Some of you know that about half of my consulting-side work is in economic development for cities and site owners. Mostly retail, but we also help cities attract new residential and industrial/office development as well. It’s work I love because if I do my job well, a corner of the world is a better place when I’m through… the new businesses increase the tax base, allow cities to provide additional services for residents, provide access to goods and services within a community (less driving, less sprawl) and provide employment. We also work with client communities to facilitate public involvement, manage public perceptions and effectively use public relations to promote positive developments.
For retail attraction, the biggest show of the year is the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) annual convention in Las Vegas, a show we attend every year. I spend most of April and May preparing for the show, updating marketing pieces, research, white papers, graphics, etc., etc., so we’re armed and ready. Typically, several of our clients attend the show with us, so we’re “on” from the moment we hit the airport until the moment we actually get into our car to drive home from the same airport 4 days later. It is the most exhausting experience next to childbirth. And it usually takes me fewer days to recover from childbirth.
The show is 3 hard days of pressurized meeting, rounds of receptions and engagements, and an INSANE amount of walking. Needless to say, I don’t wear my high heels. We hope to come back with new client leads for our services, new interest in sites in our client communities, and closed deals on other parcels or lots already in process. Even in this hyper-connected world of ours… the hard work in this arena still gets done face-to-face. Priceless connections are made, relationships renewed and business furthered. While the trip is a major expense and emotional drain, it is the single most important and effective event in our year.
Why am I telling you all this? I’m begging your forgiveness, in advance, for the break I’ll be taking this week from blogging. I probably won’t be coherent until sometime next week after returning late Wednesday from the show. And I hate to post incoherent ramblings on the blog. ;P In the meantime… if you all have something to say, just go on and post in the comments. I’m looking forward to hearing your trade show experiences and (shareable) Vegas experiences.