The Conference Planner’s 14 Insider Tips to Making the Most of Your #ICON14
It is hard to believe that we are just 14 days away from #ICON14, the ultimate event for small business success. Our events team has been busy planning, preparing and finalizing all of the necessary details to ensure that this year’s conference is the best to date. This year is the first year I have been at the helm of the event, but Nicole Shoots, our Events Manager, is a veteran with 5 ICON conferences under her belt. We are often asked what “insider tips” we can provide to attendees, We put our heads together to create a list of our top tips to ensure your #ICON14 experience is incredible.
1. STAY HYDRATED & FUELED
While Arizona natives are used to the “dry heat” many visitors can quickly become dehydrated in the Sonoran Desert. With average daily temperatures ranging between 75 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit in April, staying hydrated is an essential component to staying healthy during the event. Water stations are available throughout the convention. As for staying fueled, remember that a light breakfast and full lunch are included with your conference ticket! Grab breakfast in the ICON Expo space beginning at 7am each morning. Lunch will include vegetarian options and gluten free options. Between sessions, we recommend you pack a snack such as fruit, protein bars or nuts to keep you fueled. Light concessions will be available for purchase on the first floor between breakout sessions. When you're out on the town, here are some great recommendations for dining in Downtown Phoenix with dietary restrictions.
2. WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES
Ok, this may seem like a given, but we had to throw it in here! This year we have expanded, and are taking over three levels of the Phoenix Convention Center. From general sessions to breakout sessions, exploring the ICON Expo, or the Downtown Phoenix area, there is a lot of walking in your immediate future. Do yourself a favor and forgo the stylish stilettos for a comfortable pair of walking shoes during the day. BONUS TIP: consider bringing 2 comfortable pairs of shoes, so you can rotate and keep your “dogs from barking.”
3. EARLY REGISTRATION
Want to beat the crowds and check in early? This year we are offering early-registration at three locations so you can do just that. Grab your badge, your conference guide and swag bag and start planning your #ICON14 plan of attack early, on Tuesday, April 22nd at:
- Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel Lobby: 10:00am-6:00pm
- Hyatt Regency Phoenix Hotel Lobby: 10:00am-6:00pm
- Phoenix Convention Center, 300 Level Registration: 2:00pm-6:00pm
General registration will be open at 7:00am on Wednesday, April 23, in the 300 Level Registration Area. Regardless of which option you choose, make sure you have your photo ID and ticket barcode ready. (Barcodes will be emailed to you a few days before the conference.)
4. BRING YOUR LAPTOP, CELL, & CHARGERS
Let’s face it, just because you’re attending our conference to work ON your business doesn’t mean that you are completely off the hook for working IN your business while here. We realize that the entrepreneur’s business day never really ends and want to help you stay connected. The majority of our seating this year is “classroom style” to accommodate your laptops, tablets etc. Power strips will be available in the breakout sessions, and wireless Internet is included in the conference space and ICON Expo as well. If you DO forget your cell phone charger, we have several charging stations located throughout the ICON Expo and conference space.
5. BOOK SIGNINGS
We are thrilled to have an A-list of incredible keynote and breakout session speakers this year, and even more thrilled that you will be able to connect with them during various book signings in the ICON Expo space. Here are a few tips to help ensure you don’t miss the opportunity to meet your favorite speakers:
- Pre-purchase books before the book signings to avoid lines at the bookstore.. *Limited stock of books will be on hand and for sale in our Barnes & Nobel bookstore in the ICON Expo area.
- Have your camera or phone ready. An Infusionite will be waiting to snap a picture of you with the speaker (time-permitting).
6. ASK THE EXPERT AREA
For Infusionsoft customers, this is an incredible benefit of attending the conference. Sign up for your complimentary 20-minute, 1:1 session with an Infusionsoft Consultant to discuss your ideas or snag the help of a Customer Delight team member to answer your more tech-related questions. Keep an eye out for an email on how to sign up for this great opportunity.
7. DOWNLOAD THE #ICON14 EVENT APP
Want a quick guide that lists the conference center layout, session breakdown, agenda and more at your fingertips? Well, there’s an app for that! We are finalizing the details this week, and the app will be live just before the conference. Search "ICON 14" in Google Play and download the official event app and stay connected. App details for the iTunes store will be released soon. Throughout the conference you’ll receive updates and information via the app, as well as staying connected with other attendees. Update: The #ICON14 Event App is now available on iTunes.
8. CHECK OUT THE FULL AGENDA AHEAD OF TIME
The full agenda is available online. Make a list of sessions you don’t want to miss. If you’re attending with a group, divide and conquer if you just cannot decide which of our nearly 60 incredible breakout sessions to attend.
9. OPTIMIZE YOUR SUITCASE SPACE
Packing for a business conference can be daunting. The suggested conference attire is business casual. We also recommend dressing in layers, as the conference room temperatures can range from 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, don’t forget to pack your swimsuit, especially if you’re traveling from colder climates. April is a great time to enjoy the pool in Arizona. For a more detailed what to wear to #ICON14 guide, check out the article Forbes Magazine recently wrote.
10. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF AFTER-HOURS NETWORKING EVENTS
After an inspiring (and let’s face it, long) day of education, don’t make the mistake many first-timers do and head back to the hotel room early. You will be kicking yourself for missing the opportunity to participate in our incredible networking opportunities! Wednesday night 5:15-7:00pm: Join us for a traditional speed-networking event in the ICON Expo space. The first drink and appetizers are on us. Infusionite, and networking guru, Dave Sherman, guarantees you will leave the event with 30-40 new connections! Thursday night 6pm-8pm: Enjoy a more casual, organic networking experience at the Arizona Center (directly across from the Sheraton), after our last keynote of the day. We invite you to dine in one of the many local, small business restaurants at the Arizona Center, and to enjoy music and a no-host bar in the beautiful outdoor grotto. Don’t forget your business cards, and if you’re an Infusionsoft customer, have your SNAP app ready.
11. GET SOCIAL
Part of the fun and energy of #ICON14 is fueled by social media engagement. Swing by our #Social Center on the 300 level, just outside the ICON Expo entrance and meet with our Social Media Team. Word on the street is that they have some pretty sweet swag to offer, but the only way to win is to get more connected. You might even be able to squeeze a few social tips out of our experts that you can take home and apply to your business. Be sure to document your experience and use our official event social info:
- Infusionsoft: @Infusionsoft
Downtown Phoenix Sheraton: @SheratonPhxDtwn
Phoenix Hyatt: @HyattPhoenix
Phoenix Convention Center: @PhoenixConvCtr
Downtown Phoenix: @downtownphoenix
12. KNOW THE CONVENTION CENTER LAYOUT
Becoming familiar with the layout will help tremendously. Here’s a few tips: 3rd floor: Registration, Keynotes/General Sessions, ICON Expo, Breakfast & Networking, Recharge Area, Get Social Area, Bookstore & Book Signings 1st floor: Breakout Sessions, Snacks and Concessions, Street Studio Lower Level: Lunch space
13. HOTEL TIPS
Both the Hyatt and Sheraton allow for late checkout requests, however, they are on a first-requested, first served basis. Many attendees will be checking out on Friday, April 25th, so requesting your late checkout ahead of time will be helpful. Also, both conference hotels have bell service and bag storage available, so if you don’t secure a late check out time, you can securely store your bags in the hotel and attend Friday’s sessions without worry. Bag storage is complimentary, but gratuities are appreciated.
Many veteran attendees will recall the “sea of green” shirts worn by Infusionites in years past. This year, be on the look out for a “sea of blue” as all of our team members and volunteers will be rockin’ the blue Infusionsoft shirts, and are ready to help. Whether it be questions about the schedule, map, or Infusionsoft’s products. So there you have it, the conference planner’s insider tips to help you make the most of #ICON14. We are beyond thrilled that in just 14 days, small business will take over the Downtown Phoenix area. Nicole and I cannot wait to celebrate with you. Lizzy McMillan joined the Infusionsoft team in 2013 as the ICON Event Manager. She graduated Cum Laude from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, and then pursued her Masters of Business Administration with a concentration in Small Business, followed shortly by a certificate in Project Management. She has a passion for events, and is a skilled professional photographer. She married her college sweetheart, and loves their family circus which includes two munchkins and two Labrador mixes.
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