ISPA is just around the corner and now is the time to start packing and planning if you haven’t already. Over the years, I’ve learned some invaluable conference preparation skills and tricks. Whether you are a seasoned conference goer or ISPA 2014 is your first spa conference, I invite you to read through my suggestions to see if there’s something new or useful for you – inspiration comes when you least expect it.
5 Tips to Prepare for ISPA Conference 2014:
- Make an Agenda – I have attended ISPA for many years, at least 12 conferences. Every year I do the same thing to prepare; I am “old school”, so in addition to using the app, I also read through all of the session details, review the list of exhibitors and see what is going on in the relaxation room. I then go through and make an agenda for myself. (See my sample below.)
- Dress for Success, i.e. Comfort – So, my very first conference, I think I wore cool boots and fashionable heels until my feet got so sore with blisters that I could barely walk. ISPA Conference is a mini marathon of walking the hard cement floor. I have realized over the years that I can look cute rocking my Oka B’s! I encourage you to dress comfortably for day, business casual is perfect! You can still bring your strappy heels and sexy boots for the evenings on the strip.
- Leave Plenty of Extra Space in Your Suitcase – It is not unheard of to receive 20+ pounds of samples. I tend to be selective, otherwise I have to pay $200 to ship a box home. But then again, we are there to experience the very best our industry has to offer, so be sure to get samples of the products you want to try. To make sure you don’t have to be too selective, I encourage you to pack light and smart so you have plenty of extra room to bring home your goodies. If all else fails, brings a second suitcase inside your larger one!
- Network, Network, Network – ISPA Conference is the perfect place to meet a lot of people. You will meet spa industry veterans and first time attendees. You meet amazing speakers and you can connect with them after conference. Be sure to be open to making connections. If you like a speaker, please go up after the session and give him/her your business card so you can make a connection. If you see someone you have been wanting to meet, just say hello. I feel that I can comfortably speak for most spa people and say, “I’d love for you to introduce yourself and say hello”. Connections, relationships and partnerships are what make our industry great. Head into conference with a list of people you would like to meet!
- Rest Up – You will be going for three solid days and nights! Those of us traveling from the East Coast will most likely be up at 4 am each day, that’s why I schedule in the Greet the Day each morning. Make sure you get a little rest before you fly out to Las Vegas, no matter where you are flying in from, you will need to be rested up for the conference. Be sure to schedule in a little excise and, no, walking the floor is not quite enough. If the Greet the Day is too early for you, I suggest scheduling a little walk down the strip to at least get some fresh air. (And NO, one armed-bandits are not bicep exercises!) If you can make time in your schedule, I encourage you to take advantage of the relaxation room. I personally visit a spa or two. This is part of my conference ritual. I need to decompress and its all work related research = win-win. You will learn to make your own rituals over time.
My final suggestion is to attend the conference with an open mind and open heart. You will meet inspiring people and reconnect with the reason why you joined the spa industry in the first place. I always leave refreshed with a renewed sense of passion for what I do and why I do it! I wish you the same experience. And if you want to connect at ISPA and meet up for coffee, let me know. Contact me directly at email@example.com.