Though it feels like yesterday, exactly a month ago we were navigating the Las Vegas Convention Center amongst 37,000 attendees at ICSC #RECon16. Today's #TBT provides an inside look at the conference through the eyes of Ten-X Commercial Senior Vice President Bob Drury.
By Bob Drury, Senior Vice President, Ten-X Commercial
Entering my 24th year at Las Vegas’ ICSC RECon, I’ve certainly picked up a few “best practices.” RECon represents perhaps the single most opportunity-rich networking event for any retail real estate professional; with minimal effort, it’s almost difficult not to gain some valuable new industry connections. But getting the most out of a conference with so many people, parties, and programs requires a thoughtful and strategic use of one’s time.
This year, I was as busy as ever, evidenced by my particularly kinetic Tuesday:
6:30am: Rise and shine. The suits and shirts naturally got a little bit wrinkled during travel. A little ironing can’t hurt.
8:00am: Time to make my way over to the Convention Center. I’m staying on The Strip – it’s close to a lot of the cocktail hours and evening parties – so that means sharing a cab line with fellow convention-goers.
8:30am: Check in to Ten-X’s booth. We recently debuted a set of online tools that allows brokers, sellers, and buyers to seamlessly transact real estate deals online, and our team has a full day of meetings with current clients and those seeking to learn more about the platform.
10:00am: My first scheduled meeting. This one’s with a Dallas/Fort Worth area owner who has used our platform to sell several of his properties, while expanding his database of prospective buyers. He has five properties he needs to sell, and he’s interested in using our new Offer Select platform.
10:45am: I need to trek over to the North Pavilion – only a 10-minute walk without “traffic” – for a meeting with a publicly traded REIT. But this is RECon, and I’m counting on a few stops along the way.
11:25am: I’ve already run into nearly twenty or so acquaintances on my way to my next meeting, some of which I’ve made at previous ICSC events. Some interactions are passing hello’s, and others turn into mini-meetings. A few want to meet later at one of the brokerage parties. This is why I’ll always walk (never ride the golf cart).
11:30am: Luckily I know to afford plenty of time between meetings, because I arrive just on time. I’ve worked with this contact through Ten-X for some time, but this is our first time meeting face-to-face – another huge benefit of the conference. Turns out we have several close mutual connections.
12:15pm: I have time for a (very quick) lunch break. I head to wash my hands and I bump into an old broker friend. After a quick chat, it sounds like she’ll be bringing a deal to the Ten-X platform in the coming months.
12:45pm: I head back to the Ten-X booth for a meeting with a reporter. He knows Ten-X by its former name, Auction.com, but I’m here to discuss our new platform, Offer Select. The platform, which officially launched in March, allows users to perform deals with flexible timelines and contingencies, much like a traditional in-person deal.
1:30pm: I rendezvous with a colleague who’s a bit newer to the ICSC scene. We’ve arranged a few meetings for the afternoon, including one with an institutional seller. We embark to the South Pavilion.
2:00pm: It’s been a half hour and it seems we haven’t made it more than a few steps without stopping for conversation. My colleague might be getting a bit annoyed, but he’s realizing how 10 minutes can turn into an hour.
2:30pm: We begin our (scheduled) meetings, but it seems like we’ve already had more than a few others along the way.
4:00pm: I always make sure to allot some time to walk the floor. We introduce ourselves to a few unfamiliar companies, simply building our network of friendly contacts.
5:00pm: I have a little time to head back to the hotel before my first event of the night.
6:30pm: There’s a brokerage party at the Bellagio. Frankly, it’s a little too loud and crowded for me; I prefer a more intimate gathering.
8:00pm: I’m headed to a small invite-only reception, only 40-50 people, with a few fellow conference veterans. I don’t have an agenda and I’m not pressing for deals – it’s simply a way to reconvene with industry friends without pretense.
10:30pm: Vegas isn’t ready to sleep, but, after clocking 5.7 miles by foot, I am. I call it a day, concluding a very productive line-up at RECon!
Like anything else in one’s professional life, output at RECon is correlated to input. It’s important to immerse yourself in the energy of it all, but it doesn’t hurt to be a bit strategic along the way.