I do get to be in touch with some of the best retailers in the country, and so I consider it my duty to share how they tell me they use the OR website for show planning... with our new floorplan and exhibitor listing technology, there should be a noticeable improvement on how you can plan your show and insure you get maximum value from the show experience.
1) Scan the exhibitor list in advance and see who is going to be there that you've been meaning to sidle up to, or go eye to eye with the CEO. All the core brands are there, but notice 180 new companies to the show. Even if 10% are going to be of great interest to you, that is 18 visits you need to plan!
2) Use the event 'planner' to note exhibitors and seminars you want to remember to visit; print that planner before you go and it'll be a simple, one or two sheet list you can scratch things off on.
3) Plan your visits 'regionally'; by cross referencing your list (including booked appts. with key vendors) with the online floorplan. You can save hours of show floor time by grouping your appts. by area of show.
3b) Understand the mysterious logic of numbering on the show floor... increasing left to right (1000 - 40000), front to back (1001 to 1049 for example), and even across from odd (like street addresses). Very few companies actually show their booth #, so look at neighborhoods.
4) Walk the whole show first. This is a technique that assures you see everything, get inspired and informed about who is doing what, see some great merchandising, and make notes about return visit. Like a recon mission for your business flying at high altitude before diving down for detail.
5) You can save time by staying in the building and going to the OR-ganic cafe (lunch only), on the 3rd level with 4-5 options of foodstuffs. Rounds and plenty of room to talk turkey over lunch. Directly above the Design Center in MR355.