The ISS World Expo provides self-storage professionals like you with the unique opportunity to learn and access everything you need from the industry, all in one place. That said, an event of this magnitude can be overwhelming. The following guidance will help ensure that you extract the utmost from your investment in this one-of-a-kind conference and tradeshow.

March 13, 2024

5 Min Read

A self-storage conference and tradeshow can be an enriching experience and unique opportunity. Where else can you gain insight from industry experts, learn about new products and services, and connect with your peers, all in one place? It’s an investment that yields returns many times over—when done correctly.

It can also be overwhelming. Take the annual Inside Self-Storage World Expo, for example, which this year is taking place April 2-5 at Caesars Forum Conference Center in Las Vegas. We’re talking about four days of non-stop education, exhibits, networking and, of course, socializing. There’s something going nearly every minute of every day—sometimes more than one something! How will you ensure you get the best out of the experience?

The key is to complete some prep work before you arrive and then adhere to some simple tried-and-true strategies once you’re on site. Following is a handy guide to help you go all in and grab that valuable pot!

Check Your Hand

Getting the most from any event takes a healthy dose of planning, which begins well before you arrive. In fact, you should approach your conference schedule like you would an itinerary for a vacation. What do you want to see and do? Who do you want to meet? What are your objectives for attending the ISS World Expo? Once you know this, you can view the education, networking and exhibit schedule and map out your days.

Part of your scheme will likely be to visit with specific vendors or presenters. Consider reaching out to them before the show and ask if they have some time to meet with you. Keep in mind that their schedules can be chaotic, so setting an appointment will ensure you receive some face time. If you do schedule a meet-and-greet, be respectful and understanding of the other person’s time. This means being prompt and prepared. It’s also wise to exchange phone numbers and email in case plans need to change.

More than likely, you’ll run into time constraints of your own, and you’ll need to prioritize. If you’re attending with team members, consider splitting up so you can cover more ground. If you miss a seminar or attend one you particularly enjoy, you can also pre-order copies of the sessions at iss-store.com, or visit the ISS Sales Center in the education corridor or ISS booth on the show floor (#819).

It also helps to become familiar with the venue. Caesars Forum Conference Center is huge, and you don’t want to waste precious time roaming in search of a specific room number or miss an appointment because you couldn’t find the meeting spot. ISS will have plenty of signage on site to help you navigate, but it can be beneficial to check out the conference center in advance at issworldexpo.com. Click on the “Travel” menu in the top navigation bar, then choose the venue name from the drop down to take a virtual tour.

Another item on your checklist should be to determine how you’ll tackle the exhibit hall, which will be packed with people and products. Zigzagging across the massive space can be a time suck. Rather, consider which companies you’d like to visit, then devise a system that helps you reach them all. You can preview the show floor at the event website by clicking on the “Attend” menu in the top nav, then click the link for interactive floor plan.

A copy of the conference map and show-floor plan will also be printed in the ISS World Expo Show Guide, distributed in softcover copy on site. If you prefer digital, you can find everything you need in the mobile app, available at Google Play or Apple App Store.

Place Your Bet

Now it’s time to put your plan into action! The aforementioned Show Guide and mobile app are your new BFFs. You can use either or both to quickly find tons of show information. Plus, the app enables you to download your digital badge, save your personal agenda, and search the exhibitor list. You can also share posts on social media and receive important show alerts.

While attending sessions, keep a notebook and pen or a digital device handy to jot down key points you’d like to remember. And don’t be afraid to ask presenters a question. Often, there’s another audience member with a similar query or situation.

One of the best parts of the ISS World Expo is the chance to interact with your peers. This is an opportunity unlike any other you’ll have during the year. Spark up a conversation with another attendee before a session or in the exhibit hall. Attend the many networking events including the Self-Storage Q&A sessions, Table Talks, Women in Storage Education Program. Join the Speed Networking for Facility Operators, which will allow you to talk one-on-one with others who work in the self-storage trenches just like you. Don’t forget about the vendor presentations, facility tour, International Program, and Buyers & Sellers Meeting!

Your networking will continue in the exhibit hall. Make a list of specific questions or topics you want to discuss with vendors, so you can make the most of your time with them. Understand that a tradeshow isn’t the ideal place to have a lengthy conversation about a project or problem you’re facing. Rather, it’s your chance to put a face to name and begin a conversation. If you need more information, be prepared to follow up with them after the event.

Of course, the purpose of attending any conference and tradeshow is to learn and network. But you should also make time to relax and have fun! Las Vegas is brimming with entertainment, fine dining and sightseeing opportunities. Squeeze in moments that are just for you, explore the city or meet up with colleagues for a drink. It’ll enrich your overall show experience.

To learn more about the education program, networking events and exhibits, and register, visit issworldexpo.com. See you there!

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