Your PPAI Expo Networking Guide

Your PPAI Expo Networking Guide

The PPAI Expo is an event largely built around the products in our industry. There will be thousands of new products, specials, and closeouts lining the 7 miles of booths. With so much to see it’s highly recommended that you go into the show with a plan of what booths you need to hit and which products you need to learn about.

Having a pre-show plan in place will allow for plenty of time to take advantage of the real value provided by the PPAI Expo: NETWORKING. Over 12,000 promotional product industry professionals will be managing the booths, walking the floor, and pulling the levers at the slots. No one can connect with everyone, but stick to our PPAI Expo Networking Guide and you’ll optimize your networking time in Las Vegas.


Outside of the food court, the Starbucks that sits along the walkway to the Expo is the closest place to get a coffee or a bite to eat. It tends to be hectic but will be littered with fellow promotional product industry professionals from 6:00 in the morning to 6:00 in the evening.

Border Grill

The Border Grill is the closest restaurant to the show floor. It’s moderately priced, perfect for a mid-day margarita, and will be slammed by the lunch crowd. It’s a great place to grab a bit with old friends or talk about that new RFP opportunity with your favorite supplier.

Orchid Lounge

The Orchid Lounge is located on the casino floor of the Mandalay Bay and is the ideal spot to have an after-show cocktail.


eyecandy is in the center of the casino floor and, though a bit loud, is a very popular spot with industry folks. The small club has no cover charge. It’ll usually kick off around 10:00 and stays open until 1:00.

House of Blues

The House of Blues is at the Mandalay Bay end of the long (and expensive) walkway that connects Mandalay with the Luxor. The music and food are great. If you have to entertain a large group or want to treat your sales team, the House of Blues the place to go.

Shark Reef Aquarium

The entrance to the Shark Reef Aquarium is just to the left of the food court. It’s really the only major attraction close to the show floor. The aquarium is beautiful and can be the perfect, quiet break from the craziness of the show floor. Tickets are $25, but who can put a price on a little relaxation.

Cirque du Soleil

The Las Vegas nightlife presents a great opportunity for industry managers and team leaders to initiate some group bonding. Seeing a Las Vegas show is the perfect group activity and there’s no show better than Cirque du Soleil. It’s a bit

pricey with cheap tickets ranging from $40 to $70 depending on the show, but there’s just something about seeing a grown man bend himself into a pretzel that makes your stretch sales goals for 2018 seem much more attainable.

Regardless of where you spend your time at the PPAI Expo you will have a great time. It’s a wonderful show and you’ll be surrounded by all of the great people who make our industry. Have a blast!

Are you exhibiting at the PPAI EXPO or will you be walking the floor and checking out the new products? Read our top tips for success at our industry’s largest trade show!

A Guide to PPAI Career Resources

PromoPlacement was recently invited to spend the day at PPAI headquarters.  The PPAI was terrific and it was a great day. It was wonderful to meet all of the men and women who are directing our industry’s future.

“Happy to spend time with Patrick McHargue, Director of Talent at PromoPlacement. Always looking for ways to bring new talent to industry companies and help promotional professionals find the right opportunities. Thanks for making the trip from St. Louis for the visit!”

-Paul Bellantone | Chief Executive Officer of PPAI

After meeting with the professional development team at PPAI, we were very impressed with the education and career tools available through PPAI. We were so impressed that we want to remind you of all of the great PPAI career resources at your fingertips.

Resume Posting

If you’re actively seeking a new opportunity in our industry, the resume posting service provided by PPAI is a great place to visit. To make the most of this resource, you simply upload your resume and complete a short form. This platform allows you to get your background onto a platform that’s well-travelled by industry hiring managers looking to add to their team.

Job Board

The PPAI job board is quite popular with industry hiring managers. Essentially, it’s the inverse of the resume posting platform. Hiring managers who are looking to fill opportunities fill out a short form and upload a job description. You can even see the date the job opening was posted so you can be sure that the opportunity is active and still open.

Online PPAI Education

The online education portal on is really the hidden gem of career resources. To access it, you’ll need to know your PPAI username and password. Once signed in, you’ll get access to a myriad of live and on-demand educational seminars. These seminars aren’t exclusively focused on career advancement, but are an invaluable asset when looking to round out your industry know-how and expertise.

Topics covered in PPAI’s online education platform include SAGE, client development, decorating methods, supply chain, social compliance, social media best practices, and industry-specific sales practices.

If you’re looking to advance your career or searching for a new opportunity in our industry, these PPAI resources are excellent places to start your journey!


Tips for PPAI Expo Success | Attendee Edition

Are you planning to attend the PPAI Expo? Make the most of your time (and survive Las Vegas) by following these simple tips.

  1. Start show preparation at least a month before the event. This is when you call your clients to discuss their marketing calendar and promotional product needs. Your clients’ needs will become your shopping list for the show!
  2. Set appointments with suppliers to discuss specific client projects. This one-on-one time should be focused, fast-paced, and impactful. Don’t waste time!
  3. Have manners.
    • Don’t block the aisles.
    • Don’t interrupt a supplier or sales rep because you’re in a hurry.
    • Don’t linger in a booth and dominate a supplier’s time.
    • If you’re looking for free stuff to ship home for the kids… really?
  4. No need to visit every vendor, especially if they visit your office regularly. Look for the suppliers you don’t see often.
  5. Ask suppliers about their best selling products and hottest markets.
  6. Wear comfortable shoes. You’re going to walk between 5-8 miles!
  7. Everyone has a saturation point when you just can’t look at another cap, mug or pen. When you hit this point, do yourself a favor and call it a day.
  8. At times the night club or the craps table may be calling your name. Be prepared to say no (or at least turn in early).

Follow these time-tested tips and you’ll be able to get the most out of any industry trade show. Happy shopping!

Want to help an exhibitor make the most of their PPAI Expo experience? Send them our post on the topic!


Tips for PPAI Expo Success | Exhibitor Edition

The PPAI Expo is upon us. Haven’t started planning for it? Didn’t get the results you wanted last year? Do not panic! Follow these 8 simple tips and you’ll be on the track for PPAI success!

  1. Smile! Social media and email won’t help you here. Your smile is your brand. Practice it and use it often!
  2. Make eye contact. I’ve attended well over 100 product shows. I know I am “hooked” for a conversation when an exhibitor makes eye contact and smiles! Who can resist a friendly face and a smile?
  3. Act like you really want to be exhibiting. If you or your show staff don’t want to be part of the exhibit team, it shows. Save the time and money and stay home.
  4. Have a purpose! Use show time to build on friendships and business relationships. Know your top 25 clients and know what you want to discuss with them. Make a personal call to your top 25 the week before the show. Set a time and reason to talk. Probe for homework, quotes and spec samples needs. Your booth should not be a place to sling out catalogs.
  5. Don’t sit in the corner of your booth checking email! Better yet, forget the chair. I’ve seen hundreds of exhibitors who were relieved that I didn’t stop to see them. Make visitors feel welcome.
  6. Spring for the padded carpet in your booth. Your clients will stay to talk longer and your feet will thank you at the end of the day.
  7. Look sharp! Whether you wear a suit, business casual, or jeans and a pressed shirt, dress like you mean business! Impress your clients and be proud of your appearance.
  8. Stock-up on breath mints and hand sanitizer. You get the idea here.
  9. Follow-up on your show promises. If you said you would send a sample or spec or special pricing or resolve a problem–you have to deliver!

Have a great show! The PromoPlacement team will see you in Las Vegas!

Want to help an attendee make the most of their PPAI Expo experience? Send them our post on the topic!