Friday, January 4, 2013

Preparing for WPPI - Las Vegas 2013

I'M SO EXCITED because we just booked our flight and hotel last night for WPPI 2013!! If you haven't heard of it, WPPI is the Wedding & Portrait Photographers International, and each year the WPPI conference and expo is in Las Vegas.... complete with classes, a huge trade show, networking and fun! Last year was our first time attending the event so I am by no means a WPPI expert, but I did want to share our findings if you want to join us there this year!
  • We're leaving Yakima on the afternoon of Sunday, March 10th, flying out of Pasco at 8:50pm. (Flying Allegiant air, round trip it was $197/person including all taxes, fees, bags, etc) Our return flight is on Thursday the 14th, leaving Vegas at 5:25pm
  • Staying at the MGM - (Where the conference is) we found it cheapest to book flight and hotel separately rather than a group deal. With tax and all it was $155/night.
  • This year we're just doing Platform classes. Registration for one person is $399, but then you get one free guest, and additional guests are $150, so with the whole MMP team it's going to be $174 a person. They also have Master Classes and Plus Classes, but they cost extra. You can find the whole conference schedule here: http://www.wppionline.com/static/media/WPPI_2012_Conf_Schedule.pdf
  • For flight, hotel, food & conference, plan on at least $800 a person... but I have to say it is well worth it. It's so inspiring and gives you the boost you need to stay excited about photography and business! Um... plus it's in sunny Las Vegas. That's a bonus.

Here are my Las Vegas tips & WPPI tips from last year:
  • Wear comfortable shoes! There is lots of walking to do!
  • Visit the In-N-Out in Las Vegas. I thought it was just a California thing, but I'll enjoy an in-N-out meal no matter the city.
  • Set time aside to go through the trade show. I think it took us about 8 hours total by the time we walked around the whole show, talking with lots of vendors, watching some live demos, and buying some products. The trade show is a great place to get inspired with the latest and greatest photography stuff. We also bought a few things there because of certain WPPI specials. Prepare to feel slightly overwhelmed. There are over 300 vendors there so I felt like there was a ton of info thrown at me in one day!!
  • Bring business cards or cards with your info on it! Someone else gave me this tip before I went and it's true. There are plenty of drawings to enter. Some of them scanned our name badge to get our info, others had a drawing bowl you can drop your card into.
  • Don't plan on communicating by cell phone while at the trade show. There were several areas at the MGM where I didn't have reception with AT&T. Could be different for others, but it was frustrating for us to try and all stay together since we couldn't get ahold of each other. There were lots of QR codes at the booths that we couldn't scan because no one had internet/reception on their phones.
  • If you're not a smoker, brace yourself for indoor smoking. In Washington the smoking law has been in effect for several years so I'm not used to being around people smoking indoors, but there's no way to avoid it in the casinos in Vegas. When we came home all of our stuff smelled like smoke.
  • WPPI is at the MGM and they offer rates for $149/night. There are other neighboring hotels that you could also stay at and just walk to the MGM. (Excalibur, Luxor, New York) - If you want to go back to your room in between classes and things you may want to stay at the MGM but if you're doing trade show only, just a few classes, or don't mind staying at the MGM all day once you arrive, you can save some money by staying at a neighboring hotel.
  • Everywhere you go in Vegas, ask about coupons, student discounts, and military discounts! We were about to buy tickets to the Cirque du Soleil for $95 and asked about any discounts and got them for $65!
  • If you're headed to WPPI from Eastern WA, you can fly out of Tri-cities for cheap! Allegiant air has a deal with the executive shuttle in Las Vegas but if you're going in a group do NOT get the shuttle, a taxi is cheaper & faster. A taxi from the airport to the strip is around $12, and the shuttle was $7 (x4 of us was $28) - and the shuttle took foooorrrrreeeeevvvvvvveeerrr. We ended up not getting to our hotel until 10:45pm and the hotel had given our room away so we had to stay in an overflow smoking room (bleh) - basically, take a taxi if you're in a group, and don't check in past 10pm or they'll give your room away!!
WPPI Las vegas
WPPI Las vegas
WPPI Las vegas
WPPI Las vegas
WPPI Las vegas
WPPI Las vegas
WPPI Las vegas
WPPI Las vegas

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1 comment:

  1. I would like to go next year, saving for our vacation to Washington DC in August this year :)

    But I'm in if there's an In-N-Out Burger. YUM!!!! We ate there all the time in California :D

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