Every year, thousands of industry members head down to Louisville, Ky., for a few days of education, networking and equipment demonstrations at the annual GIE+EXPO.
Whether you’ve been before or not, GIE+EXPO is a can’t-miss event. Here are 10 tips to making the most of your trip.
1) Set goals and make a list.
It’s easy to forget why you are here when you get on the trade show floor with so much to see indoors and out. Take a moment to reflect on what you want to get out of the show. Is it to look at new product lines from your original equipment manufacturer? Are you making buying decisions for 2015? Are you here to learn from industry professionals? Do you want to demo the latest products? Are you here for insider knowledge on building your business? Are you looking to learn new techniques and skills? Creating this goal-oriented checklist will ensure that your time is used productively and efficiently while at the show.
2) Download the Go EXPO mobile app.
Gain access to all things pertaining to the 2015 show through the new smart phone app. The free app, sponsored by Gravely, provides easy access to event schedules, the floor plan, exhibitor information, show announcements and more. Plus, you’ll be entered for a chance to win $5,000 just by downloading and logging in.
3) Schedule time for exhibits
With so much happening during the show, you will want to be sure to schedule your days accordingly. If you are attending educational sessions, networking events and/or meetings, create a schedule for each day. Make sure that this schedule includes some time to visit the more than 750 exhibits. Set aside at least two to three hours a day to visit the show floor and Outdoor Demonstration Area. You won’t be disappointed!
4) Get outside.
Jump on, test drive and get under the hood. The 19-acre Outdoor Demo Area is unlike any experience you have ever had before. There is no other place in the world where you can get this up-close and personal with the newest, latest and greatest outdoor equipment. Get outside and experience it for yourself.
5) Visit the New Products Showcase.
GIE+EXPO is THE place to see new products. Manufacturers use the show to launch their latest innovations, and you’ll find them highlighted in one centrally located New Products Showcase. Stop here first to review new products and plan your strategy for visiting the exhibits and talking with manufacturers.
6) See the hardscape demonstrations.
Visit the HNA Outdoor Arena for the latest best-practice techniques from hardscape experts. Demos will include Paver Installation Basics, Segmental Retaining Walls for Raised Patio Construction, Firepit and Outdoor Fireplace Construction, Safety and Design, and much more. Live demonstrations take place on Thursday and Friday – and as an extra incentive for ICPI Certified Installers, you’ll receive 1 CE credit for each demonstration that you attend.
7) Network, network and network.
Take the opportunity to talk to exhibitors, contractors, dealers, vendors, suppliers, presenters and distributors whom you might meet throughout the show. It could go without saying, but remember to put a few extra business cards in your pocket. You never know who you might meet.
8) Get the latest update from your industry association
The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), International Concrete Paving Institute (ICPI), National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) and Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS) are all represented right here. Visit with your industry’s association to learn how you can become more involved.
9) Enter the Fabulous Friday $10,000 giveaway!
It may be the last day of the show, but it’s also your last chance to win. Fabulous Friday is the show’s biggest giveaway – you could win $10,000! To enter, return the entry form that you received in the mail with your registration information or upon on-site registration to the Belgard Hardscapes booth (#1216) by noon on Friday. The winner will be announced at 4 p.m. and you must be present to win.
10) Enjoy free concerts!
It’s three nights of foot-stompin’ concerts that you don’t want to miss. The concerts, sponsored by Dixie Chopper, will take place on the Nissan Commercial Vehicles stage at 4th Street Live!
Wednesday, Oct. 21
From Paris, 8 pm
Grand Funk Railroad, 9 pm
Thursday, Oct. 22
Kellie Pickler, 8 pm
The Crashers, 9:30 pm
Friday, Oct. 23
Lyndsey Henken, 8 pm
The Rigbys, 9 pm