A guide to attending Connect Spring Marketplace Vegas 2024

Attending my first Connect Vegas was one of the highlights of 2023 and something I’m really looking forward to this April. From Drai’s balcony overlooking the Fountains of Bellagio, 40+ meetings in a STACKED meeting calendar, and the after-party at Caesar’s Palace – that’s just scratching the surface!

It’s definitely an experience but here are some things I wished I had known before my first time as a sponsor AND a hosted buyer;

  1. Give yourself a day!
    • Unless you’re a regular visitor or a Vegas native, give yourself the Sunday before to acclimatize to the madness of the strip. The reality on event days is that you won’t see any sun, strip or casinos until the evening. With the jam-packed event days, I’d recommend a more relaxed day!
  2. Accommodation
    • If you’re a buyer, you’ll get your accommodation sorted for you. As a sponsor, there are some discounts for the Palazzo and nearby hotels. We split across two hotels last year, and they both came with positives;
      • Palazzo – for the breaks in the day, it’s perfect if you like to go back to your room and do work. Also, if you like to eke out every minute in bed, you’re a SUPER short walk to the event. Negatives: you can spend the ENTIRE day without a breath of fresh air.
      • External hotels – it’s a longer walk, but I often saw that as a positive. It was often the only bit of daytime sun you got. While leaving earlier, you can see another side of Vegas just on your way home.
  3. What to wear?
    • It’s a pretty chilled affair. We often go for a smart-casual blazer/jeans combo, but you’ll see everything from suits to dresses to jeans & a t-shirt. Comfort is always the winner!
  4. Evening plans – what to plan
    • To make the most of the event, you HAVE to attend the evening drinks receptions! Day 1 was Drai’s nightclub, with nothing but great vibes and unbelievable view. TOP TIP: Plan who you’d like to go with ahead of arriving. The music is great but doesn’t leave too much room for meeting new people.
    • Attend the pre-evening drinks reception with VenuIQ. We’ll be firming up a location nearer the time, but if you’ve come on your own, have spoken/work with us and/or would like to meet a few people before we head out, make sure to reach out pre-Marketplace!
    • Make sure to change clothes – these meetings aren’t something that happen right after the event. People get dressed up. We went for a shirt and nice shoes, we saw some glow ups from day to night!
  5. Get prepped on your meetings!
    • You will be SLAMMED with meetings. These are quick-fire meetings! 9 minutes after pleasantries, it GOES SO quickly. Easy ways to prep;
      • Research who you’re meeting and make 1-2 points you want to discuss. Knowing an existing supplier, their previous event or even key interests on their profile is HUGE! You only have 1 minute between meetings, so no time to prep!Book your follow-up meetings right there and then! This is for sponsors AND buyers. If you don’t, you’ll be calling or receiving calls from 40-50 people post-event, and you won’t be able to sit them all! We use Booking by Microsoft to get our follow-up meeting booked right there and then.Be honest, open and to the point. Be honest about what your product/venue/service can offer, and for buyers, be honest about what you want. It will save you HOURS post-event. Bring some snacks, sweets and water for your table! Meetings give no time to grab a coffee, in a great way. It means that you might struggle without a mint, water or some sweets!
      • Get your notebook ready, structured and concise. Type up notes where you can!
  6. Watch the content!
    • Unlike many hosted buyer events throughout the year, Vegas has an amazing content stream. It covers EVERYTHING in events. The latest in tech updates, case studies galore, venue stories, insights to upcoming events AND we even heard what it’s like to deliver events at the White House!
    • It gives you something to use in your meetings. The takeaways can be implemented straight away! These thought leaders can open your mind to a solution, location or discussion topic before your next meeting slots.

Conclusion

I had an amazing time on my first visit to Connect Spring Marketplace. We learnt so much and met so many people, but I could have used a guide like this one. I hope you find it useful. It’s not just about the meetings, of course; on our return, we look forward to catching up with clients, contacts and prospects alike. See you there!

This post is also available in %s.