I traveled last week for my first-ever business trip to Los Angeles for the installation of the E3 trade show. This trip was meant to be a major observation/educational experience for me. And that is the trip it was!
I received a Bachelor’s of Business Administration in Hospitality Administration so I wasn’t completely unprepared walking onto the floor. During school I took a course on Meetings, Expos, Events, and Conventions, but seeing is definitely believing with this industry. I got to see some incredible projects and exhibits and got a first-hand look at some innovative products for this lucrative portion of the entertainment industry. I’d like to share with you some of the things I learned last week:
- Manpower – I’m not real sure who I thought installed and dismantled booths before I began working for Nth Degree. One of my co-workers said it best when she said, “I thought it had to be magic booth fairies!” Well, I wouldn’t exactly call them fairies, but they definitely have some magic! Nth Degree had 90+ very talented, purple-wearing people installing booths left and right and up and down. I had no concept of the sheer importance of a quality installation and dismantle company, before I began working for one. These guys work their tails off and it shows daily! One day it’s an empty space with electrical and carpet and the next day you can’t even see the booth next door because these labor teams have built buildings within buildings. Beyond the installation, it really is incredible to think of the impact a trade show has on a city. Without ‘em, nothing would happen!
- Labor Management – I was fortunate enough to see one of Nth Degree’s biggest project at E3 2012 being installed – the Microsoft Xbox exhibit. This is one of the projects that, as I said, involved constructing buildings within buildings – real, functioning buildings with 360-degree theaters, meeting rooms, event balconies, and even sprinkler systems (just in case!). It was like being at a construction site without the dirt! This booth, if one can even call it that, was so impressive. The on-site team explained to me their labor management pre-planning and on-site processes for this incredible space – the keys to successfully managing the labor for such projects. But I won’t tell any more than that because, well, our team is clearly good at what they do and I wouldn’t want to give any of their secrets away.
- Connections/Relationships – Lastly, this trip showed me the importance of connections/relationships – good and bad. Apparently, this industry runs deep with lots of human history – (call me a cacklin’ hen, but human history is always the most interesting). This person once owned this business with this person, until THAT person wanted to go on their own to make that business which then became…you get my drift. Back to my point – relationships and connections run deep and I certainly witnessed those essential relationships at work at E3. Making new connections is vital to new business, while maintaining relationships is crucial to repeat business. It’s relationship marketing. Even within the company, it’s important for relationships to be maintained interdepartmentally. It’s a full circle when it comes to our labor team, customers, sales team, planning team, etc. as each depends on the other. So, if everyone effectively communicates through their various relationships to one another, then everyone will live in harmony…at least for that show, right? I don’t have many industry connections/relationships myself (YET), but I realized there is nowhere to go in the industry without them!
Aside from human history, labor management, and manpower, I learned a lot more – and could go on for days! But, I won’t. I’ve got plenty more lessons to learn and people to meet. Thanks for taking the time to allow me to share some experiences from a “newbie”!