How to Prepare for the Premium Cigar Association (PCA) Convention and Trade Show

Preparing for the PCA Trade Show July 7 – 11, 2023 at the Venetian Expo Center in Las Vegas as a buyer requires careful planning and organization to make the most out of the event. Here are some essential steps to ensure a successful experience:

Research the Trade Show: Before the trade show, gather information about the event, including the list of exhibitors, floor plan, schedule of seminars or workshops, and any special events. You can find this at which will help you identify which exhibitors are relevant to your business and which sessions you’d like to attend.

Set Goals: Define clear objectives for the trade show. Are you looking for new suppliers, new products, are you seeking specific products, or aiming to expand your humidor or network? Having clear goals will keep you focused and enable you to measure your success after the event.

Plan Appointments: Reach out to exhibitors you are interested in meeting and schedule appointments in advance. This ensures that you get dedicated time with key suppliers and prevents missing out on important opportunities due to crowded booths.

Prepare Questions: Develop a list of questions to ask potential suppliers or vendors. Inquire about their products, pricing, terms, minimum order quantities, delivery times, and any special offers they might have for the trade show attendees.

Bring Business Cards: Have a stack of business cards to exchange with exhibitors and other attendees. Consider bringing purchase orders made out in advance and marketing materials such as brochures or catalogs to provide additional information to new suppliers about your business.

Dress Professionally and Comfortably: Trade shows can be long and tiring, so wear comfortable shoes and appropriate attire. Dressing professionally also creates a positive impression when interacting with potential suppliers.

Budget Wisely: Set a budget for the trade show, including travel expenses, accommodations, meals, and any potential purchases. Stick to the budget to avoid overspending and allocate resources where they matter most. You are in Las Vegas, go easy on the gambling.  My advice to you is to try bringing in that new cigar you were thinking about, and make that your gambling, you have a better shot betting on yourself and that cigar than that roulette wheel.

Take Notes: Bring a notebook or use a mobile app to jot down important details and impressions about the exhibitors you meet. This will be helpful when reviewing potential suppliers after the trade show.

Network with Peers: Trade shows are excellent opportunities to network with other buyers and industry professionals. Attend networking events, seminars, especially the Legislative Affairs Update on Saturday at 9am, right before the trade show opens.  This is always the most important seminar of the show because it is the most important to your overall business.

Follow Up: After the trade show, follow up with the suppliers you met, expressing your interest in their products or services. Continue the conversation and negotiate terms if necessary. Additionally, follow up with any new contacts you made during the event to maintain relationships.

Stay Hydrated:  Las Vegas weather will be in excess of 100 degrees every day and as they say, “it’s a dry heat”.  Yes, it is very dry, so stay hydrated by drinking water.   Coffee and Bourbon don’t count.

Get sleep: Easier said than done in the Las Vegas but you will make better buying decisions, act better and enjoy yourself better after a good night’s sleep.  Plan time to sleep just like an appointment.

By following these steps, a buyer can be well-prepared and make the most of their time at the trade show, resulting in valuable connections and potential business opportunities.  See you at #PCA23

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