Tools for ExpoWest 2011Posted: March 7, 2011
Heading to ExpoWest next week? Between meetings, show floor time, and other duties your time can be limited. Are you prepared to be as efficient as you possibly can?
“Shoot! Where’s that hotel confirmation e-mail? What about my flight?”
These are questions I often ask myself in the days leading up to a big trip and often I’ll get e-mails from co-workers wondering if I have confirmation e-mails that I can forward them. Unless you specifically file that information in a special folder in your e-mail program, chances are you’ll never find it in the deluge of messages that is your inbox.
If you haven’t heard of it, TripIt is a service that keeps track of all your travel plans. Simply create an account on the TripIt website and whenever you receive travel confirmations, simply forward them to email@example.com and all your information is neatly organized and accessibly in one place. Better yet, if you have a gmail account or use google apps for your domain, you can set it up to automatically put incoming itineraries into your TripIt profile.
The companion mobile apps make everything easily accessible from your phone so you can quickly reference your flights and hotel info. Highly recommended!
At The Convention
Once you arrive at ExpoWest, there a multitude of ways to keep yourself organized and focused. First off, if you’re a broker who needs to be spending time at the booths for your companies, I find it a good practice to look up the booth number for those companies and write them down on the back of your convention badge for quick reference.
You’ll probably need a map and a quick index to look up other companies as well. Gone are the days of haphazardly flipping through the ExpoWest book and trying to sort out the map. This year, Natural Products Expo have rolled all of that into a handy iphone app [iTunes link]. You can quickly search through a list of exhibitors, view maps and speaker schedules, and add all of that into a planner to help organize your time at the show. Use this app instead of hauling around that bulky show guide in your bag.
Sorry folks, this one is iphone-only.
There’s always a lot going on at Expo and trying to keep up with the buzz and conversation of all that’s happening can be tough. For keeping in touch with other show attendees, I’d recommend using twitter. It’s a great way to keep on top of ongoing conversations about the convention. NewHope has just did a great post with tips how to use Twitter at ExpoWest/Nutracon.
If you’d like to follow me at Expo, you can do so at @naturalsalesrep.
What about keeping in touch with your sales team as you roam the floor? Cell reception can be spotty and calls and texts are often missed over the loud din of the sales floor and calling individual members of the team and getting everyone coordinated can be a hassle.
Beluga is your answer. Beluga is a free, private group mobile messaging service that can be downloaded as an app (preferred) or used with basic SMS services. Think of it as a private chat room on your phone for people you choose. Keep everyone up to date and allow everyone to have a say as to what to visit, where they are, and what meetings you have coming up. It is available for both iPhone and Android devices and can be used with people without smartphones (all you need is text messaging).
How about you? What useful tips do you have for Expo attendees? Sound off in the comments!