Luckily, my colleague and I were able to get press passes and attend the entire event from Sunday through Friday. That’s two press days and four floor days for those wondering.
I was told a lot of different things to expect about CES, especially as a member of the press. I heard everything from your feet are going to want to murder you by day three to you’re going to need to check a second bag because of how much swag and press kits you’ll be given. I found that most of what I was told, by even those who’ve been going for years, was wrong.
5 Things I Learned at CES
You are going to go home with a bunch of flash drives
I came home with about a dozen flash drives, from neat, interesting ones to simple credit card style ones. There were only two exciting flash drives that reminded me of the booths I stopped by to collect them from at the end of CES. I wasn’t shocked by how few flash drives I received, rather, I was surprised by how few exhibitors cared that they were handing me paper press kits or sending me to websites where press kits should be available but weren’t. It is 2015 if you can’t splurge on a small flash drive or getting a reliable press kit up online, why are you there?
You need a second suitcase for swag
Several people who’ve gone for years told me I might need a second bag to check depending on review units, samples, and other swag exhibitors were shelling. As part of the press, I received special attention at most booths and while I was offered press kits at most exhibits, I received much less swag. Keychains, pens, a golf ball, a rubber ducky, and a few phone and tablet accessories were all I walked away with. Many exhibitors offered to send me review units after CES, which none actually followed through on. I was surprised by how many companies just never contacted me again to cover them.
Your feet are going to hurt
I walked roughly eight to ten miles a day in Vegas. My feet did hurt, but no more than if I went to a music festival, or another conference. I was prepared for it. I wore black crew shoes, insoles, took Ibuprofen, and made sure to take breaks throughout the day. At the Sands and LVCC, I could stop and relax in the press room when necessary, but I also found times to rest on the show floors, too. If you plan ahead of time, knowing you’ll be on your feet, they’ll still hurt at the end of the day, but they won’t render you useless.
It’s so busy you’re going to feel claustrophobic
I’ve been to music festivals and other conferences though none as big as CES. I expected busy, frustration, and claustrophobia. While I did experience some of all three, not like I thought it’d be. Most booths I visited I was able to see everything I wanted and talk to the people I wanted to talk to. The only bottleneck I saw was my first day at the Sands Expo, just getting onto the show floor, but it dissipated once I was inside.
I think the most frustrating aspect of how busy it was at times were the people who chose to roll suitcases all day. If you’re going to roll a suitcase all day, you need to be aware of how it affects everyone around you, not just roll it behind you and not give a damn about who it hits or trips.
You’re going to have the energy to party all night long
I watched the Instagram hashtag for CES 2015 and saw all sorts of people partying late into the night. While I know most of them weren’t there as press, I know some of them that were, and I just didn’t know what they were doing to have that much energy and power through. For me, I’d get back to the hotel room by nine, then get to work until one or two in the morning to get content live. On my last night in Vegas, I went to The Beatles LOVE and went out for dinner, but I almost fell asleep at dinner and at the beginning of the show.
CES 2015 was a blast, and I can’t wait for next year’s show. I’m looking forward to doing even better at the event, learning from my follies and meeting even more people.