Amsterdam, the city with reportedly more bicycles than people, is the place to be from 9 to 12 February to network, socialize and conduct business at Integrated Systems Europe.
To help navigate and survive this year’s show Bubble & Squeak Communications has combined over a century of experience in participating at various tradeshows across the globe and assembled knowledge to produce the hottest tips and tricks available.
If you would like to say hello you’ll see the Bubble & Squeak team around the halls wearing their legendary Bubble pink and white striped shirts (see note below about capsule wardrobe).
Before you go:
•Utilize ISE’s social media; include the show’s Twitter handle in your news and hashtag when you talk about the show @ISEShow #ISE2016 @AudioVisualNews #avtweeps
•Download the ISE app (https://www.iseurope.org/ise-mobile-app)
•Find out where the cool parties are happening and make sure you blag a ticket / wristband!
•Check your passport / visa is in date and you have your travel / health insurance in place (Europeans should ensure you have your free EHIC Card http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcareabroad/EHIC/Pages/about-the-ehic.aspx)
•Don’t worry if you have forgotten to pick up your Euros. Go online and order them to collect at your airport terminal but watch out, some providers only have landside collection
•Ensure you have contacted your credit card company before you leave and put a travel alert on your card. While you’re at it, jot down their international customer service number (same applies for some mobile phone operators)
•Its also worth making a written list of any other emergency / team phone numbers just in case
•Go to your local chemist or order from Chemistdirect.co.uk (see ‘Things to take with you’ below)
•Use the local hotels, bars and restaurants for meetings that you don’t want on the tradeshow floor. The Okura and the Hilton are very nice, you can also walk to the Holiday Inn and there are lots of local bars just outside the RAI
•If organizing a client’s drinks, do it somewhere close to a big party that they are going to, or on a boat that will transport them there – it takes ages to get anywhere once the show closes
•The second you think of packing something, PACK IT. If you wait, you will forget
•You will inevitably forget something, either at home or while away. Accept this reality, and pray it is not your passport or your wallet!
•It can be freezing in Amsterdam in February – don’t forget your gloves / mittens, warm socks, hats etc
•Pack a capsule wardrobe with plenty of layers – it makes the mornings so much easier, plus layering will allow you to transfer from outdoors to indoors seamlessly! Oh, and never pack something that you haven’t worn before. Otherwise you’ll find your new shoes too uncomfortable, your new jacket too flimsy or your new underwear too tight
•Make sure your electronic devices are fully charged when you are at the airport – extra checks mean you must demonstrate that you can turn them on
Things to take with you:
•Berocca (take them morning and evening)
•Dioralyte – to rehydrate and replace essential electrolytes (recommended if you have partaken in alcoholic beverages!)
•Aspirin or paracetamol (as above)
•Eye drops (to combat over-air-conditioning)
•Lip balm / Vaseline
•Plasters for blisters (try rubbing Vaseline on blisters or sore spots to stop chafing!)
•Umbrella (or find one as a give away on a stand!)
•Mints (show breath – yuk!)
•Chargers – camera, phone, laptop, etc. Pack these into a glasses case to keep them tidy and easy to locate in your bag
•Memory cards for your camera
•European adapters – more than one!
•Dry shampoo (ladies only)
•Mobile phone booster; the long days will eat up your already short battery life
•Shoes – take as many different types as possible so that your feet don’t get time to hurt / get blisters in the same place
•If you like a cup of tea in your hotel room before you set off you will need to take your own tea bags / kettle
While you are there:
•The train is still the cheapest and fastest way to get from Schiphol airport, either directly to the RAI or into central Amsterdam – Check the board above the escalator near the ticket office as trains to the RAI leave from Platforms One, Two or Three
•If you book a taxi from the airport they will meet you by the big red and white checked construction near the entrance to the train (inside)
•Check your diary timings – daylight saving / timezones can screw up meetings!
•Eat some breakfast, even if it's a banana - you might not 'do' breakfast but you never know when you'll be able to grab a bite and you really don't want to spend all your per diem on expensive ham kaas rolls every day. Or faint…
•Plan your day - the halls are many and far! If possible, try to give yourself twice as much time as you think you’ll need, as time flies by in the RAI
•Everyone is inevitably running late. The half hour meeting slot is never enough, there are vast distances to walk and there’s always someone you know around every corner. If it’s you running late, let your host know ASAP (even if it’s a quick text). If someone is late to meet you, don’t get cross. Accept it and re-schedule if you can no longer fit them in
•Get some daylight / fresh air whenever you can
•Get clear instructions on where you are meeting someone – “by a bridge / canal / bicycle stand / flower stall” will not help you!
•Bacterial hand stuff for after your handshakes with a million people
•Drink lots… and maybe some water too
•Watch out for the “bitterballen”. They are the perfect accompaniment to a round of beers. But be careful when you bite through the crunchy crust, the meaty ragout filling is often burning hot!
•Try a delicious stroopwafel
•As much as you believe the contrary, once you get home you will not remember names, or action items. Take notes, leave yourself a voice memo, connect on ‘LinkedIn’ and remember to follow up
•Sleep with a pillow under your feet at night to raise them and relieve pressure/aches
•Find a local limo/boat company and have their number on hand to beat those long taxi queues or maybe use www.uber.com/cities/amsterdam
•Although Amsterdam ranks as the 5th safest city in the world (In the Safe Cities Index 2015 White Paper published by The Economist), remember to be conscious of displaying your mobile and other valuables in the street as you walk around - a surprisingly high number of people have had their phones snatched by passing motorcyclists
•Get your literature digitally instead of carrying reams of paper from the show floor. Embrace the badge scan, stop worrying about getting on email lists, and clean out your in-box later
•Don’t forget to don your wearable technology, or turn on your smart phones’ motion tracker to see just how far you have walked
•To keep yourself looking fresh and banish dubious stains from your clothing, spray (cheap) neat vodka onto the offending mark using an atomizer. Don’t worry, we are assured its odorless!
•Look in every direction when crossing the road – watch out for trams, cars, bikes (especially bikes with wobbly tourists on them!)
•Be aware of the subtle difference between a coffeeshop and a Koffie Huis! (A koffie huis serves refreshments minus the soft drugs and space cake)
•While you are enjoying the city, try and make time to visit the world-class art museums – among them the Rijksmuseum, the Stedelijk museum of modern art and the Van Gogh Museum
•Presents for partners – ask the Bubbles (we are good at PR, marketing, events and shopping!)
•Schiphol airport has a great express spa – try a foot massage / facial / back rub to make you feel a bit more human before you go home
•You will always bump into someone you know having a ‘dirty burger’ at a well know fast food chain before you head home
•If you liked your hotel, book it again for next year
•Book your flights for next year as soon as you can, you know you are going to go again so get the best seats at the best prices you can