With BETT only a week away, Oli from our team presents eleven handy tips for making the most of your BETT experience. These tips will help you find new, exciting products, hear engaging inspirational seminars all without getting the exhausted, exhibition blues.
Of course you’ll want to add the 4D creative stand in the BETT Futures zone to your plans! We have lots to show you including new levels of interactivity, updated software and portable immersive solutions. Stand BFG8 is where you’ll need to be!
Over to Oli for his tips…
Preparing for BETT
I’ve been going to BETT for the last 5 years – it’s always an enlightening and exhausting experience. If it’s your first time at BETT this year, prepare to be blown away! It’s absolutely huge and there is a massive array of stuff to see and do.
1. Pre-Register Online
If you pre-register on the website you can skip the long registration queues and the hassle of filling out all your details on the day. Simply fill out your details online, print the barcode, and take it with you. Find out more here.
2. Collaborate with Colleagues
Arrange to meet with your colleagues to determine the resources they need for the following year, even if you’re all going to BETT. They might spot something you miss and you might be able to bring back valuable information for others members of your team. Many hands make light work!
3. Draw up a Hit List
BETT is so staggeringly massive that you could easily miss out on something if you don’t plan ahead. The full list of exhibitors is available online so have a search create a list of the exhibitors you want to visit. Don’t forget to write down the stand number!
Of course the most important stand number you’ll need is 4D creative at BFG8. The full list can be found here.
4. Get the BETT App
On arrival, you’ll receive the show guide with lots of exhibitions however I prefer the BETT phone app for a number of reasons. Firstly it’s easier to carry as it’s on your phone at all times. Secondly the interactive map is fully searchable making it a lot easier to use during your time at BETT.
It’s available for Windows Phone, iPhone, iPad, and Android from this link.
5. Figure Out How to Get There
It might sound obvious but planning out how you are going to get to the venue can save you a lot of hassle on the day. Transport for London have some excellent online tools and there are brilliant public transport apps for all mobile devices. It is especially important to check your route if you are going at the weekend as there is often planned maintenance work on the tube.
6. Take Advantage of Lectures and Seminars
BETT runs a fantastic programme of lectures and seminars each year where you can learn best practice and new skills from leaders in their field for free. The full schedule is available online so plan which sessions you want to go to in advance and put the start times into your phone so you don’t miss them.
Seats are allocated on a first-come first-served basis so make sure to get there early to avoid disappointment!
7. Be prepared to spend more than one day
Even with careful planning it can be difficult to get the most out of BETT in a single day. There is so much to see and do that it’s generally best to spread it over a couple of days if you can.
If you’re travelling to London especially for BETT have a look online for a cheap hotel room. You can get a very basic room in central London for around £40 and being well-rested will seriously enhance your BETT experience.
8. Food and Drink
There are plenty of food and drink options inside the ExCel but be aware that they can get quite busy at peak times and that they are not the cheapest places to eat!
If you have any special dietary requirements or if you simply hate queues it may be better to bring a packed lunch. There is also a Nisa Supermarket a few minutes away from the venue and a range of bars and restaurants within walking distance of the venue that may be a bit less hectic.
Of course a lot of the stands will also have a huge supply of complimentary sweets to tempt you in but some real food might also help!
You’ll be walking around a lot so make sure to wear comfortable shoes. It’s also a really good idea to bring a backpack to store all the leaflets and freebies you’ll get as well as a bottle of water so you can stay hydrated. There is a cloakroom you can use in the ExCel centre for a small fee so don’t worry about having to carry a heavy coat around all day.
10. Don’t be Afraid to Ask
When you find something that interests you don’t be afraid to ask the supplier for a demo or for more information. Some suppliers will come out and demo their products for you and the rest of your team which can be an excellent way of securing a buying decision.
If you already have authorisation to buy you can often get a discount simply by negotiating with suppliers at the event, especially if there are several vendors selling a similar product.
Exhibitors are there to explain how a product will work best for you and your school, so use their knowledge and ask the questions you need to.
Many exhibitors can scan the barcode printed on your conference pass to automatically get your contact details. This is much easier than manually writing details down so don’t be put off if they ask to “scan your badge” then wave a little laser-thingy at you!
11. Debrief your Team
When you get back from BETT prepare a presentation covering the key things you learnt for your team. This is especially effective if you can discuss your colleagues requirements before you attend BETT as you can incorporate things they may find useful into your debrief.
What tips would you suggest to people attending BETT for the first time? Comment below!