Tech conferences can be the absolute best way to get your start-up in front of consumers and potential investors. It can be tempting to spend to your heart’s content on promotional materials, parties and everything that the big companies use to create ‘brand awareness’. But make no mistake: it’s the quickest way to bankruptcy. Be smart when you go to conventions: use coupons to save money on hotels, airplanes and all other travel expenses. Stay lean and try to focus on what you want to get out of this event.
We’re going to give you some tried and true tips for creating a lean, mean successful convention appearance that will build your brand.
1. Travel Lean
This is the biggest expense that can get out of hand early. From the cost of hotel rooms, flights, and rental cars, you can spend your company into the red very quickly. Use these tips to stay lean at a conference:
- Limit the number of people going. Think about how many people you really need manning your booth at any given time. Try and get it down to three or four people (it will vary depending on how many demonstrations you plan to do).
- Fly for cheap – use promo codes, flight sales, whatever you can. If it’s at all possible: avoid flying altogether. Pile into a van and make a bonding road trip out of it.
- Crowd Together in One Room – Speaking of bonding, fit as many people as you can into one room. Bring sleeping bags, request a cot. Hotels usually have a 6-person maximum occupancy, so if you go over be very discrete and polite so you don’t ruffle any feathers.
- Pretend your camping – packing lots of sandwiches, pre-cooked meals and meal replacement bars will save you a heck of a lot of cash. In most hotels you can request that a fridge be sent up to your room. That way you can have all the ingredients of a good sandwich in the fridge to keep you and your co-workers going.
- Utilize the sharing economy – The best hotel? No hotel at all! Try to utilize sharing apps like airBnB and Uber and spend a fraction of the normal cost. Keep in mind, however, that you’re at a tech conference. This means that you’re surrounded by techies with just as much knowledge of these new app services as you are.