Corporate-Fx Tradeshow Magic Group


The Corporate-Fx, Tradeshow Magic Group Blog

By: Scott Tokar, Corporate-Fx Magician and Founder



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The "Fall" season of trade shows.

As the kids go back to school, and Walmart starts the Halloween decorating, it can only mean one thing... fall is here. And, if you are an uninitiated tradeshow manager, I want to welcome you to the busy season 2016-V2.


Ok, I know the last couple of months have been slow... so slow that the dog day's of summer may have lulled us into a sense of order and calm. Some actually begin to imagine that the hectic scrambling of prepping for, exhibiting at and following up after trade shows has somehow "magically" melted away and we are all caught up...

Well, there is a reason the trade shows seem to ease in the summer... it is vacation season. The resorts fill-up with family travel, and it seems to be more difficult to get someone to attend any conference in the "traditional" convention cities. In summer, the heat and humidity in New Orleans, Orlando, Atlanta, Dallas are simply unbearable... And Las Vegas?  Whew! It can get up-to 100 degrees AT NIGHT (115 degrees in the day)... So needless to say, attracting an audience to these locations can be difficult...

But now it is Fall... pumpkin spice everything, the color of the leaves, sweaters, candles, and cool air.... Ahhhhh.



But then there is also: CTIA, MINExpo, IBC, Farm Progress, RSNA, SEMA, Educause, NACS, FABTECH, Global Gaming, Graph Expo, and ASIS. Plus: Oracle OpenWorld, VMWorld, CEDIA, ISC East, AAPEX, and the International Lingerie Show-Las Vegas too (ok, so not all of them are difficult to exhibit at...)

In addition to the ramp up of the fall trade shows, I am already starting to book our Spring 2017 shows, and I will be out there on the road with all of my fellow tradeshow life friends... So, if we are lucky enough to bump into one another in the aisles please say hi and maybe I'll buy you a pumpkin spice latte...

The "Fall" season of trade shows.

As the kids go back to school, and Walmart starts the Halloween decorating, it can only mean one thing... Fall is here. And, if you are an uninitiated tradeshow manager I want to welcome you to the busy season 2016-V2.


Ok, I know there were a few shows in the past couple of months here and there, but unfortunately the dog day's of Summer lulled us into a sense of order and calm. Some actually feel that the hectic scrambling of trade shows have somehow "magically" melted away and we are all caught up...

Well, there is a reason the trade shows seem to ease in the Summer and that is because traditionally it is vacation season. The resorts fill-up with family travel, and it seems to be more difficult to get someone to attend any conference in the "traditional" convention cities. In Summer the heat and humidity in New Orleans, Orlando, Atlanta, Dallas are simply unbearable... And Las Vegas?  Whew! It can get up-to 100 degrees AT NIGHT (115 degrees in the day)... So needless to say, attracting an audience to these locations can be difficult...

But now it is Fall... The Pumpkin Spice Starbucks, the color of the leaves, sweaters, candles, and cool air.... Ahhhhh.


But then there is also: CTIA, MINExpo, IBC, Farm Progress, RSNA, SEMA, Educause, NACS, FABTECH, Global Gaming, Graph Expo, and ASIS.

It is tradeshow season again...

I don't mean to stress you but there is; Oracle OpenWorld, VMWorld, CEDIA, ISC East, AAPEX, and the International Lingerie Show-Las Vegas too (ok, so not all of them are difficult to exhibit at...)

Anyhow, can you believe I am just NOW starting to book our Spring 2017 shows, and I will be out there on the road with all of my fellow tradeshow life friends... So, if we are lucky enough to bump into one another in the aisles please say hi and maybe I'll buy you a Pumpkin Spice Latte...




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Road warrior tricks from a trade show magician.

Pick a favorite - Let’s face it, business travel isn’t glamorous anymore, oh how I yearn for the days when people would get dressed-up to fly and an airplane was more like a limousine than a Greyhound Bus… Those days are long gone, but don’t give up on comfort, it still exists for those “special” customers, and your goal as a road warrior is to become “special”.



What is the BEST airline to fly for business? None of them, they all suck. Unless that is if you are an “elite” traveler. With early check-in, upgrades, and early boarding being a “Platinum” flyer gives you a taste of civility on today’s airlines.  The secret is to pick ONE airline and stick with them, sometimes this requires forgoing that convenient nonstop flight from the “other” airline to fly through a hub like Dallas, Denver or Atlanta. But, by building-up your milage and loyalty on a single airline you will achieve Gold, Platinum and Executive status quicker.



In-time, with American Airlines Advantage program you can also earn PERMANENT life-time status by reaching one million or more actual flight miles… Once you have secured your status it may be time to “challenge” another carrier. United Airlines will allow you a one-time matching of status so you can fly United to meet their status level in style. However, United now requires that you qualify in both milages AND dollars spent to reach silver, gold and premier platinum in 2016 so be careful in this endeavor.

TSA “Pre” and Global Entry - The BEST perk in traveling has to be TSA Pre-Check, it is like they have turned-back the travel clock to before 9/11/01 at the security line. With Pre there is no need to remove your shoes, jacket, or computer from your bag. You will rarely be asked to get a full-body imaging scan AND the lines for Pre are always much shorter! You can apply for TSA Pre by visiting http://www.tsa.gov/tsa-precheck filling out the forms, appear in person and pay $85 for processing.



The better deal is to apply for the Global Entry program - with Global Entry US Citizens can speed through US immigration and customs too by using ATM-style kiosks instead of standing in long lines for the next available agent. And, as a Global Entry participant you are automatically enrolled in TSA Pre as well! You can apply for Global Entry by visiting http://www.cbp.gov/global-entry/about filling out the forms, appear in person with your US passport and pay $100 for processing.

The “right” credit card can add some status perks too. You may ask “why in the world would someone spend $300+ per year to carry a credit card”? Take a look at American Express Platinum as a road warrior you can earn back that fee by using it in the right way… The Platinum Card comes with complimentary airport lounge access to Delta Sky Clubs, and Airspace Lounges and you can enroll in Priority Pass Select program at no additional cost. PLUS you can receive up to $200 a year in statement credits when incidental fees, such as checked bags and in-flight refreshments, are charged by the airline to the Platinum Card Account. Remember that $85 or $100 fee I mentioned for TSA Pre and Global Entry? Amex Platinum will refund that as well! If you use it the American Express Platinum Card is the go-to card for road warriors.



Airline lounges are more than just a “perk” they are a life-line. When a system-wide airport delay begins to stack-up and flights are canceled (think snow storms and hurricanes) the masses will stand in line at a ticket counter to change their flights, but not me, I head right for the Admirals Club for shorter lines, and better trained staff to help me get around the SNAFU with style! Oh and I have the “perk” of free WiFi, drinks and snacks too!

Back to the credit card perks again, with the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard you have Admirals Club membership AND free checked bags even if you are not a Platinum Advantage level yet! Yes, it costs $450 per year, but the Admirals Club membership alone would cost you $400 to $500 anyhow (and with the card you will also earn milage credits too)!

Credit card perks aren’t just for airlines though, you can Upgrade to Hyatt Gold Passport Platinum Membership and get free hotel nights every year just by using the Hyatt credit card: https://creditcards.chase.com/credit-cards/hyatt-card.aspx



Two MUST have travel companions for my commute are my Bose QuietComfort 20 Acoustic Noise Canceling headphones (http://goo.gl/RC6QKk) and an almost unlimited supply of current magazines on my iPad with NextIssue (https://www.nextissue.com). The Bose headphones give you an escape pod like quality so you can cocoon in your seat without the din of the cabin and Next Issue gives me all the reading material I could ever want!



Lastly is my connection to my office and home through my T-Mobile connected iPhone 6. With T-Mobile I can connect my SMS and Voicemail to the in-flight GoGo WiFi Internet for FREE! That means if my office or family needs to txt me in the air I am always connected! Oh, and as a frequent international traveler T-Mobile is hands-down the BEST GSM travel phone you could ever ask for… With T-Mobile I get FREE international SMS, 3G Data for email and web, and my GSM calls back to the USA cost me only 20 cents per minute! See http://www.t-mobile.com/simple-choice-international-plans.html for details!

See www.CorporateFx.com for more tradeshow magic

Road warrior travel tip #2234, 8914, 1504, 316...

I have a confession to make… I'm an official "road warrior" and I collect hotel room numbers…



You see, I travel a lot, and I do mean A LOT. For example, as many road warriors out there today I favor one airline, but I'm forced to fly many carriers. This past year American Airlines sent me my 2-million mile AAdvantage Platinum card, and the funny thing is, that last year I flew more flights on SouthWest and on United than I did on American…



But I digress.

Every time I check into a hotel, I always snap a photo of my room number, why? Let me explain, you know you are a real road warrior when you finish a day on the tradeshow floor and go up to the floor number and room number that you had the previous week in another city… Then it's down to the front desk again to ask the embarrassing question; "what room number am I in again"?

So, by snapping an quick iPhone photo of my room number I can simply look at the most recent room number photo for a simple reminder! This also keeps the room number apart from the room key for security!



Hopefully I've just started a new hobby, room number collecting! Now, does anyone remember if I'm at the Hyatt, Marriott, Hilton, or Westin this week…

Find out MORE about Scott Tokar at http://www.CorporateFx.com

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