6 Ways to Make the Most of The PPAI Expo


Heading to The PPAI Expo in Las Vegas, the promotional products industry’s biggest event of the year, but a little overwhelmed by the sheer excitement of Sin City? We don’t blame you!

Aside from the daily parade of world-class entertainment and mind-bogglingly lavish hotels, Las Vegas is a well-known mecca for some of the nation’s largest tradeshows and networking events. Thankfully for you, we are no strangers to the grand Mandalay Bay Convention Center, and have walked many a mile along the huge PPAI Expo show floor, so before you close your suitcases shut and set sail for the west, check in with our 6 tips for you to have the best time at the most anticipated promotional products tradeshow.

 Plan ahead

In order to cut down on FOMO (fear of missing out), one way to get the most out of The PPAI Expo is by preparing your daily schedule and researching Expo-related events prior to arriving in Vegas. The quickest and most efficient way to do that is through SAGE Mobile’s tradeshow planner section. With an overview of all the events going on, it’s easy to keep track of important events and add them directly to your calendar. Between SAGE Experience’s free, live education sessions on the show floor, to SAGE Conference, there are so many opportunities to learn new strategies for your business! 

 We recommend using SAGE Mobile’s interactive Expo floor map to easily navigate the show and make sure you’re always in the right place at the right time. 

Stay hydrated

There are only a few places in the world as dry as Las Vegas. Couple that with the bustling energy of The PPAI Expo and miles of exhibitor booths, stretching out as far as the eye can see, and you have yourself a pretty tough situation. To keep your spirits high and your mind alert, make sure to drink plenty of water throughout your entire stay.

We recommend stopping by Aisle 600, with your registration ticket in hand, to pick up your complimentary refillable water bottle and keep an eye out for new water refill stations in the back of Aisle 4300. And if you’re worried about carrying your water bottle around the whole day, you can always pick up a free tote bag at the entrance to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, so all your belongings won’t get in the way while you’re roaming the show floor.

Get comfortable

Just thinking about walking the Mandalay Bay Convention Center perimeter makes me instantly tired. If you’ve never been to a Vegas tradeshow before, prepare to be amazed by the sheer area of the space around you. Being home to many exhibit halls and meeting spaces, this convention center can trade places with a training arena for marathon runners. With that being said, whatever you choose to wear in order to feel comfortable, make sure you keep professionalism in mind.

We recommend bringing multiple pairs of shoes – one for each day. Your feet may get blisters, so now isn’t the best time to wear a new pair of sleek shoes that haven’t been broken in yet. If your feet become swollen and feel bruised toward the end of the way, soak them in ice water to reduce the swelling, and go for a quick massage to give your feet and legs a rest at night.   

Dress for the occasion

When you think of Las Vegas, you instantly picture a city beaming with radiance in the middle of a hot, Nevada desert. What may be true for the remaining 335 days of the year, is not always true for January in Sin City. While it may be warm on the tradeshow floor, it may get very chilly as soon as you step outside or into a breezy pavilion. Temperature changes are just something you have to get used to during your stay. 

We recommend bringing an extra layer of clothing with you everywhere you go. Grab a cardigan or a jacket with you for your daily activities and for nighttime events, most places will have a coat check available for you to hang your outerwear.

Prepare to socialize

With a city that’s overrun by celebrities and networking opportunities – you never really know who you can run into at any moment. There may be a potential business offer or a fated introduction on every corner, so prepare to put your best foot forward and meander the way around the many social events at The PPAI Expo. 

We recommend having your elevator speech ready and your business cards with you at all times, in case an auspicious opportunity comes along.  You can also visit expo.ppai.org/events to see a range of social events like the Early Opening Celebration, the Power of Two Party, and so much more.

Maximize your time

Despite the city’s infamous nightlife scene, it’s still possible to get work done, have fun and not go overboard while exploring The Strip. A great night on the town is somewhat of a right of passage for many first-time Vegas goers and is a perfect opportunity to boost team morale and socialize with industry professionals. So, if you have the energy after a long day of walking the show floor, take some time to step out with your colleagues and enjoy the city of lights.

We recommend setting realistic expectations for your nighttime events ahead of time, so you and your team are aware of what is acceptable. And remember to keep track of time, because there is a good reason why there are no clocks in any casinos – we want to make sure you have another productive day the next morning!

Ready to head out into a whirlwind of The PPAI Expo and get promo inspiration for the year ahead? We hope these tips helped you better prepare for the tradeshow, and if you’re still looking for some more advice on how to spend your time in Vegas, check in with our SAGE Guide to The PPAI Expo, to get the inside scoop on the best restaurants, spas, events, and hotels around town. 

Enjoy the experience – just remember to work hard and then play hard! There’s no better way to get immersed in the industry and build your network.

Have a safe trip and Viva Las Vegas!

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