Top-5 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your SEMA Show

If you’ve ever been to the SEMA Show, you know it’s one of the biggest and coolest automotive aftermarket shows in the country. Along with it’s size and caliber comes a lot of walking, tons of things to try to see, and let’s face it, an overwhelming four days of non-stop products, builds, industry leaders and gatherings.

To help take away a little bit of the anxiety that goes with trying to check off all the boxes on your SEMA Show lists, we decided to put together a short “How To” if you will, about getting the most out of your 2017 SEMA Show experience, whether it’s your first or your twenty-first time attending!

Schedule things out but be sure to leave some “breathing room” to go back and take another look at your favorite rides!

1) Plan Your Route Ahead of Time

There’s nothing worse than hitting the SEMA Show floor hard only to realize after the fact that you missed one (or more) of the top things you wanted to see. Whether it’s build reveals, celebrity appearances, new products or even just your favorite aftermarket company, it’s important to have a game plan going into SEMA week before even getting to the convention center so you don’t miss those must-see, bucket-list items.

To help you out with this, SEMA offers a number of resources both on its website and on the show floor. On the show website, you can get information on everything from the New Products Showcase, to celebrity appearances, and even access an interactive 2017 SEMA Show floor plan to help you map out your show journey. You can also download the SEMA Show app from the show website, which allows you to map out specific locations you want to visit on the show floor, create an agenda and get live updates on special exhibits and attractions.

Got to get that perfect photo? Be patient! They may be fleeting but there are moments when you can catch your favorite build without everyone walking in front of you!

Prefer the old paper-in-hand way of doing things? Don’t worry! SEMA offers complete guide books with all the important information you need to get the most out of the show, as well as a condensed “pocket sized” guide for those looking to tote less baggage around but still have vital show information at hand. These guides are available inside just about every show hall on special stands, as well as the SEMA Show Information Booth in the main thoroughfare between North and Central halls. Knowledgeable individuals are also available throughout show hours at the Information Booth to answer any questions you may have.

Mark all those “musts” on your agenda so you don’t miss out on a single one!

2) Pace Yourself

SEMA Week will go by in a fury, as the show is only fully seen at a substantial pace. But you have to remember that SEMA isn’t just about interactions on the show floor. Half of the pull of the SEMA Show is at awards dinners, specialty get-togethers, business meetings and various parties. If you want to take full advantage of the extras that happen during SEMA Week, be sure you don’t wear yourself down to the point that going to an exclusive gig post-show is impossible.

Whether you’re a media representative, industry-great or just a “regular” SEMA Show attendee, there are plenty of after-hours platforms you get get involved with. With your SEMA Show registration, you were given the option to participate in countless education panels and the annual awards banquet, just to name a couple. That doesn’t include the various dinners and summits put on by SEMA’s specialty networks and other happenings you may get the chance to be part of. If you don’t pace yourself throughout the week, there’s no telling what opportunities you’ll end up missing out on because you’re just too worn down.

Trust us – one extra isle a day is not worth missing out on these exclusive off-hours opportunities!

Go ahead — wait in line to meet your favorite celebrities! Who knows when you’ll get the chance to in the future!

3) Network, Network, Network

Where else in the country are you going to find so many industry leaders, movers and shakers, and influencers in one place at one time than at the annual SEMA Show? No where! Which is exactly why networking is such a major part of getting the most out of your show experience.

Whether you’re a producer, seller, buyer, media rep, social media follower, or what have you, talking to as many people in the automotive industry about what you do, what they do and how that can benefit one another is vital to continuing to be successful in the industry. Now, we can’t promise that you’ll have much time to network, but even just exchanging names and business cards could help you down the line.

There is major truth in the saying that it’s all about connections and you never know when and where you could benefit from a certain connection. So don’t be shy – get out there and network your way into some amazing connections you may not otherwise have the opportunity to come across!

Tuesday is the busiest on the SEMA Show floor, so it’s okay to leave some more crowded areas for a couple days in!

4) Pick Up Massive Amounts of Information

We can’t tell you how many times a year we come across a subject or question that without the right information, we’d be up a tree. One of the great things about the SEMA Show is just about every exhibitor has some sort of information for you, whether it’s on a sweet ride in their booth or a new product they are introducing into the market. The more information you can gather, the more media you’ll have in your arsenal for a later project, advertising campaign, car show, etc.

If you don’t like carrying around all that information in pamphlet and brochure form, be sure to have your badge scanned by exhibitors you are interested in learning more from. A lot of times, with just one quick scan of your badge, you can get signed up for email lists, press releases, photo and video content and even special announcements and deals.

Take full advantage of the massive amounts of information on hand and you won’t be scrambling later on looking for “that one camshaft” you liked or “information about that one build” you came across!

Get there early and stay late! This will allow you the most time on the SEMA Show floor and allow you to go more your own pace than trying to cram everything in in just a couple hours!

5) Get Your Swag On

Last but certainly not least, be sure to get yourself some SEMA swag. Whether it’s an official event shirt from SEMA itself or any variety of trinkets, posters, calendars, stickers, or exclusive memorabilia, the annual SEMA Show is just not the same without at least picking up a few mementos of your time on the show floor. And don’t worry – there is plenty of swag to go around, but if you see something you want, it’s better to stand in line for 10 minutes to fill out a survey than to come up empty-handed on day four of the show having thought you still had plenty of time to get your signed calendar or Chevy SEMA shirt!

Just like in years past, we’ll be on the SEMA Show floor in force this year, so if you see us, be sure to wave or say hello. Chances are we’ll be running from one meeting to the next or trying for the best angle for a feature car shoot, but we’ll be enjoying it all the same, just as we hope you will too!

About the author

Lindsey Fisher

Lindsey is a freelance writer and lover of anything with a rumble. Hot rods, muscle cars, motorcycles - she's owned and driven it all. When she's not busy writing about them, she's out in her garage wrenching away. Who doesn't love a tech-savy gal that knows her way around a garage?
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