Excitement is bubbling as companies prepare for the return of ICE London, the biggest event in the gaming industry. With the event being postponed to June and later February due to the COVID-19 pandemic, anticipation is even higher this time around!
While this is Technamin’s first public appearance at an expo, and therefore our first time at ICE, our founder and CEO Suren Khachatryan has been around the block many times! Prior to the pandemic, Suren would attend an average of one expo per month. He has participated in ICE as well as other prestigious industry events with his previous companies, and has extensive experience in organizing overseas expos even before stepping into the gaming industry.
So, this year, Suren sat down with Technamin’s writers to share his insight and prepare a guide for both exhibitors who are planning to showcase their businesses at ICE, as well as visitors who will be attending the event.
“ICE can be a labyrinth,” Suren says. “Especially if it’s your first time there! If you’re not familiar with the area, or expos in general, it’s a golden opportunity that you might miss. So I decided to create a guide which everyone can use before, during, and even after the event.”
That’s right. There’s a lot that goes into preparing for an expo as big as ICE. There are things you should do, and of course, things that you shouldn’t.
So, let’s get into it and figure out how to not slip at ICE!
“The first thing you need to take care of is paperwork,” Suren says. “Visas, airplane tickets, accommodation reservations, and pretty much any paperwork should be taken care of at least 3 months before the even.!”
Travelling regulations have changed drastically after the pandemic, and vaccination documents as well as test results are now required to enter most countries, especially the UK. There is also the EU Digital COVID Certificate that you must obtain. Getting these documents ready is time-consuming, so it’s important to take care of this process ahead of time.
“Hotel reservations are also very important, because they will be pretty much booked months ahead of time, and you don’t want to miss out, or worse, be stranded once you land! I was on a plane to an expo once, and all the passengers were from different companies in the industry! Every single one of them! Don’t be surprised if you run into your peers and competitors on the way to ICE.”
The next advice that Suren has for ICE attendees is…
“This might seem like comical advice, but people don’t realize that attending ICE is nothing short of a marathon! Imagine three days of running back and forth! You’ll need a lot of energy and stamina to get through it, and staying healthy before ICE will help you achieve that. We’re still months away, and I’m already getting fit by working out and playing tennis! I suggest you do the same.”
BREAKFAST, EXPO, LUNCH, EXPO, DINNER, EXPO, EVENING PARTIES
This loop will be repeated for three days, and stamina will definitely come in handy.
Now let’s focus on what you should do in preparation for ICE if you are attending as an exhibitor.
CREATE HYPE AROUND THE EVENT!
“What you need is an effective marketing strategy. And you need that at least one or two months ahead of time! Start contacting media agencies and work on your brand awareness. Put everything on a content management platform and roll out your strategy. This is when your marketing specialist and writers will be most busy, so it’s best to have everything streamlined,” says Suren.
Another step you can take in improving your brand awareness campaign is doing as many product launches as possible before ICE kicks off. This way, your name will be more visible to those who are keeping an eye on the industry, and you’ll have more visitors swarming around your booth at the event. And concerning your booth, make sure to schedule everything with set-builders in advance, to make sure everything is ready to go in the correct time frame.
Once you have that all set up and good to go, it’s time to prepare for the actual trip. Suren says:
Many ICE attendees, especially exhibitors, tend to take a lot of business cards, booklets, and pamphlets with them to the event. Speaking from experience, Suren recommends carrying a portion of these promotional materials in your carry-on bag. Because you never know! Maybe your luggage gets lost. It’s always good to have back-up!
“Here’s a pro tip: take an extra jacket with you on the plane, in case your luggage gets lost! You don’t want to be cold in London.”
Speaking of promotional materials:
PREPARE PROMOTIONAL CONTENT AHEAD OF TIME!
Expos and events are known for their banners, brochures, booklets, and various types of promotional material. Make sure you prepare these ahead of time, so you don’t have to do things last minute. Have your writers double-check the written content to ensure that there are no grammatical or spelling errors, and that the text is easy to read and understand.
“Nowadays, people are used to scanning QR codes and getting information this way.” Hints Suren. “Make sure you have a QR code available at your booth which people can scan. It can lead to your website, a landing page, and anywhere which will explain what you are showcasing at the event.”
Speaking of apps, there are some which will scan business cards and store the information digitally. Business cards tend to get lost regardless of how careful you are, so having one of these apps will be very handy!
Here is another important tip for exhibitors at ICE:
PROVIDE AN ADDRESS TO YOUR COMPANY’S LOCATION ON THE FLOOR PLAN!
Believe it or not, this is also a common mistake! Navigating through an event as big as ICE can be overwhelming for visitors, so imagine how bad things can get if no one can find your company’s location before the event starts. Figure out a simple “address” for your booth which anyone can easily find, and share it everywhere!
“If there is one thing that exhibitors and visitors have in common at ICE,” Suren says, “It’s scheduling meetings ahead of time.”
A big part of expos is meeting with like-minded individuals, networking, and forming partnerships. If possible, schedule your meetings prior to the event. That way, you can maximize your time there and not get overloaded by running back and forth through the expo! This tip is also valid for visitors! Make sure you find the companies you are looking for by using the floor plan on the ICE website.
NETWORKING, NETWORKING, NETWORKING!
Suren’s final advice when it comes to networking at an event like ICE is simple.
“Don’t be afraid to approach people!”
That’s why you’re there in the first place! Approach people, be talkative and attentive at the same time. According to Suren, you can even meet fellow ICE participants at the hotels, evening parties, and even on the tube! “Think about ICE being the main event, and meeting people before and after the event as free spins!”
RELATIONSHIPS THAT LAST
“They say money and friendships don’t mix, ” Suren says. “But that’s not the case at ICE! Remember, you’re not here just to collect a pile of business cards and forget who you got those from. You’re here to build long-lasting relationships with trust as a cornerstone. You need to make a good first impression, and make friends in the industry. Don’t have a solution someone is looking for? That’s OK! Refer them to someone who does. Trust me, it will create a ripple effect and come back to you with positive results.”
ICE is the perfect opportunity to meet superstars in the gaming and betting industry, and many of them are more than eager to share their knowledge and experience, especially if you approach them correctly. One way of doing this is meeting them during the post-ICE informal events, when the vibe is more relaxed.
SHARING IS CARING
“Look at ICE as a sharing experience, too. It’s not just about taking, but giving as well. We all have our own knowledge of the industry, so make sure to share. Let your managers do the network, and go meet up with your peers from other firms and companies. My personal experience shows that this type of networking produces more fruitful results than the rigid formal meetings at the end of the day!”
As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into preparing for an event like ICE! Besides the above-mentioned steps, the most important thing is to present yourself correctly, and get noticed amid the competition! Make sure your presenters are well-informed about your products, and your promotional content stands out in terms of being unique and original!
With careful planning and preparation, ICE will be the next stepping stone to your successful career! We can’t wait to see you all at ICE! Technamin’s stand is located in the Southern gallery suite. To find us, just take the first right to the S1 Visitors Entrance where you enter the exhibition hall. Technamin’s stand is S1-228 in the second row, you can’t miss us! In the meantime, if you have any questions for us, click here to get in touch with our sales reps.