SEMA Show Strategy Guide

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SEMA Show - Strategy Guide SEMA Show - Strategy Guide

BOOKING YOUR TRAVEL (see also: semashow.com/travel)

First and foremost, book your flight to Las Vegas in advance.  Whether traveling from the East coast, Midwest or the West, the cheapest airline tickets can be found on Orbitz.com, Cheaptickets.com, Cheapair.com and similar websites. Always check the air carrier’s website, sometimes you may get the same or lower fare than the other websites offer. One important item to note is that Southwest Airlines does not participate on any travel websites aside from its own (www.southwest.com). Always check with Southwest as they are the largest carrier into Las Vegas and provide the most travel options.

As everyone knows, the troubles in the economy have not been lost on Las Vegas either. Hotels in town have dropped their room rates tremendously and SEMA is able to provide you with an easy way to find numerous hotel options in one place.  When you book at one of SEMA’s official hotels, you also get the additional benefit of free shuttle transportation to the Las Vegas Convention Center, courtesy of SEMA.  Go to www.SEMAShow.com to book your room now!

SEMA Show - Strategy Guide

ARRIVING IN LAS VEGAS – GROUND TRANSPORTATION

If you rent a car, SEMA has entered into an agreement with Budget for cars at a discounted price. Note that a new rental car facility has been built about 2 miles south of the airport.  There is complimentary shuttle to the new facility.  From this new facility, you will want to take I-15 North (entrance is on Las Vegas Blvd.) or the I-215/Airport Connector through the airport which drops you back onto Paradise Road (near the Hard Rock Hotel).

Easy Shortcuts When Driving around the Strip: Try not to use the Strip when driving north/south in Las Vegas.  On the west side of the I-15 Freeway is Industrial Road/Dean Martin Drive, which runs the length of the strip, and is a good alternative when traffic is heavy on the Strip.  To the east of the Strip, is Koval Lane, which extends between Sands (just south of the Wynn golf course) past Tropicana Avenue to Mandalay Bay.  

Watch the city’s street signs too.  Las Vegas is famous for streets having multiple names.  Industrial turns into Dean Martin just south of Flamingo.  The street that runs perpendicular to the Strip between the Wynn Resort and the Venetian is called Spring Mountain on the West side of the Strip, then turns into Sands alongside the Sands Expo Center and Wynn Golf Course, and then becomes Twain at Paradise Road.  It can get confusing, so be prepared.

Driving in the Airport:If you are being picked up at the airport by a friend, utilize the “Passenger Pick-Up” area in the parking structure.  It is convenient, traffic-free, and a few short steps away from baggage claim.  If departing from the C or D gates and are not checking bags, you can request of your taxi driver to be dropped off in this same area.  This will be much quicker.

If you will have a car and are worried about parking, don’t be.  All hotels on the Strip have free Self-Parking and Valet.  See the tipping guide for valet tips. Please note that if you are only going to be a few minutes at a hotel, take your car directly to Valet and tip them an extra $5 when you arrive.  Inform them you will only be a few minutes, and your car will be waiting for you when you return.  This saves you a lot of time if you just need to go back to your room to get something.

If you are taking a taxi and heading to any hotel on the Strip, please make sure you advise your cab driver to stay away from the airport tunnel.  It is slower and costs more.  If you are in a large group (5 or more people), consider a limo or a shuttle – they can handle more people and luggage…often for the same price as two taxis.  Although it is not a rule or always accepted, if you use a porter to handle your bags, he generally will get you to the front of the taxi line for a $10 - $20 tip.  

If you need to get around Vegas, do not have a vehicle and don’t want to waste the $10 on a cab, use the monorail. The monorail is only ($5 one way & $12 for an all-day pass) and connects to the Las Vegas Hilton, Las Vegas Convention Center, MGM Grand, Bally’s/Paris, Flamingo/Caesar's Palace, and Harrah’s/The Quad and SLS.  Even if you are not staying at one of these hotels, they are likely within walking distance if you are staying on the Strip.  The monorail stops right in front of the Las Vegas Convention Center. 

SEMA Show - Strategy Guide

EATING ON THE CHEAP IN VEGAS

Eat Cheap!  Vegas is the place to be for cheap eats.  If you are a buffet lover, here is a list of some of the cheapest buffets in town.

  • Gold Coast:  Ports O’ Call :– Breakfast $5.95, Lunch $6.95, Dinner $10.95
  • Palms Casino:  Bistro Buffet:– Breakfast $5.99, Lunch $7.99, Dinner $11.99
  • Circus Circus:  Circus Buffet:– Breakfast $8.99, Lunch $9.99, Dinner $10.99
  • Golden Nugget: The Buffet:– Breakfast $8.99, Lunch $9.99, Dinner $16.99

If buffets are not your “cup of tea”, some great dining options for reasonable rates include:

  • Peppermill (a diner that has become a Vegas institution): on the Strip between Wynn’s Encore and the Riviera
  • Burger Bar (a hamburger joint like none other): in Mandalay Place between Luxor and Mandalay Bay
  • Fashion Show Mall – aside from the Food Court where you can find everything, the mall also contains restaurants such as California Pizza Kitchen.

If staying in Vegas for more than just a couple of days, invest in a short cab ride and go to a nearby shopping center to pick up snacks/drinks for the week. Target (4001 S. Maryland) can be found only a couple miles from the Strip, just east on Flamingo at the intersection with Maryland Parkway.  You can get all your water/snacks/drinks and last minute supplies for much cheaper, and all for just a short cab ride.  A new shopping center has also opened up at the south end of the Strip called Town Square (6605 South Las Vegas Blvd.), which has a Whole Foods Market, Yard House, Fleming's, Texas de Brazil, Fry’s Electronics (in case you forgot some supplies for your booth), and varied clothing stores as well.

SEMA Show - Strategy Guide

Are you looking for some FREE entertainment?   Check out the following FREE hot spots:

  • Bellagio Fountains
  • Mirage Volcano and Rainforest
  • Pirate Battle at Treasure Island
  • Moving Statues at Caesar’s Palace Forum Shops
  • Freemont Street Experience - video walls are really cool!

If you include entertainment money in your budget, we recommend the following shows:

  • Celine Dion/Jeff Dunham / Shania Twain / Elton John / Rod Stewart – Caesars Palace
  • Blue Man Group – Monte Carlo Resort and Casino
  • Criss Angel Believe – Luxor
  • Faith Hill and Tim McGraw – Palazzo 
  • Ka’ Cirque Du Soleil – MGM Grand
  • LOVE – Mirage
  • Mystere – Treasure Island
  • O - Bellagio
  • Terry Fator – Mirage

*Tip: If there are 10 or more in your group – ask for the group discount.

Las Vegas Tipping Guide

  • Cocktail Waitress - $1 every drink 
  • Dealers - $5 an hour
  • Taxi Drivers - 15%
  • Valets - $2 on pick-up
  • Bellhops - $1 per bag/$2 min.

*Tip:  If you tip $5 - $10 above the listed amount, you will be treated like a King/Queen.  You will receive your bags first, your car will arrive promptly and your drink will never be watered down. 

SEMA Show - Strategy Guide

STAY HEALTHY

Las Vegas climate is very dry.  Alcohol and caffeine are diuretics which dehydrate you further.  There are also germs on slot machines, etc…

Wash your hands frequently and carry some pocket Handy Wipes for convenience.  Drink lots of water, at least one glass for every Cosmo or Latte you consume.  Don’t forget your vitamins.  Use a good lip balm and consider using saline nasal spray and eye drops.  All this will help keep your body tuned up and the germs away.

Walking the trade show floor?  The shoes that are so comfy at home won’t be that way after two days of pounding the cement.  Bring at least two pair of shoes and trade off every each day.  

Don’t feel well?  Contact the front desk and ask for the hotel doctor (some will charge, but it’s very convenient), or ask them to get you to Harmon Medical Center (150 E Harmon Ave.), located on the Strip just behind the Planet Hollywood Casino on Harmon.  

BE SAFE

  • Don’t wear your badge outside the Las Vegas Convention Center – it brands you as a tourist.  
  • Be sure to only accept rides from legitimate taxis (with meters) or authorized limo services.  
  • Don’t wander off the Strip unless you know where you are going. It’s easy to get lost, and some areas south and east of the Convention Center and the North end of Las Vegas Blvd are not safe.
  • Be alert to those around you and be cautious about flashing money and valuables.