One of the biggest trade shows in the automotive industry is right around the corner: SEMA 2018 is taking place October 30– November 2 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
With over 3,000 products in the New Products Showcase, educational seminars, product demonstrations, special events, and networking opportunities, the list of stuff to do is overwhelming. We’ve done the research and compiled a list of tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your SEMA experience.
When you register early, you get your badge mailed to you in advance. Since you don’t have to wait to get your badge at the convention, this gives you more time to peruse the Showcase floor. For domestic attendees, this deadline is October 13th, and for international attendees, this deadline is September 15th.
Downloading the app is an absolute must. It gives you bookmarkable exhibitor lists, seminar schedules, as well as an interactive map that can give you directions from one location to another.
Download the App
Downloading the app is an absolute must. It gives you bookmarkable exhibitor lists, seminar schedules, as well as an interactive map that can give you directions from one location to another. Get the app at the App Store (iOS) or Play Store (Android). It also includes SEMA’s Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook feeds – which leads to the next tip…
Use Social Media to Stay Up-To-Date
Make sure to follow SEMA’s social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can also use #SEMA2018 on Instagram and Twitter to ensure that you don’t miss any of the happenings going on around during the show. You can even use this hashtag in your own social media posts to make your SEMA presence known as well! This will elevate your profile and help your networking efforts while you’re there.
Bring business cards
SEMA is a chance to network with other automotive industry people, so make sure to bring plenty of business cards! If you need to print more, there is the FedEx Business Center located in the Grand Lobby for all your printing needs.
Plan Before You Go
SEMA has so many things to do, it’s a must to create an itinerary before you go. Prioritize the exhibits you want to see, make a list of any of the education sessions you want to go to, and figure out designated resting and eating times. Don’t rest too long though! You want to make sure you can squeeze everything you can out of SEMA. Don’t try to fit everything in one day, either. SEMA is four days for a reason, and every day has something new for you to check out. The SEMA website has a list of special events, education sessions times, and even scheduled celebrity appearances. Another helpful tip: if you’re interested in scheduling a VIP Demo of ALLDATA Diagnostics, just text VIPDEMO to 313131 and we’ll schedule you in ahead of time.
Get the Most Out of the New Products Showcase
One of the most popular features of SEMA is the New Products Showcase, which last year featured over 3,000 products. The SEMA website itself recommends it as a great place to start your day, since it opens at 8AM each day of the show. Be sure to use the scanner provided in the New Products Showcase to select products you’re interested in, and it’ll give you a personalized list of these products.
SEMA also recommends that you attend the New Products Buyer Happy Hour so you can network, look at products, and unwind before you leave. This occurs at the end of the day Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
Visit the First Time and Featured Exhibit Areas
SEMA is normally sectioned off based on market segments, but there are four areas dedicated to a variety from different segments – perfect for newcomers and savvy buyers. You can see the list of companies in these areas on the online floorplan on the SEMA website.
Prioritize the exhibits you want to see, make a list of any of the education sessions you want to go to, and figure out designated resting and eating times. Don’t rest too long though!
Attend an Education Session
There are fifty free education sessions available during SEMA, so be sure to check out a couple! From business management to legal and regulatory to vehicle technology, there’s something for everyone.
Know the Best Ways to Get Around While You’re There
There is a wide variety of travel options for getting to and around SEMA. For getting to the convention center, the SEMA website has a list of the different means of transportation, but our SEMA attendees recommend taking the monorail if possible. They also recommend against driving to the convention center because of the heavy traffic, parking lot distance from the building, and limited spots.
Not only do you have to think about the best way to get to the convention center, you also have to think of the best way to get around the convention center. When traveling around the convention center, you can use the Toyo Tire Treadpass as a shortcut between the South and Central Halls. Like mentioned before, you can use the SEMA app to help direct you between exhibits.
Take care of yourself
WEAR COMFY SHOES. This is one of the most popular recommendations from experienced SEMA-goers. The Las Vegas Convention Center is huge, and you’re going to be on your feet all day. Make sure you break in your shoes before you go and bring multiple pairs. Las Vegas’s climate is also very arid, so make sure to stay hydrated throughout the day(s). Experienced SEMA-goers recommend bringing a humidifier for your hotel room if you’re not used to the dry air. For food, make sure to plan your meals. It’s going to be crowded and you’re going to be busy, so our SEMA attendees recommend getting food early, or pre-ordering if possible. If you’re the unlucky one stuck with getting food for everyone else, make sure to have extra bags so you can carry their food back with relative ease.
So, remember: take care of yourself, plan ahead, utilize every opportunity and enjoy your SEMA 2018!