So you’ve decided to go to NAB, and you don’t really know what to expect? Hopefully this primer will make your visit worthwhile, and enjoyable. There are some facts you should think about before you commit to going.
The show takes place at the Las Vegas convention center from April 16 through 21. In 2015 there were 1789 exhibitors spread across 1,015,000 square feet, and over 103,000 visitors. You should expect to walk upwards of 8 miles every day.
This Cheat Sheet was developed by an industry partner in attempt to save you time, money, and aggravation. Visiting the show does not have to be an expensive venture. Follow some simple rules, and you can make the experience quite worthwhile.
REGISTRATION – You will need to register at www.nabshow.com to get a pass. To get a free pass, you will need a validation code. For code information available to Local 669 Members, please be logged-in to the website and visit "Notices & Discounts" located on the list under "Union Information".
The rental houses in town typically also have codes they can hand out. Free passes are deemed “exhibits only”. If you want to take part in any of the seminars, you will have to pay for those, but it will include your exhibits pass. You must register before the end of February, or the free passes go from free, to $150. If you register, and can’t go, you still receive information about product releases at the show. There is no penalty for not attending. Passes are mailed to you before the event. It is strongly recommended that you don’t forget your pass, or you’ll find yourself in a line of several thousand people who don’t have passes.
GETTING THERE – You can book any number of different flights out of YVR, or as many people have discovered, you can fly with Allegiant Air (www.allegiantair.com) out of Bellingham for as low as $65 each way.
STAYING THERE – You can book at the same time as you book your flight OR when you go to www.nabshow.com, there is a section called the NAB Housing Authority. NAB books giant blocks of rooms at almost every hotel, and as such, secures the best possible rates.
GETTING TO THE SHOW – At virtually every hotel, there is a free shuttle that leaves every 15 minutes. On the NAB website you can download the bus schedule. The busses also leave from the convention center front doors to take you back.
OK. I’m here. Now what? – The convention center is dived into blocks such as South Hall Upper (SU), South Hall Lower (SL), Central (C). These help you find vendors in the complex. For example, Arri is located at C4337, or Central Hall, both number 4337. There are signs hanging from the ceiling to tell you where the numbered blocks start and stop. On the NAB website, there is a section to sign up for called “my NAB”. This gives you access to maps that help you find every booth, and meeting room. If you’re meeting people there, you can choose to “share my schedule” and it will allow your friends to see where you’re going to be and when. This app also allows you to get contact information for every exhibitor.
BOOTH TOURS – If you want to, you can approach the vendors for a private meeting, or booth tour, by using the contact information from the “MY NAB’ section of the website. The alternative is you and over 100,000 of your friends can all go at once to the same booth, and try to get close to the front of the crowd. If you’re new to this, and just want to see what these tours are about, all the rental houses organize booth tours for themselves, and if you ask, they will gladly let you follow along for as much, or as little as you want.
WHAT TO DO IN THE EVENINGS – You can’t go to Las Vegas without having some fun, and NAB is no exception. There are parties every night during NAB, and they range from the simple, to off the charts blow outs like the legendary AJA party. In the late afternoon, after the show closes, the Canadian Suite at the Flamingo Hilton has become famous as a place to meet up before the evening festivities begin. Celebrating it’s 50th year, the Canadian Suite is a great place to meet up with friends from Canada, (and beyond) and enjoy some free drinks courtesy of the vendors and rental houses. The Fuji party at the Four Seasons hotel boasts live music, gourmet appetizers, and 4 open bars. AJA traditionally hosts their massive party on a rooftop patio, and the festivities go well into the next day. Ask your favorite vendor, or rental house if they can get you passes to these or any other parties.
We hope this takes some of the mystery out of NAB. It’s always a good idea to talk to someone who has been there before to get some advice, as this show can be a little daunting. Hope to see you there in 2016!