This year is going to be my first time at the BlogHer conference and I cannot wait. I go to NYC about 5 times a year because I am obsessed with Broadway and it is absolutely one of my favorite cities…not to mention really close to DC. When looking at some of the tweet’s coming through the hashtags for both shows, #BlogHer12 and #ASE12, I noticed there are a lot of nervous people about packing, clothing, Bedbugs (yuck) and hotels as well as safety and parties. Everyone has lists and posts of what you should pack for a tradeshow (I have two or three different ones on here), but you have to think a bit differently for NYC if you are on a budget, worried about bringing unexpected and unwanted pests with you as well as getting the most out of the show. Here are 10 B’s that you can use to help prepare yourself for BlogHer12. (We’ll start with the Big B (bedbugs) first because they’re gross!)
1. Bedbugs – Nobody wants to bring bedbugs home. They are easy to get in your suitcases and almost impossible to get out of your house or apartment. Here is what I do before I go to NYC and the exact products I use. Before I book a hotel, if I’m not staying at the conference hotel, I search bed bug registry for all of the hotels I am considering. If they don’t have any reported issues in the last year or two, I consider them safe. 24 hours before the show I spray my entire suitcase including inside all pockets, under the lining and the entire outside with Bedlam. Once I am at the show, I search the hotel room bed, the curtains and the baseboards real quick and if I don’t see any green streaks or actual bedbugs, I feel pretty confident that there aren’t any. When I get home, I instantly throw every single thing, including shoes, into the dryer on high for 30 to 45 minutes. (This means I only pack things that can either be sprayed with BedLam or put in a dryer on high for 30 minutes or more. If I really need something there that can’t do either, I dry clean them and then put them in the freezer in a ziploc bag for 1 week.). Then I take my suitcase and spray it with bedlam one more time. Ever since I started doing this I have never had an issue…even when one of my friends from the same trip did.
2. Board – You have to remember that NYC is expensive. Although it is great to stay at the host hotel, you can usually find good alternatives. Some of the ones I usually stay at which are usually less expensive when you book through Bookable.com or Travelocity.com. Here are the hotels I have stayed at that are within a reasonable distance to the Hilton and have not had a bed bug problem or customer service issue with.
- BestWestern Presidents in Times Square – They have awesome cosmos and they are fairly inexpensive. The rooms are modern and some are small others are large. It almost looks like the W in the lobby.
- Hotel Chandler – This one is in Murray Hill which is a bit further away but since they are renovating you can get a large room that is very comfortable and you will never find a more friendly staff. I think it is the one owned by Alex McCord’s husband from the Real Housewives of NYC as well. I love staying at this one.
- The Paramount in Times Square. This one has been going downhill a bit. The rooms are small but if you book it as a package you can get awesome deals.
- The Ameritania (wrong spelling but you’ll see it) is a bit run down, but the rooms are huge for NYC and the prices are cheap! I haven’t stayed there in a couple of years but it is a very easy walk to the Hilton.
- The W hotel times square. It isn’t cheap, but it’s clean, you can get awesome views of Times Square and it’s completely modern if you want to stay at a real NYC hotel. There is also a sushi restaurant with health food in the entrance way. If you check in with an American Express they give you a surprise welcome bag…it might only be for certain cards though.
3. Business – Remember that although you are going to have fun, your business is your priority. Bring business cards (200 should be more than enough), stickers with your main blog if you don’t mind showing it off and getting people to place them on their laptops and also remember to be in control if you go to an event and there is an opened bar. This is a business setting which means you have to be somewhat professional. By doing this you can have a better chance at learning how to grow your business and also make more contacts for your business.
4. Budget – Remember to plan a budget for yourself and bring some extra money as a backup. NYC is extremely expensive. I go to the deli across the street from the Hilton in the morning for breakfast because it is cheap and good. You should be fine if you go frugal with $75 per day because of taxis and taxes. You can always find people to split the fare as well. If you can eat at the show, this will save you even more money. NYC pizza is awesome and there are a few great places for it right around the hotel. My favorite is by the paramount. I usually plan on $100 to $250 per day because I buy drinks for clients, partners, etc… and eat cheap when I’m there. Other people plan on $300 to $400 because the drinks, food, gift shop, etc… at the Hilton is extremely expensive…even for a diet coke.
5. Brand – Use this event to build your brand. Put your twitter name, url and what your topics are on your badge, your cards and your computer. This helps people to know what you do and helps you to make similar contacts for guest posts, backlinks and just to have other fun people to talk too. You can also use it to show that you are serious about your blog, even if it isn’t a huge one yet. You can also use it to build yourself as an expert about a topic and have two or three posts ready to share with people which may help you to get more opportunities to guest post. That helps build your readership, your brand and trust in your blog.
6. Brains – Remember that this is a place where you can learn a lot. Try to keep drinking and partying to a minimum while still having fun. You can learn a lot and grow your business and the best way is to have a clear head and to be ready to learn. Also remember to bring your laptop or a pen and paper to take notes at sessions so you can learn and help to grow your blogs. If your brain is fried from the night before, you may not get as much out of the sessions and networking as you could have without the partying.
7. Boldness/Bashful – Be bold when you go. People may come up and talk to you, but you also need to go out and meet some people. Start networking on Twitter and talk to people and ask if they would want to meet. If you see someone whose blog you like, walk up and introduce yourself. You need to get out of being an introvert and walk up and talk to people. The more you can do that, the more you will get out of the show. One other thing that I have started doing is looking for the BlogHer12 badges on sites. If the Blogger is going, I write to them through the contact form or email address and ask if they’d like to set up a time to talk. Just make sure you mention what you’d like to talk about.
8. Baked Goods -Magnolia bakery is right down the street. It is the perfect pick me up in the middle of the day and an awesome bribe to get time to sit with people who you want to meet. I gave someone a free hour of consulting just because they brought me my favorite kind from there. You’d be amazed at what those cupcakes can do.
9. Bags – bring an extra bag in your suitcase for all of the giveaways, etc… you will get. It’s amazing how much junk you can pick up and then realize you have no room for it in your suitcase. Stowaway Bags are ideal because they fit in your suitcase when you go and you can use it for dirty clothes and check it when you leave so that you have tons of room for the things you will get at the expo hall and parties.
10. Breaks & Bedtime – Remember to take breaks and to stick to bedtime. No matter how much fun you have and how much you want to stay at the show, you need downtime away from it or you will wear yourself out and could easily catch a cold or feel like you have a flu. Every couple of hours go sit down and have some me time. Set a bed time and wake up time so that you don’t miss your shows and if it isn’t long enough, plan a nap time in the middle of the day and stick to it. This is important for keeping yourself healthy and alert during the show.
BlogHer12 in NYC should be an amazing show. I have multiple posts about what you should pack and tips about attending a session or speaking, but the list above are concerns I have seen coming through Twitter so I wanted to do this post and share some tips I’ve learned from other shows. Please feel free to share your own tips below by leaving a comment and if you’d like to meet there, I’ll have some fun giveaways an discounts for you!