speaking of walking, theres a good chance that you’ll unfortunately have to trek a fair distance to the convention center entrance. Be prompt and come with coffee in hand and a patient mindset.
  • Request digital literature and brochures: If you are looking to keep your hands free to shake hands and kiss babies, we advise ensuring you still have a means of collecting the information you need. Most vendors offer a digital version of their literature so you don’t have to carry as much stuff.
  • Bring a portable charger for your phone: We can’t tell you how many times attendees come up to us asking if we have a phone charge they can use. We all know the anxiety that kicks in when our phones hit 10% battery. So bring a charger and avoid the anxiety!

If you implement these tips into your trade show plan, everything will go more smoothly. You’ll accomplish more, see more people, and walk away knowing you got the most value possible out of the trip.