The upcoming ICSC RECon convention has been referred to as the ‘Super Bowl’ for the commercial real estate industry. With the season’s most important game less than two weeks away – it’s important to get your head in the game early to maximize your three days at the conference. Some RECon ‘rookies’ recently asked me how to prepare for the ‘big game’ and I shared my top 10 tips:
- Plan your outfits. I am usually an excellent packer and can manage a carry-on for most trips. However, for RECon, that’s not an option. Even though you could pack outfits that would work from day to night – it’s still more fun to glam it up for the cocktail receptions and dinners – hey, it is Las Vegas.
- Wear comfortable shoes! I would love to be strutting my Christian Louboutin’s, but those beautiful red soles will stay in my closet and I will opt for more sensible shoes. Yes, this is the time to invest in some good quality, comfortable shoes. I just ordered a pair of Rothy’s – could not resist all those Facebook ads promoting a “comfortable and sustainable shoe.” I recommend bringing a couple of extra pairs along each day. Also, if you follow Phillips Edison social media, stop by our booth at S233 Q Street, and we will provide you with a free pair of flip flops.
- Pack plenty of business cards. And then pack more. This is the holy grail of networking events so have your cards available for every event that you attend. I was once dining alone at the sushi bar at the Hard Rock Nobu and ended up chatting with a retailer who went on to do deals with my company. At a recent conference that I attended, instead of exchanging business cards, people took a photo of my badge to connect with me on LinkedIn, which I though was a great idea.
- Don’t be shy! This goes without saying, but this is the type of convention to remember that you never know who you’ll meet– in the elevator, in that long cab line, or sitting next to you at the black jack table. Strike up a conversation.
- Carry snacks and stay hydrated. Multiple cocktail receptions and late-night dinners can equal hunger pangs and headaches. A bag of almonds or chips help your hunger and water will help to balance the alcohol (and your head) the next morning.
- Don’t overindulge. There are always free drinks and lots of them. The famous Las Vegas saying – what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas – isn’t quite right when you’re traveling on business for your company. You will long be remembered for taking advantage of all that Las Vegas has to offer.
- Book your appointments early! Attendees’ calendars book up quickly so you don’t want to be left with your #1 prospects telling you that their calendar is full.
- Check out other booths. You might find some great ideas for marketing your business, meet more contacts, or at least pick up some fun giveaways for your kids.
- Know where the UBER or Lyft pick-up and drop-off areas are located. Also, no matter where you are, taxi lines are very long so plan accordingly.
- Enjoy! RECon is a great time to connect with industry friends or try a new chef inspired restaurant. Also, I always like to find an opportunity to ‘check out some great retail concepts’ – we are in the ‘shopping’ center industry after all.
Make sure to stop by the Phillips Edison Booth S233 Q Street during the show. Schedule a meeting and learn what’s happening on our RECon page