First Trade Show Ever — My Experience at Enterprise Connect 2022

Enterprise Connect 2022 Microsite Graphics rAVe PUBSAnd that’s a wrap on Enterprise Connect 2022 (EC)! That’s also a wrap on my first-ever trade show experience. If you didn’t know, I’ve been with rAVe for almost a year and haven’t been able to attend a show yet, mostly due to COVID-19. Finally, I was able to join some of my team on a show floor in Kissimmee, Florida, and experience my first in-person show! Though it was very busy and there was lots to do, I really did enjoy meeting so many AVtweeps in the industry and seeing all the new tech. In this blog, I’ll highlight some standout memories, share some funny stories and give you a rundown of my experience. Thanks for reading!

The Show Floor

The show floor at Enterprise Connect 2022 was extremely impressive. My first thought was the sheer size; I don’t have a comparison to make yet, but this floor was massive! Our team divided the floor up to cover as much as possible. I enjoyed my section of booths a ton, especially since I had not heard about a lot of the UCC software and AI-enabled programs out there in the industry.

As someone who is on the shy side, it was really a good challenge for me to get out and talk to people and video products. After about five or so booths, I had a good short speech memorized for when I came up to booths. Steph advised me that, at other shows, lots of people know who and what rAVe is. At EC, some people were familiar, but some weren’t! It was a good challenge for me, and I really had a good time meeting many of the people at the show.

In particular, I had a few standout booths that I would call my favorite. First, I had a great time at the UJET.cx booth. The team there was funny, inviting, excited about their product and really engaging. Second, I really liked the CXone product in the NICE booth. The SmartAssist by Amelia Intelligent Virtual Agent really impressed me a lot! Lastly, one of my favorite products, in general, was the Webex Board Pro from the Webex by Cisco booth. The booth has the Board Pro on display in multiple uses, which I found informative and interactive.

The Experience

The overall experience of the trip to Kissimmee was a huge part of the trip! I have been to Disney World before, but the last time I was in Florida was when I was in middle school in 2011. The weather was warm and breezy, a nice change from the very sporadic weather in North Carolina. When we weren’t inside the trade show event, we spent time outside resting and recuperating. The Gaylord was one of my favorite parts of the trip as well. The gardens inside the hotel were beautiful, and I think Enterprise Connect chose a wonderful spot for the show. Plus, we got to see turtles and alligators in the gardens — very unexpected!

On our second night, we also visited Disney Springs! I wanted to share a few photos from the trip, and some of my favorites were the sunsets. The photo on the left is from a bridge over the water at Disney Springs, and the photo on the right was flying from MCO to RDU on Wednesday morning. Needless to say, after a busy day and trip, there was lots of peaceful beauty to be found.

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sunsets

Something I did learn from this show is the sheer amount of work it takes to cover a floor, manage your time, edit your photos and videos, pack and unpack gear, get videos loaded as soon as possible and have a good experience all in one go. I’ve always known how hard my team works at shows but experiencing it firsthand really opened my eyes to the detailed and passionate work that goes into both producing a show and covering the show. Shoutout to Steph, Anne-Marie, Dianna and everyone else on the team for helping me have a great first show experience.

Almost Dying…Almost

I’m going to go ahead and shout out GoTo for keeping the rAVe team alive on day two of the show! The show floor had lots to look at, but one critique I will give is the very limited access to water. Select booths had water for attendees on the first day, but unless my team was completely unaware of a specific water point, there was none on the floor (specifically, none that was free). Many of the water fountains in the Gaylord weren’t working either!

Steph and I met Jen Mathews at the GoTo booth on Day One, and she was kind enough to give us some GoTo “snack bucks” that allowed us to purchase snacks at the show. On Day Two, we found her again and told her about our struggle to find water and food. Jen took us up to a GoTo sponsored booth that was hidden on the third floor of the Gaylord (EC was on the first floor). We were able to get drinks, water and snacks for our entire team, and when I saw we were relieved, I mean it! After two full days of a show, we were running out of energy. Jen’s kindness really helped us out, and I want to thank her. Jen, you rock!

GoTo show floorSo though we didn’t come that close to dying, a note for my future self and for others at trade shows: Bring snacks. Bring water. You’ll thank yourself later!

TL;DR

If you didn’t read the whole blog, I’ll summarize for you! Enterprise Connect 2022 was my first-ever trade show experience. Florida is beautiful this time of year, and one of my favorite parts of the experience was the Gaylord itself — the gardens inside the hotel are phenomenal. Overall, the floor was vibrant and fun, the products were captivating, the people were kind (shout out to GoTo for keeping the rAVe team alive) and the job was fun. I had a great trade show experience, and I am excited for more! See the microsite here.