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CES Survival Tips from Hotwire’s CES Veteran

Laura Macdonald

Hotwire has over 20 years of igniting possibilities for tech businesses. Hear our expert views and insights from our team on the latest developments in the industry.

I’ve been going to CES for many years now, and while it’s a show I love to hate, I definitely felt the lack of it last year. So as we’re gearing up for what feels like it’s going to be a very busy week, here are my survival tips for the show. 

Prepare, prepare, prepare 

You can’t just show up in Vegas and hope to connect with people. With such a massive presence across multiple sites, just happening to bump into influential people or media by chance is highly unlikely. Get in touch with everyone you want to meet, whether that’s reporters to see your latest products or new networking connections, ahead of the show to make introductions and get on their radar early. There are also some key media events – like CES Unveiled or Pepcom – where you know people will be. So, if you have news or products you want media attention for, make sure you’re at these events so you stand a much better chance of getting connected. 

Have a flexible mindset 

But preparation doesn’t mean being fixed. With the size of CES and getting around Las Vegas often challenging (many hours of my life have been wasted in lines for the Monorail), being tied to a set timetable will not work. Build in large windows of meet-up times, keep your phone close to reorganize locations and times on the fly, and be accepting that not everyone you want to meet will be able to show up. 

Be close 

With the need to be flexible, make sure that your ‘home base’ for the week is close to the action – but not in the action. Now, the location will vary depending on who you’re trying to meet up with, but some good options are the Grand Lux Café in the Venetian (close to what was known as the Sands Convention Center), the bar at the Renaissance Hotel (close to the Convention Center) and the Chandelier Bar in the Cosmopolitan (central and fancy!). Organizing meetings in the same location or just letting people know that you’ll be there can be great for drop-bys and flexibility, and also means you’re not the one wandering the show floors. (Additionally, we’d recommend staying center Strip too, ideally on the monorail, so that you can get around by foot/public transport rather than relying on Uber/Lyft to get around). 

Have back office support 

Being on the ground at CES is busy, so having back office support is crucial. Particularly this year where we know that media outlets will be doing more off-site – for example CNET who are planning to have a CES setup in their Los Angeles office. Having a team back in the office who can be monitoring for coverage, sharing assets for media requests and facilitating enquiries is crucial to moving fast and delivering results. We also have this back office support to help coordinate networking schedules and booking.

Enjoy it 

Yes, CES is A LOT, but you’re in Las Vegas! And there are definitely a lot of opportunities for fun, even if you’re working. From networking events, to major parties, make sure you’re making the most of it. I mean, where else do you get to see Lauren Hill perform in an intimate concert, or have dinner with Beyonce’s drummer? And if you don’t have any plans, let us know as we’re always open to meeting up for coffee, happy hours and more! 

I’m actually really looking forward to CES this year, and hope to get connected IRL with many of you for the first time in two years. Reach out and let’s meet up.