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Posts Tagged ‘Exhibitor 2013’

EXHIBITOR 2013 — What Else to Do in Vegas (from a Las Vegas local)

December 18th, 2012 2 COMMENTS

Lesson #126:  – Attractions Smactions

You Dirty Rat!

Do you recall when you couldn’t visit Rome, Paris, New York, New Orleans, Venice, and Medieval England all in one day? If so, then you’ve attended EXHIBITOR for more years than you probably want to admit. EXHIBITOR is celebrating its 25th year.

While there aren’t many certainties in life, one thing is certain. Vegas reinvents itself more often than Madonna.

  1. EXHIBITOR 2013 — Other Places to Eat (from a Las Vegas local)
  2. EXHIBITOR2013 — Show Me the Best Shows, Baby (from a Las Vegas local)

As a Vegas local, I’m constantly asked about what to do here, so here’s the inside scoop of what’s new!

What to Do

2012 marked a return to Vegas’ roots with the opening of some exciting new venues. If you’re staying at Mandalay Bay or the Luxor, grab a cab or limo to share and head Downtown (yes, DT).

The Mob Museum (http://themobmuseum.org) is housed in the historic former federal building in Downtown Las Vegas. The Museum features some of the most iconic artifacts in mob history including the wall from the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in Chicago. And to ‘cap off’ the night, the Mob Bar (http://mobbarlv.com) is located a short walk away. With a 1920’s speakeasy feel and classic cocktails, it’s “an offer you can’t refuse.”

Next up is the Neon Museum (http://www.neonmuseum.org), also located in downtown. The Neon Boneyard is home to over 150 donated and rescued signs from the 1930’s to present day. The unrestored collection represents signs from business, motels, and iconic casino resorts located originally throughout the Las Vegas Valley. How many of these memorable signs will you recall?

Whenever I’m driving home past the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop, it never ceases to amaze me how long the line is to get into that place! And with the popularity of Pawn Stars growing, the line will continue to be a constant fixture. But leave it to someone in Vegas to work a deal with a pawnshop. The Pawn Stars Insider Tour offers you VIP access to the Pawn Stars universe (http://www.alllasvegastours.com/body.asp?tour=5293PAWN&page=TourDetails). Not only do you get to ‘skip’ the line, but the experience also includes other shops from the hit show:  The Toy Shack, Rick’s Restorations (Home of American Restorations), and ATM – the aquarium store from TV’s “Tanked.” The tour picks up and drops off from Bally’s daily, except Sunday. After a 4-hour tour your thirst may be overwhelming! You will want to head across the street to The Cosmopolitan.

The Cosmopolitan is probably my favorite newer resort on the Strip. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, there are floor to ceiling windows that allow sunlight (yes, you read correctly) onto the casino floor. You are actually able to tell the difference between day and night! The second reason I love the ‘Cosmo’ is the Chandelier bar (http://www.cosmopolitanlasvegas.com/experience/lounges-and-bars/chandelier.aspx). This multi-story bar is surrounded by luminous beaded curtains of light, which give you the feeling that you are sitting in the middle of a chandelier. As exhibit producers, I challenge you not to try to figure out how they do it or how they clean it. Just enjoy the magic!

Back in the good old days, EXHIBITOR was held around Valentine’s Day. Which might have been just a little problematic to be away from your spouse or significant other on one of Hallmark’s most important holidays. Now, there’s a good chance that EXHIBITOR will fall on or near St. Patty’s Day. A wise move as it is a holiday that can definitely be enjoyed in Vegas sans spouse. This year, St. Patty’s Day is the day before EXHIBITOR 2013 opens. So for those who may be in town, I included some great Irish places to pay homage to the “Mother Country.”

McMullan’s Irish Pub (http://www.mcmullansirishpub.com) is just off the strip, but well worth the cab ride. This is where lively locals go to kick back some pints, while enjoying great local Irish bands and food. Inspired by a group of nine famous men who fought for Irish independence in 1848, Nine Fine Irishman at the New York, New York (http://www.ninefineirishmen.com) gives a the Vegas strip version of the Irish pub. The Victorian-style bar, along with delicious Irish food, combines to create an authentic Irish atmosphere. Ri Ra (http://www.rira.com/las-vegas/) is located in Mandalay Place but has to be included! Ri Ra, consistently voted one of the top three Irish bars in Vegas, caters to both the locals and visitors with their Guinness Shop.

If you’ve attended EXHIBITOR for a few years, it’s easy to forget about the attractions close by — but you shouldn’t. Mandalay Bay, Luxor, and Tropicana have some great attractions. I know you’re there for work, but all work and no play makes . . . . Well I think you get the picture by now.

Feel free to add your ideas or favorites to either list! And if you’re thinking that I’ve intentionally left out Vegas shows, think again! Part 3 will include some of my Vegas show recommendations and ways to get tickets without breaking the bank. And no, it doesn’t involve a meeting with the Mafia Don.

Feel free to add your ideas or favorites to either list!

In the meantime, registration for EXHIBITOR 2013 is now OPEN! Click HERE for FREE Access to the show hall courtesy of Classic Exhibits. Enter Promo Code 4044 for the FREE Pass (waiving the credit card fee).

Jen LaBruzza, Western Regional Manager
Classic Exhibits/ClassicMODUL
jen@classicexhibits.com

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Based in Portland, Oregon, Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, and custom-hybrid exhibit solutions and engineered aluminum extrusions (ClassicMODUL). Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100.


 

EXHIBITOR 2013 — Other Places to Eat (from a Las Vegas local)

December 12th, 2012 1 COMMENT

Lesson #125:  Other Places to Eat

You Only Live Once. Live It Up!

You gotta eat. You can eat cheap, which your stomach will regret later, or you can eat expensive, which your wallet will regret for weeks. It doesn’t have to be that way. Instead, why not truly dine, i.e.  To eat a good dinner in good company and eat it slow

You may not be thinking about EXHIBITOR 2013 yet, but I am. I live in Las Vegas. Soon I’ll be getting questions from Classic Exhibits Distributors about Las Vegas, such as places to go, shows to see, where to stay, etc. I was a travel agent in a former life so I welcome these questions.

But the one question I wish more folks would ask is, “I don’t want to eat at Mandalay Bay or Luxor AGAIN. Where should I go with customers that is close, memorable, and won’t break the bank (once you add in the price of a taxi)?” Glad you asked.

  1. EXHIBITOR 2013 — What Else to Do in Vegas (from a Las Vegas local)
  2. EXHIBITOR2013 — Show Me the Best Shows, Baby (from a Las Vegas local)

Today, we’ll review places to eat outside of the Hacienda Triangle (Mandalay Bay, THEhotel, and Luxor).

Panevino

By day, it’s a gourmet deli, but after dark, this unique off the Strip spot offers a breathtaking, unobstructed, panoramic view of the Strip. Panevino (www.panevinolasvegas.com) is a short taxi ride from Mandalay Bay on East Sunset Road, across from McCarran Airport. Don’t let that fool you though. The “runway activity” won’t even register once you experience the view. Get reservations and kindly insist on a table next to the window. The excellent Italian food (they serve some mean steaks and chops too) is enhanced by the wonderful service and the view (Did I mention the ‘View’?) And if you’re a martini lover, make sure you imbibe one made with their hand-stuffed, bleu cheese olives.

Bacio

Another Italian restaurant sure to please is Bacio at the Tropicana Hotel (www.troplv.com/dining/bacio). Former Rao’s chef (New York & Caesars Palace) and Top Chef Carla Pellegrino lends her heart, soul, and expertise to this authentic Italian menu. A more casual atmosphere that is sure to please. To heck with the taxi, you could even walk to this one. But use the crosswalks!

Marrakech

If you are in the mood for dinner and a show, and don’t mind a little hip sway with your couscous, Marrakech is for you. Marrakech (www.marrakechvegas.com) is located just off the Strip, on Paradise Road and East Flamingo, which means a short taxi ride. You’ll be invited into a traditional Moroccan tent setting with teak inlaid tables, encircled by low couches. Go prepared to eat with your fingers! And no this isn’t like ‘Tournament of Kings.” The six course Moroccan feast is prix fixe with vegetarian substitutions available. The belly dancers create a lively atmosphere whether you choose to participate or just sit back and enjoy the show. You will want to make sure you get a reservation.

The Wicked Spoon

Finally, what would any trip to Vegas be without a visit to a buffet? The buffet has been a Vegas institution since the 40’s. The Wicked Spoon (www.cosmopolitanlasvegas.com/taste/restaurant-collection/wicked-spoon.aspx ) at The Cosmopolitan is not just any buffet (really). For a mere $37 per person you are encouraged to try, try, try. Calling to mind the classic line from ‘A Christmas Story’, “Show us how the piggy eats Randy!” This “food hall” prides itself on serving innovative dishes along a row of 6+ stations, presented in unique and eye-catching ways. The seemingly endless list of dishes boggles the mind. There’s hardly a food trend that’s not covered here.

I’ve got a few more suggestions up my sleeve.  Depending on your culinary mood, you might want to give these a try:

I’m sure that you’ve noticed my affinity for Italian places in Vegas. And no, it’s not just because my last name is LaBruzza. Think about how Vegas got started . . . (Hint: The Mob), and you’ll know that you can’t run away from that kind of influence!

In Part 2 we’ll pick up this theme as old and new Vegas collide.

In the meantime, registration for EXHIBITOR 2013 is now OPEN! Click HERE for FREE Access to the show hall courtesy of Classic Exhibits. Enter Promo Code 4044 for the FREE Pass (waiving the credit card fee).

Feel free to let me know what you think of my suggestions. I have a reputation to uphold. Right now I’m 8 for 8.

Jen LaBruzza, Western Regional Manager
jen@classicexhibits.com

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Based in Portland, Oregon, Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, and custom-hybrid exhibit solutions and engineered aluminum extrusions (ClassicMODUL). Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100.


 

Alcohol and Business Entertaining: When Is Enough Too Much?

October 16th, 2012 COMMENTS
Shooting from the Hip (trade show tips)

Shooting from the Hip by Reid Sherwood

This is going to be a bit of a rocky ride. Hold on to your hats my friends . . . I am going to address the age old issue of alcohol, corporate responsibility, and the pros and cons of both. I have a feeling this may cause some discord among the rank and file, along with some snickering.

First the disclaimer. I am not an attorney. I am not a cop. I am not a judge. I am the president of the local school board (but that’s another story). My advice is based on experience and common sense. I’ve been entertaining clients for a long, long time, and I’ve seen it all.

People like to have a drink, especially when a vendor comes around and asks “Do you want to go to happy hour?” Of course, you do. From the vendor’s point of view, it buys some extra time with the customer, puts them in a decent mood, and most of all, spreads some goodwill vs. another vendor who may not spend any additional energy or entertainment dollars on them.

The downside is obvious . . . it can be abused. Excessive bar tabs, drunk customers, and worst of all, someone getting behind the wheel who shouldn’t. The VERY LAST THING I WANT is for a customer to have an accident, hurt themselves (or someone else), or get arrested for DWI.

That said, I have certainly made my mistakes, but I’ve learned from those mistakes. Sometimes it took a few times, but eventually I learned my lesson.

Happy Hour

Happy HourYou’re meeting with a handful of customers from several different departments. It’s 4:30. Time for happy hour and appetizers. You don’t want to buy dinner for 8 or 9 people (that has happened to me, and I always cringe because it wasn’t my intent). Now you have the opportunity to talk about stuff NOT related to work and engage them on a more personal level. You find out that this guy happens to be a Deadhead or a Parrothead. Maybe you find out that they are fans of the same college team you follow. You learn about family and hobbies. Then there are those times you discover their hobby is collecting hats or mats or rats, and you realize it’s going to be a long and painful evening.

Everyone has a drink or two, there are plenty of appetizers to share, and the evening ends at 6:30 or 7. No harm is done. You pay the tab. Sometimes the distributor will pitch in too. Which is a bonus. Everyone had a good time, and you hope they remember your hospitality when they make a buying decision.

Dinner Invitations

Dinner invitations are typically for no more than 2-3 guests. Often, we’ll meet for a drink before dinner. Here’s my rule of thumb, if your meal is $125 for three or four guests, the bar tab is going to be about the same. You want them to enjoy themselves. It should be memorable, without spending the farm or allowing someone to overindulge.  Nothing has to get out of hand, but you have to be conscious of how much your guests are drinking. Too much and what was friendly and productive becomes hazy and detrimental. Dinners create lots of face time and good camaraderie.

From Good to Bad to “Oh Crap!”

Now let’s look at a couple situations where it can get bad or really ugly and how to prevent it in the first place. Again, I’ll be the first to admit that I have made these mistakes many times.

On occasion, the adrenalin gets flowing and before you know it, you realize, “Uh oh, we gotta reel this in quickly.” You start with a round of shots, along with your regular drink, and you quickly lose count. An hour in and you had two shots of something and two beers or drinks and you are on your way to trouble. You may not think you’re “drunk” — I know I wouldn’t – but in most states, the legal limit is .08. You are way over that and driving is not an option. Next thing you know, you have been there two hours and the shots are done, but you’ve consumed seven drinks which is way too many. You are in big trouble. You have to head home, and you really need a cab. It can happen very quickly. I have done it, and I have done it with good customers. It’s stupid. It’s expensive. And it’s really bad business.

Now here is my big disclaimer. My father always insisted that people have a drink. According to him, it lubricates the conversation and helps them have fun. SO, I come by it naturally. But the more dangerous it gets, the more expensive it can become. Many states now have “Superdrunk” laws. If you are over 17, it is an immediate felony and a $10K fine. You have to use GOOD judgment, and it’s my job as your host to use good judgment when you don’t. If you decide you are going to “tie one on” then by all means have your transportation prepared and don’t ever do it in a business situation. Your livelihood (and your life) is worth more than a few drinks, or if it isn’t, then look for a new career.

I hate to be the downer, but we also have to look at the cost. I can justify everything I have said and know that in the spirit (no pun intended) of business, this is normal and logical. The following are examples where the cost doesn’t add up to the risk or reward.

Be careful or at least cognizant of the potential worst places to buy cocktails for a customer. I am fortunate that my local “Cheers” is called the “Riverstop Saloon,” and it is a little gem. A shot of Bushmills on the rocks is $4.00 and a Ketel Martini is also $4.00. It’s cheap, but then again, I’m not entertaining customers in Newaygo, MI. The same drink at the Kent County Airport in Michigan (GRR) is $11 or $14 dollars respectively. The Eye Candy Lounge inside of Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas is just a touch higher at $13 for Bushmills and $19 for a martini. Believe me, it adds up quickly.

Sharing the Cost

When we gather together for EXHIBITOR 2013 by the time you purchase a couple of drinks and chat for awhile with customers, you are approaching $200 dollars with the tip. The part that gets dicey is, not so much the cost, but rather, whether or not you are even going to be remembered for buying them a couple of drinks. No one has their eye on the tab and often, no one knows who paid it.

I know as the vendor, it is often assumed that we buy the drinks (not that it is expected). But many customers will buy me a drink or two. I appreciate it a bunch. I really do. It shows we respect one another. But I have to be careful. If I buy a drink or two for six customers, then each of you reciprocate, I just had a dozen cocktails and that was NOT my intention. Yes, I know, on occasion that happens, but vendors have to be far more cautious than clients do. I also have to be smart. At a social event where there are three to four other industry suppliers, I’m willing to do my part. My part means sharing the expense. Everyone has to chip in. It’s no fun having to be the “adult at the party” and reminding the other suppliers to “unass their wallets.”

Like I said earlier, I am not a judge, a cop, or an attorney, so don’t even think of holding me responsible for the legality of this. I’m merely trying to offer a few tips, a few cautionary warnings, and enjoy the taste of some good Irish whiskey, without getting a taste of stupid with it.

Till the next time,

Reid Sherwood
reid@classicmodul.com

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Based in Portland, Oregon, Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, and custom-hybrid exhibit solutions and engineered aluminum extrusions (ClassicMODUL). Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100.