An Insider’s Guide to Attending Wedding MBA as a Speaker
Posted by Meghan Ely
Wedding MBA is always a highly-anticipated event that draws creatives from all backgrounds and, as one of the largest wedding industry conferences in the world, it’s a great place to take the stage. While last year’s was adapted as a virtual experience in light of the pandemic, this year will be an exciting time to reconnect with industry peers and build your reputation as a thought leader.
With COVID still presenting unique challenges, Wedding MBA will look and feel different this year. As exciting as it is to get back to what we love most, there are certain considerations to keep in mind in order to have a successful experience.
Having spoken at Wedding MBA for many years, here are some of my not-so-obvious tips as a quick refresher before you pack your bags.
Be smart with travel bookings
Booking travel and accommodations is often another box to check off amidst a whirlwind of to-dos after being selected to speak away from home. Too often, speakers set it and forget it until the week leading up to the conference, which can prevent you from making the most of your time away from the office.
If you plan on working on the place, be proactive about picking the best seat in your budget. Don’t leave it up to chance upon your arrival at the check-in counter! I personally like to revisit my talks while in the air, so I always choose an aisle seat for the extra elbow room.
Compare your travel schedule with the check-in/check-out times at your hotel to make sure you’re covered on both ends. It may cause logistical problems if you have several hours to fill before check-in, but are saddled with luggage and nowhere to leave it. Set yourself up for success by planning in advance to cover those gaps and maximize your time on the ground, especially if you speaking the day you arrive.
Revisit your A/V needs
You can have the best talking points, the funniest stories, and the most stylish outfit, but a presentation will only land if the audiovisual component plays along. This year, you’ll be able to present from your own laptop, so make sure to take it to a professional if you’ve noticed any problems. IT fixes can take longer than expected, so it’s best to have that taken care of early.
I also recommend bringing your own slide changer, extra batteries, and a thumb drive with your presentation saved as a backup file. While Wedding MBA may have it on their end, it never hurts to have your own copy at your fingertips. Don’t assume that there will be strong WiFi to send and receive files by email.
If you will be bringing a Mac with you to present, confirm the adapters you need to connect it to the onsite A/V system. HDMI is most common these days, but I always keep a VGA adapter on me as well for older technology.
Plan your Vegas itinerary
Getting comfortable in a new city can take some early planning, but it’s essential when you’re expected to take the stage and feel your best. Do your research in advance to find a salon, gym, mall, or another spot you may need to visit while there.
Insider Tip: The iBlowdry Salon at the Westgate is my favorite spot to get a blowout before a speaking engagement in Vegas. It’s right next door to the convention center and very accessible. There is a Dry Bar nearby, but it is located on the Strip so be mindful of whether or not that realistically fits into your schedule.
If you’re not reserving a rental car, you might consider using the monorail to commute around the city. It is a convenient mode of transportation and can take you virtually anywhere you need to go between the convention center and the Strip. Save yourself the trouble and buy your ticket early so you don’t have to worry about it when you’re there.
Insider Tip: If you’re not the type to tie on a pair of running shoes and hit the streets, you might be wondering where you can find a place to exercise those nerves away. My go-to is actually the onsite gym at The Renaissance as it has Pelotons and is close to everything. You can find other locations with Pelotons here. Just know that you’ll be fighting me for a spot!
As for dining, onsite options are rather limited with the main restaurant just steps from the conference. (Note: It is more of a cafeteria than anything!) It tends to get slammed during conferences, as does the restaurant at The Renaissance next door. If you can build in time, I recommend jumping on the monorail right outside the convention center and heading offsite to eat. I personally love going to Paris and will even walk there if my schedule permits!
Prioritize health and safety
One of the biggest adjustments for Wedding MBA this year is, of course, safety protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Bear in mind that there is a mask mandate in place in Las Vegas, so come prepared. I’m bringing my own masks, as well as a box of disposables to hand out to anyone who needs one.
I’ve been to Vegas during the pandemic and, outside of the Bellagio having stringent mask requirements, you likely won’t have anyone in your speaking room to enforce the guidelines. With that in mind, consider asking the person introducing you to remind attendees to wear masks and socially distance as possible. I did this at NACE Experience and found everyone to be very respectful and appreciative.
Outdoor dining is limited in Vegas, so if that is a priority during your stay, be sure to make reservations well in advance of your arrival. If you are uncertain about anything you can stay up-to-date with the latest COVID news out of Las Vegas here.
Insider Tip: Since the start of the pandemic, I’ve been booking all airport transports through Black Lane, a global chauffeur provider that has implemented clear COVID-friendly protocols. They typically cost more than the average taxi or Uber, but I’ve been impressed each time. Consider splitting the ride with a friend who has a similar travel timeline.
I know you’re excited to jet off to Vegas, network your face off, and share valuable knowledge with your audience. It has been a long time coming, but be mindful that the most successful experience is one where you can do all that while keeping yourself and others safe. Let’s commit to doing our due diligence to reduce risks so we can enjoy all that Wedding MBA has to offer!
See you in Vegas!