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How to Navigate Pack Expo Like a Pro

  • Post By: Jennifer Hogan Redmond

Seven tips to make the trip to McCormick Place worth your time and money.

It is, in fact, the world’s largest packaging and processing show, with 2,500 exhibitors eager to showcase their equipment, services and expertise. So if you’re among the 50,000 attendees attempting to walk through all four exhibition halls of the nation’s largest convention center—and you want this effort to be productive-- you’d better have a plan.

And comfortable shoes

And possibly an assortment of brightly-colored pebbles to mark your trail in case your navigational tools fail

This last item isn’t likely to be needed, because there are great ways to plan your route. Of course, you can go old school with a paper map (plenty to be had at kiosks at hall entrances), but My Show Planner is the way to go to prevent aimless wandering.

Better yet, download the mobile app for the quickest access to exhibitors and up-to-date announcements.

Our in-house experts have a few other tips to make the most of your Pack Expo adventure. Here are a few:

  1. Offer your badge! Have mercy on exhibitors and make sure your badge is visible and available to be scanned upon request. We all want to know who we are meeting! This is the best way to ensure you receive reliable information from exhibitors in a timely fashion after the show.
  2. Get some education. So much info, so little time! Seminars abound at this show so check out the offerings. Note the Innovation Stage schedule as well. Where else can you find experts on so many industry topics in one location?
  3. Know your goals. You’re there for a reason. Or (most likely) reasons. Write them down, then prioritize your tasks and plan your schedule around what you MUST get done.
  4. Take advantage of “downtime”. Traffic in the exhibition hall often slows during the lunch hour and it’s definitely slower during the last few hours of the show on the final day. These are terrific times to walk the floor and get the full attention of exhibitors.
  5. Bring business cards. Every exhibitor will not have a badge scanner, and even when scanners are used, the information scanned is not always correct. Business cards are your backup. You’re also going to meet many non-exhibitors and that good ole’ card is still appreciated.
  6. Make appointments. Booth traffic can get crazy, so if you need an exhibitor’s undivided attention, consider reaching out before the show to set up a time to meet. Exhibitors are happy to work around your schedule! 
  7. Network! Industry Lounges and Receptions are great for more private discussions or just to talk shop with your colleagues and other attendees. Take advantage of the social events at the show as well. And remember those business cards!