What a week! After months of show prep, we left cold and snow-covered Omaha for mild and sunny Las Vegas for our second of what we hope to be many appearances at the International Builder Show. The show was a great success for us, and we met hundreds of home builders from all across the country. We heard great things about the home market - like Omaha, it sounds like most markets are coming back with a vengeance! We were certainly encouraged by everyone who dropped by!
With a few days off to rest (I literally stayed off my feet the first day back), I've been thinking about the trip, my first visit to Vegas, and our experience at IBS. The following are 10 highlights, reflections, thoughts and surprises from #IBSVegas.
1. Next year, bring more comfortable shoes!
I arrived in Vegas and at the Convention Center just in time for the opening of the second day of the show. Little did I know just how HUGE IBS is! I got my first taste walking to the Central Hall to grab lunch. For a person intent on seeing everything - you really would need the full three days just to walk around! I broke away from our booth on a couple occasions to find some new ideas and to take in the event, and by the end of my first day I was just plain worn out. That didn't stop any of us from hitting the town. According to a pedometer app we started upon our arrival, we averaged over 13 miles of walking each day!
2. The home building market is rebounding across the country
In Omaha, we feel pretty insulated from the rest of the world, and as a result, we seemed to experience a smaller dip (though there was definitely a dip) in homes being built in our area. Like many builders, we tightened our belts and pushed through. We saw an explosive rebound this past summer, and heard some promising reports in most parts of the country. People are ready to build and many builders said they couldn't keep up with the demand!
3. The importance of being social in social networking
I am not a social guy. In fact, I am very content to mind my own business. As the appointed social media guru of our little operation (because I'm the youngin' around here), that's kind of a liability! I love Twitter, and I can read blogs and share links on Facebook and G+ all day, but making social media useful in generating brand awareness, web traffic, and leads involves actually being social!
I've been challenging myself not only to tweet and post on a regular basis, but to make conversation and have some fun. While at the show, I tweeted out things that stood out to me, random musings, and thoughts from the conversations I was having with builders and the guys I was with. Instead of a chore, it started to feel fun and natural! By keeping an eye out for conversations on #IBSVegas, and tweeting at some of the companies represented there, we got several mentions and even found a few great booths to visit that I wouldn't have otherwise. It's all little things, but it makes for some great momentum to keep it up!
Who knows, maybe I'll be an expert at this social media thing after all!