Learn how to do the International Broadcasting Convention in Amsterdam like a pro
Read our top 6 tips for success @IBCShow
Are you ready? The great thing about IBC is its wide international attendance and overall more friendly and accessible atmosphere, compared to some of the busier shows such as CES and NAB.
At IBC, you’re more likely have a longer chat, sit down over a beer and have some fun while at the same time getting down to some serious business. And when it comes time to pass out, if need be, the venue provides handy loungers “at the beach” outside.
Are you just about ready for your annual passage through Schipol airport? Or will it be your first IBC Show? Networking at IBC can bring many rewards to those who are persistent and smart. That includes knowing your way around the show. So what are our top six tips for getting the most out of IBC and keeping sane during the marathon?
1) Find a place to stay
Most seasoned IBC-goers know they need to book a year in advance. Room prices become outrageous if you leave it late! But there is hope. The closer the show gets, the more cancellations there are. Our tip? Make use of the friendly and efficient IBC Hotel Reservation Service.
Get in touch and they will check their live database of rooms all around the city. They will also advise you as to choice of hotel, pros and cons. They know the hotels better than you ever will even if you spend hours online searching for a bargain or AirBnB reservation, which might turn out to be a bit tricky (or it could be brilliant, you just never know). It seems obvious but do check if the hotel offers free WiFi. Some dinosaurs (we won’t name names like the Holiday Inn) augment their already overpriced rooms with an extra fee for wifi. Not very convenient!
What do you do when do you finally your spot, and it turns out to be quite ok? Well, first of all, don´t blab! If it´s a nice secret spot that’s reasonably priced, you might find that when you spread the word, you’ll never get back in next year because it’s already fully booked. The second thing to do, is to reserve it immediately when you check out for the following year, so you’re already set for next year.
Another tip to surviving IBC with your brain intact is choose a place to stay near the airport. Hoofddorp is more than OK! This trick is more for veterans of the show who value their sleep and need to be fresh for each working day. If you´re looking for nightlife, this is not a solution at all.
An airport hotel will enable you to avoid long queues for the tram which head into the city center. Even though every IBC visitor gets a free tram pass, those lines can drain your energy at the end of a busy day. Instead of the tram, take the train from IBC station to Schipol, which is 10 minute away and then catch your hotel´s shuttle bus. Be aware that those shuttles usually end at midnight, and a taxi ride from the city will be costly. Bear this in mind if you are choosing an airport hotel.
2) Make your appointments in advance
About six weeks in advance is the ideal moment to start planning your day by day schedule. Don’t expect to just catch people on their stands if there is someone there important that you want to see. Make an appointment and do it well before the show. This signals you are serious and respect that person´s time. Be sure to pad your schedule with a few empty patches throughout the day. You need some wiggle room in your calendar for those people you bump into on the fly. We suggest to leave lunchtime empty, and fix only the mandatory dinner appointments in advance. Forty-five minutes of padding between each appointment is a good rule of thumb. Be sure always to exchange mobile numbers and always re-confirm the appointment 15 minutes before.
Another tip is to make all your appointments in the same location, and ideally, have people come to you. This will save your energy. Find a nice spot (there are several lounges, especially near the IBC Conference Forum, where you can plunk your ass down and have one meeting after the next in relative comfort. Do a sanity check right now. Have you spent previous IBCs running around from one Hall to another? Well, use the IBC app and show floor plan to help you plan your appointments. Unless your business is dependent upon seeing all the technical whiz-bangs that are featured on each stand, we suggest to walk the floor only when necessary or to have a meeting on a stand. We say only newbies set up appointments one moment in Hall 7 and the next in Hall 11. Good luck to you if you do. You’ll accomplish a lot more if you plan in advance.
3) Eat well, drink beer and do business
Newsflash: On and off the RAI venue, the food is expensive and not all that great. Of course there are some wonderful restaurants in Amsterdam, but what do you do when you are famished at the show?
Like with your appointment planning, be prepared. It’s quite simple. Bring your own water bottle. Pack some energy foods (nuts and snack packs) and bring them in your bag. This reduces costs and keeps you going. Don’t be the sniveling exhausted fool who is dead on his feet from exhaustion and starving. And although beer is plentiful (we highly recommend Dutch beer!) it is, unfortunately, not food.
You can’t do good business if you can’t think straight, are dead on your feet and starving. So, make plan. Even restaurants should be booked in advance if you expect to get a table at a good one.
4) Be Smart Getting Around
From the airport, a taxi is obviously the easiest choice for getting to your hotel or into the city centre or to the RAI, but it´s also the most expensive option. Schipol is 20 kms away from the city centre, so you are going to pay dearly for that trip. The correct rate is meant to be about 40 Euros, but don´t be surprised if you are charged more. There are still a lot taxi rip-offs in the city (though not at the airport). So just avoid if you can. And if you can´t, ask the price in advance of getting into the cab.
In any case, Schipol is really easy to navigate because when you exit the airport you are immediately in the train station. The main tip here is to save yourself a lot of confusion and go straight to the ticket desks and buy your ticket. The ticket machines are a nightmare. Everyone in the Netherlands speaks perfect English and you´ll find the ticket desk staff really helpful. They´ll tell you the price, platform and departure time. It´s really not difficult at all to use public transport, and it is certainly much cheaper!
If you are staying out at an airport hotel, you could ask and buy either a pass for several days, or, just buy all the tickets you need in advance. That way you go to the ticket desk once and you can win a lot of time this way.
Making some smart decisions about transport early in the game is to your advantage. Think about in advance how you will get to and from the airport to your hotel, and from your hotel to IBC. On the day you plan to leave, you might possibly make use of the numerous cloakrooms (noting that they close at 7pm daily), store your stuff and go directly from the RAI to the airport (which is just ten minutes by train). That´s definitely easier than going back to your hotel, collecting your bags, and then figuring out how to get back to the airport.
The IBC also operates a free shuttle service between Schipol and the RAI, as well as free shuttles from the RAI to a number of hotels. Don’t forget too that all exhibition visitors are entitled to a free tram pass that covers the entire city of Amsterdam. So if you have the free travel options, why not make use of them? More information including prices can be found here.
5) Wifi at the Show
The wifi provided at IBC has been known to spectacularly crash. If you don´t have an affordable roaming plan, we recommend getting a local pay-as-you-go SIM card. You can pick these up at the airport. This will not help you if you are coming from outside the GSM zone, so make sure you have put in place an affordable international roaming plan before you go. If you want to be sure of a connection, provided that all the competing wifi set-ups on practically every stand at the show don´t interfere, the IBC provides free WiFi access points in all of the various common lounge areas and restaurants. There are usually signposts that signal the availability of wifi in each of these locations.
6) Meet us at IBC
Do you need sound advice for a video streaming project, the implementation or redesign of a broadcast technical centre, or help with channel management and metadata? Many of our consulting colleagues will be present at IBC this year. So please check our our crack line-up of independent consulting professionals. We provide expertise in online video streaming, broadcast technology, broadcast technology operations, metadata and broadcast channel management systems, UI/UX design and start-up and SME business coaching and consulting. Don´t hesitate to get in touch, let´s meet over a beer!
We wish you a successful IBC and look forward to seeing you there!