1. Do your research. This may seem obvious, but it should not be overlooked. Visit the WWDMAGIC website and mobile app for the dates for each trade show, the floor plan, list of vendors, seminar schedule, and other events. Know where each trade show is located, and plan your transportation accordingly. (It can take up to an hour to go from LVCC to Mandalay Bay on the shuttle.) You'll save a lot of time and you won't be surprised if you go to the trade shows prepared.
2. Prioritize your goals. Do you have ten buying appointments to attend? Looking to discover five new brands? Are you trying to watch four seminars? Speaking on a blogger panel? Working at a footwear booth? Organizing a fashion show? Got cocktail events to attend? Vegas is not only full of distractions, it's large, and it takes a lot of time to get around, especially if you're using shuttles or cabs. Have a clear idea of what your top priorities are so that you can stay focused, use your time wisely, and meet your goals.
3. Nourishment is key. It's easy to lose track of time and forget about basic things like lunch when you are busy at the shows. My strategy is to carry water and healthy snacks (almonds, apricots, an apple, and walnuts) for sustained energy throughout the day, and I aim to have lunch either before or after the noon lunch rush.
4. Bring tools. As a blogger, I've found that comfortable shoes (these boots are my go-to), a digital SLR (mine is Canon) and business cards are key for me when walking around, visiting booths, meeting people, and watching blogger panels. I also carry a small notebook, my cell phone charger (like this one), and pens. (You may find yourself hunting for wall outlets to charge your phone, especially if you're like me and you're using Instagram and other social media apps. Fortunately, outlets are easy to find in the hallways if you're roaming around Mandalay or the LVCC.)
5. Expect lines. Some seminars can draw large audiences, so go at least 20 minutes early if possible so that you can secure a place in line and ensure that you get a seat. Allow at least 30 minutes to walk to the proper location of the seminar if you're not familiar with the floor plan, or up to 60 minutes if you're taking the shuttle from Mandalay to LVCC or vice versa. In addition, lunch lines can be time consuming, so plan on spending up to 15 minutes waiting in line to place your order.
6. Know how to network. Networking is about building meaningful relationships with people. So it's not just passing out your business cards to everyone you meet. It's about developing genuine connections with people in a way that can benefit you both. I don't consider late night parties at night clubs (where people are drinking and dancing) effective for networking. A group dinner or intimate party, however, may offer better opportunities for meeting and talking to people.
7. Have fun. Like #1, this one may sound obvious, but when you're busy and sleep deprived, the trade shows can be exhausting and stressful. Remember to take the time to have a positive attitude, absorb the fun energy, appreciate your surroundings, enjoy yourself, meet new people, and be inspired by all the amazing creativity and fashion around you.
August 2016 update - Shop summer favorites: