If you’ve received an invite to an exclusive conference like the Telecom and Media Summit J.P. Morgan Chase is holding this week, you’ll need to do a little research in advance to make sure your trip goes smoothly. Even when you travel to a new city for a business conference you’ll still have downtime to fill; you’ll also want a heads up about the best places in town to take potential clients or network with colleagues.
Depending on the size of the conference, you’ll likely get plenty of information up front about the location and setting of the main events, class and workshop schedules, industry meeting or review times and more. You’ll also need to do some independent research into the hotel and area. If you’re planning on being one of the 9 million plus business travelers who head to Chicago each year, the time to find out what to do in Chicago is before you leave home, not after you arrive at O’Hare.
- Social Media: The biggest conferences and trade shows attract people from all over the country and are usually scheduled and promoted well in advance. With the advent and popularity of social media web casts and up-to-the-moment updates from participants you can find it all on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. If you attend the conference in person, streaming and social media allow you to attend more than one session or review what was covered.
- Prepare for presenting: Conventions and conferences are scheduled well in advance, giving both presenters and participants time to prepare for the show. If you are presenting or exhibiting you’ll have to prepare in advance — you may have to apply for your spot up to a year in advance and then you’ll have arrange for shipping and insuring your exhibit.
- Schedule appropriately: If you are attending a conference in Chicago, you’ll need to buy plane tickets, choose a hotel, sign up for classes and check out dining theater and shopping destinations. Learn where to go in Chicago and you’ll be able to navigate the area like a local.
- Stay on-site? If you are going to a mega conference or big trade show you have several options. You can choose to stay on site at the actual location hosting the event. Staying onsite has many benefits including instant access to the classes, workshops and speaking sessions, and plenty of networking opportunities.
- Stay off-site? If you prefer some privacy, want to get out and explore the city or if you are on a budget that prevents you from staying in the host location, then consider staying off-site. If you are not interested in networking, or don’t want to constantly meet others attending the same event, then staying at a nearby hotel may be the solution.
Chicago is teeming with hotels designed to tempt business travelers, so finding a suitable room within a reasonable distance and price range won’t be a problem.