SHOT Show Hotel Rooms Going, Going …

Las VegasAt the Exhibitor Academy we held last month in Las Vegas, our partners at ConvExx tipped us off to the status of hotel rooms available for the 2016 SHOT Show. That tip came down to one fine point: hotel rooms are filling up at an unprecedented rate.

Now, I know many of you will read this and say, “Sure this is what they told us last year, but I got my hotel room booked just fine.” Indeed, that was true for all 65,000 attendees of last year’s show. What you didn’t hear about was the number of people who didn’t get rooms or ended up booking far away from the show because they failed to heed our alerts and tried to book too late.

According to Jeff Pressman, President at ConvExx, the days spanning Jan. 18-22, which cover Industry Day at the Range (held the day before the show) and the entirety of SHOT Show, at least two other trade shows of significant size are also taking place in Las Vegas. This means that, just like last year, literally every hotel room available in the Las Vegas metro area will be spoken for during this time.

Learning this bit of information when we did, we took a quick look at the block of rooms NSSF reserves at various hotels in the area and found that two were already completely booked—in June. Even our headquarter hotels, the Venetian and Palazzo, are more than 50 percent booked, double the booking rate for the same time last year. And we still have more than six months to go before the show. Anyone want to take bets on how many of those reservations were made by those who couldn’t get a room last year?

Bottom line here is that we are strongly encouraging everyone planning on attending the 2016 SHOT Show in Las Vegas to book their rooms now. As we do every year, NSSF has reserved blocks of rooms across various hotels near the Sands Expo Center, including rooms at NSSF’s headquarters hotel, the Venetian and Palazzo. The available hotels represent a wide variety of price points so that everyone’s budget and preferences can be accommodated. A full listing of hotels is available at, along with links to the Venetian and Palazzo booking page and those to all other currently available hotels NSSF has negotiated discounted prices with via its housing partner onPeak. You’ll also find a link to Frequently Asked Questions, an online contact form for onPeak and travel discount codes for Delta Airlines and Dollar Rent A Car.

If you have any questions, call Venetian/Palazzo at 866-580-1198 (U.S.) or 702-414-4100 and onPeak at 800-388-8104.

Chris Dolnack is Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Follow him on Twitter at @ChrisDolnack.

Seminars and Press Conferences and Meetings, Oh My!

We’ve made dozens of posts over the last few months about the many educational seminars and press conferences available to the thousands of people who will attend SHOT Show this year. All offer numerous opportunities to learn about the latest industry research, current compliance issues, marketing tools, new products and much more. To maximize your time at the show, seeing what you need to see and meeting with who you need to meet while still getting to the classes and seminars you want to attend, turn to the Digital 2015 SHOT Show Tracker.

The Tracker is your one-stop tool for mapping out the sessions you want to attend. Whether it’s the various sessions of SHOT Show University, the many and varied Retail Seminars, or the nearly dozen Law Enforcement sessions, the Digital 2015 SHOT Show Tracker contains the dates and times for every session during the show. The Tracker also features floor plans of the Sands Expo and Convention Center and a shuttle bus schedule to and from the many nearby hotels, along with a breakdown of exhibitor categories and booth locations.

To access the Digital 2015 SHOT Show Tracker click here. And don’t forget to download the SHOT Show Mobile App, available for iPhones and iPads through the Apple store, for Android devices through Google Play, and for Windows and Blackberry devices through a web-based application. Go to and download the app for your mobile device now.

Diedra Cauley is the senior director of exhibitions and conferences for the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Follow her on Twitter at @dcauley.

Getting Social—Social Media, That Is—#SHOTShow

The mantra “If you build it, they will come” just isn’t enough these days. The good news is that the mileage potential on your marketing effort has grown exponentially in recent years, and you can now reach hundreds, thousands, millions of customers with little effort. No one knows this better than renowned trade show industry consultant and thought leader Traci Browne, author of “The Social Trade Show,” who offered these valuable tips for 2015 SHOT Show.

I’ll be giving away free copies of Traci’s book to the first two people who share this blog post on Twitter. Be sure to include #SHOTShow! Ready. Set. Go!

How To Find Potential Customers On Social Media

Before you can decide which tools you are going to use in your social media strategy, you have to find out where your customers are and what tools they are using. Where are they going to be receptive to your messages? And by messages, we don’t just mean advertising and product pitches. Your customers are looking for support and helpful information.

Facebook – The SHOT Show has a very active Facebook page where they post, not just news about the show, but valuable industry information. This is a great place to meet members of your community and see what they are interested in. Just remember, you want to participate in the conversation…not force your marketing messages on the community.

LinkedIn – If Facebook is a casual party, LinkedIn is all about business. The SHOT Show has its own LinkedIn group, but do a group search on LinkedIn for “sport shooting” and you’ll see there are more than a few groups. Some have just a few members and others have thousands.

Start by observing what members are discussing and jump in when you can offer information people are looking for. This is a great place to bounce around new ideas for products and services off enthusiasts.

Twitter – Do you think Twitter is just a place for Justin Bieber fans? Think again. The SHOT Show (@nssfshotshow) has more than 41,000 followers and the official Twitter account of USA Shooting (@USAShooting) has more than 31,000. Start connecting to their followers and share valuable information with them, as well as the companies you do business with or with which you want to begin a relationship.

Remember, on Twitter you want to practice the 80/20 rule. Spend 80 percent of your time talking about others and 20 percent talking about yourself. In no time, word will get around and you’ll develop a good following of your own. Also be sure to stay up-to-date with show information by following the SHOT Show hashtag #SHOTshow. Twitter is great during the show, because it’s quick and easy to use when you are on the move.

What’s in it for you?

It’s important to remember that it’s not only potential customers that are part of your community. The media is spending a lot of time in these online communities as well, and they are on the lookout for a good story and/or experts to interview.

Social media gives a voice to many who would never have been heard from before. Someone in your company could be the next industry thought leader just by participating in these social media communities and putting people in touch with valuable educational information.

When the SHOT Show rolls around attendees will know you as more than just a brand, but a provider of valuable information.

Don’t forget to share this blog post for a chance to receive a copy of “The Social Trade Show” by Traci Browne. Good luck!


Traci Browne 
Author of “The Social Trade Show – Leveraging Social Media and Virtual Events to Connect With Your Customers”;

Chris Dolnack is Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Follow him on Twitter at @ChrisDolnack.

2015 ‘SHOT on a Dime’ Restaurant Guide

grilled beef with tomatoWhile you are attending SHOT Show in January, we know you will also want to experience the sights and flavors of Las Vegas. Check out our ‘SHOT on a Dime’ restaurant guide aimed to help you find quality meals in Las Vegas for $50 or less. If you are dining on a budget, you can even choose from dining options of $25 or less. No matter your cuisine preference or desired location, you’ll find all sorts of selections. Whether you are staying in the Venetian/Palazzo, or along the strip, you’ll be able to locate something close to home without having to bite the bullet on a hefty dinner bill.

We’ve also included some free Las Vegas attractions. Yes, even in Las Vegas, you can find one-of-a-kind entertainment and beauty for free. Enjoy art, history, shows and the culture of Las Vegas without digging into your pockets.

Chris Dolnack is Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Follow him on Twitter at @ChrisDolnack.

Trade Show Checklist for Professionals

Business Card TradeA polished professional image is helpful and important when developing new client relationships and representing yourself among colleagues. Here are some of the top items on my checklist for maintaining professionalism at the SHOT Show.

  1. Business Cards – First impressions mean a lot when you are meeting potential clients and colleagues. A great way to initialize your professional image is by presenting a business card for them to see what you do. Business cards also assist in remembering names.
  2. Sanitizer – Like an interview, a good handshake is another important asset to a good introduction. The SHOT Show brings a lot of business opportunities, but it can also bring unwanted illness.
  3. Pen/Pad – Taking notes shows that you really care and are paying attention.
  4. Mouthwash – Bad breath can be a big negative. Not only is it unpleasant, but it is distracting. It also helps you clear your teeth of unwanted debris (i.e., spinach, chocolate, etc.).
  5. Phone – Your phone can be your lifeline at the show. Access the SHOT Show Blog, SHOT Mobile App, social media and clients’ websites.
  6. Business Formal/Casual Dress – It is important to dress appropriately both in and out of the show. You never know if you will meet a potential client in a casual setting outside of the show.
  7. Comfortable Shoes – Sore feet are uncomfortable and distracting. The SHOT Show has approximately 12.5 miles of aisles, so it is important to wear comfortable shoes.
  8. Deodorant – The SHOT Show should smell like guns and roses…
  9. Water – Stay hydrated. Being dehydrated can lead to head aches and loss of focus.
  10. Food – A convenient snack like a granola bar, candy bar or apple can help you stay focused on the show, rather than on your grumbling stomach. Meetings can build up quickly along with your appetite if you forget to pack a snack.

I never go to a professional conference or trade event without these items. Being prepared is a huge aspect of professionalism, and this list can give you a head start. These items can enhance your professional appearance, but remember, a professional image relies heavily on professional behavior, as well.

Diedra Cauley is the director of exhibitions and conferences for the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Follow her on Twitter at @dcauley.

Less Than 30 Days Until the 2015 SHOT Show! Are You Prepared?

The real countdown has begun—there are less than 30 days remaining until the doors open on the 2015 SHOT Show. Are you prepared? Take a look at the tips we have for exhibitors, buyers and retailers and media, as well as some important items that will help everyone attending SHOT Show (be sure to read through to the end!).


  • Check the list of December 26 deadlines for catering, sign hanging, electrical, Internet and much, much more.
  • Do you have all your exhibitor badges (based on your allocation) finalized for your booth personnel?
  • Did you schedule a press conference? Now’s the time to get your press materials in order, send out invites to the media members and buyers you want to attend, and get working on your PowerPoint presentations.
  • There are still a handful of slots available for the all-new SHOT Showcase Theater. This is a unique opportunity to have your newest products and lines in front of media members and buyers in a high-intensity, multi-media forum. Contact Chris Tatulli, NSSF Director, Exhibit and Sponsorship Sales,
  • Get your press kits in order—jump drives, CDs, catalogs and press contact business cards. There will be more than 2,500 members of the media in attendance, and they need these materials. Also, remember to take advantage of the press bins in the Pressroom that are made available to members of the media; exhibitors may reserve up to two bins here. Media members tell us this is one of the first places they turn to for press kits, especially when the floor is busy and finding someone to talk to in a booth gets more difficult.
  • Are you holding a press conference in your booth? Let us know so that we can add your conference to our calendar of events. The press conference application provides an option for you to tell us that your booth will be the conference location, so please utilize that function.


  • Make the SHOT Show Planner your new home page and use the floor plan tab to set meetings and see all you need to see without zig-zagging the entire show floor and wasting time.
  • While you’re planning appointments, make sure to utilize the Show Special tab under the SHOT Show Planner. There are nearly 100 brands offering show-only specials, with more added every week.
  • SHOT Show University—This year’s lineup of topics and speakers is better than ever. Literally something for everyone from new store owner to veteran entrepreneur, this year’s University will also be open to exhibitors to encourage better communication and understanding of the manufacturer-to-consumer production chain. See the full course and speaker listing here and apply today—seating is limited!
  • The 2015 New Product Center should be on every buyer’s must-see list. Greatly expanded in size this year, you’ll find booth and company contact information for each product so that you may go directly to the floor for additional information.
  • This year NSSF will host more than a dozen Retail Seminars throughout the week with topics ranging from understanding key profit centers to compliance, as well as a special session on straw purchase prevention. Sessions are just $20 each, but worth their weight in gold. See the full schedule here.


  • Press Room—As always, this is the place to be. Remember that the press room has a number of amenities press members need, such as free Wi-fi, electronic device charging stations, multiple PC and Mac work stations with printers, coat check and more. You can also find hot coffee and bottled water there throughout the day.
  • Press conferences will be held in Room 3401, Level 3, San Polo Ballroom of the Venetian, near the press room. A finalized list of available conferences will be posted here before the show begins.
  • NSSF Media Members have access to the Member’s Lounge during the show. The Member’s Lounge provides a quiet place to have a meeting, catch up on emails or just take a breather in between booth visits. A free lunch is also provided each day of the show.
  • Keep up with NSSF’s Twitter board during the show. Follow @NSSFSHOTShow now for announcements and of course search for and use #SHOTshow to follow the excitement of the show.
  • A full list of room numbers, phone numbers and websites important to our media members is available here.


  • The SHOT Show Mobile App is available now for Apple, Android and Blackberry smartphones and tablets. Simply go to to link directly to the appropriate stores from your mobile device, or click here if opening from a web browser for more information or visit the app store for your mobile device and search for “2015 SHOT Show.”
  • Business cards—double what you think you need. It’s not worth running out mid-show.
  • Need to know where to go after show hours? Visit SHOT on a Dime to find dozens of restaurants on and near the strip that offer dining below $50, plus a list of local attractions.
  • Did you know SHOT Show has a concierge service? Traveler can help you with show tickets, tours, restaurant reservations and more.

This will be the last SHOT Blog post before the Christmas celebration. On behalf of everyone at NSSF, may all of you and yours have a safe and wonderful holiday. We look forward to seeing everyone in Las Vegas.


Diedra Cauley is the Director of Exhibitions and Conferences for the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Follow her on Twitter at @dcauley.

December Deadlines—Part III

As we told you earlier this month, December has a long list of deadlines important to SHOT Show exhibitors. The biggest date ahead for all our exhibitors is Dec. 26. Deadlines for more than two-dozen booth setup items fall on this date, and with the hubbub of the holiday week and the actual Christmas day just the day before, this is a date that could easily slip by you. Note that many of these entries are for the last date exhibitors can access certain items at the reduced advanced rate. Starting Dec. 27, those advanced rates end, so be sure to get your orders in now.

The full list of exhibitor deadlines is as follows:

  1. Audio/Visual (Advance Rate) – Freeman AV
  2. Booth Security Guard Service (Advance Rate) – Century
  3. Carpet (Advance Rate) – Freeman
  4. Catering Request – Sands/Venetian
  5. Cleaning – Booth Order– SES
  6. Column Drape – Freeman
  7. Computer Equipment (Advance Rate) – NMR
  8. Credit Card Authorization – SES
  9. Credit Card Authorization – Freeman
  10. Electrical Order – SES
  11. Exhibit Accessories (Advance Rate) – Freeman
  12. Exhibit Furnishings (Advance Rate) – Freeman
  13. Firearms Onsite Inventory & Security Program
  14. Hanging & Rigging Order – SES
  15. Hanging Truss, Chain Hoist, Lighting and Stagehand Labor (Advance Rate)
  16. Freeman Internet & Telecommunications Order – SES
  17. Labor – Installation, Dismantle, Forklift – Freeman
  18. Labor – Rigging 200lbs and over – SES
  19. Material Handling – Freeman
  20. Payment Authorization – Freeman
  21. Payment Authorization – SES
  22. Rental Exhibit Order (Advance Rate) – Freeman
  23. Special Signs and Graphics (Advance Rate) – Freeman
  24. Target Date Changes – Freeman
  25. Utilities – Air, Drain, Sprinklers, Water – SES
  26. Vehicle/Motorized Units Spotting Fee – Freeman

Questions about an item in the list above? Important contacts at ConvExx and Freeman can be found here and here, respectively. You’ll also find our Frequently Asked Questions page helpful.


Dave Jeannette is Senior Director, Sales for the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Follow him on Twitter at @DaveJeannette.

December Exhibitor Deadlines, Part II

We are now down to just a little more than five weeks before the opening of the 2015 SHOT Show. With that comes multiple exhibitor deadlines in the month of December.

In this post, I’ll focus on the deadlines for December 19. I’ll follow that with another post reviewing the numerous December 26 deadlines.

December 19 Exhibitor Deadlines:

  1. Exhibitors utilizing third-party labor for duties outside those that must be handled by official show contractors (e.g., SES—Specialized Event Services—or Freeman) must submit their Exhibitor–Appointed Contractor (EAC) applications to ConvExx by this date. EAC’s include exhibit installers/dismantlers, decorators, booth hostesses, videographers and photographers, florists and others. Click here for the online applications. Information and a sample of exhibitor insurance can be found here, while rules and regulations for EACs, including show activity dates and times
  2. are located here.
  3. All U.S. exhibitors wishing to receive their badges by U.S. mail must have completed their credential submission by this date. Complete information regarding required credentials and booth badge allotments can be found here. Note: Online registration closes Thursday January 16. After January 23, everyone must register onsite.
  4. December 19 is the final date that exhibitors renting the automated, computerized Lead Retrieval systems from CompuSystems may receive the discounted advanced rates. CompuSystems offers 2015 SHOT Show exhibitors a variety of handheld, smart device and desktop products that collect full contact information from every scanned badge, thereby eliminating the problems associated with handwritten notes and lost business cards while providing additional functionality such as lead qualifiers and note taking. CompuSystems also provides in-booth setup and training for its devices. Click here for CompuSystem’s rental application, including a full listing of the advanced rate discount.
  5. This is the last date that exhibitors can receive the advanced rate from CSS (Convention Staffing Solutions) for temporary booth personnel such as greeters, business card collectors and product presenters. Click here for the application.
  6. The last deadline for December 19 is for exhibitors to finalize food and beverage sampling for booth catering. The online order form for samples can be found here. For more information, contact Tricia Hanisko at or call 702-216-5865.

For the full list of show deadlines, click here. Remember, the Exhibitor Resource Center at can provide the answers to many questions exhibitors have regarding deadlines, contractors, booth services, media and more. Need to contact someone with a specific questions? See the list of all 2015 SHOT Show contacts here.


Dave Jeannette is Senior Director, Sales for the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Follow him on Twitter at @DaveJeannette.

5 Important Resources of SHOT Show

As the size of the SHOT Show continues to increase, it seems like more questions are asked by attendees. To ensure you and your company are ready for everything the SHOT Show can throw at you, utilizing the many SHOT Show resources is crucial.

With the steady advances in technology, the many SHOT Show resources are rarely out of reach. Mobile devices like smartphones and tablets have incredible power that can be essential to have at the show. Remember, help is literally at your fingertips!

Here are five valuable SHOT Show resources:


1. The Website

The SHOT Show website is a “one stop shop” for answers, because it gives you access to all of the SHOT Show resources . Exhibitors, media and other attendees can browse through commonly asked questions that appear throughout all phases of the show. From booth information to sponsorship opportunities, the SHOT Show website is a resource that you can use to find most answers.


2. Social Media

Whether you are in the heat of the action or preparing for the show well in advance, social media is a valuable resource for timely, important information. Social media offers a unique way to find answers and news by providing a live channel of information from everyone attending the show. Follow the SHOT Show action on Twitter, Facebook and Youtube.

If you have a SHOT Show related question, tag either me (@dcauley) or @ChrisDolnack on Twitter.


3. Blog

The SHOT Show blog brings you the latest news and advice from the people running the show. It’s a great source for anyone interesting in learning more about the show.


4. The App

Are you looking for an easier way to stay on track at SHOT Show? The SHOT Show Mobile app allows you to view the SHOT Show schedules, discounts/rebates and floorplans. The app also features advanced settings that allow you to create notes, plan your agenda, request appointments and callbacks, create smartroutes and more.


5. SHOT Show Hotline

The SHOT Show Hotline is the most direct route to get answers about the show. The 24/7 service is available for any questions regarding travel, lodging, logistics, booth information, events and other SHOT Show inquiries.

U.S. (toll free): 855-355-7468
International: 203-270-2370

We are here for you!

Diedra Cauley is the director of exhibitions and conferences for the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Follow her on Twitter at @dcauley.

Be Wary of SHOT Show Scammers

Over the past several weeks SHOT Show Management has received questions from exhibitors about communications (phone and email) from companies claiming to have “great deals” on hotel rooms for the upcoming 2015 SHOT Show. Here is our advice: don’t buy it!

These companies are NOT affiliated with the SHOT Show in any capacity:

  • National Travel Associates
  • Executive Events, PMG
  • Exhibitor Housing Services
  • Premier Connections
  • Global Housing Services Corp.
  • ETP Housing, Inc.
  • Room Connections, Inc.
  • Sojourn Management, Inc.








Although “deals” from these soliciting companies may sound good, we urge caution when they approach.  Unofficial vendors cannot provide the same benefits and protection offered by onPeak or directly with The Venetian/Palazzo. The SHOT Show only guarantees hotel room rates or availability during the show dates for reservations made through these two sources.

Don’t let your guard down after you book your rooms. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) scam artists are making more advanced approaches at your destination, including: pretending to be the front desk staff calling for credit card information, distributing phony delivery pizza flyers in hotel rooms, and setting up phony Wi-Fi accounts to steal information. Remember to be alert before, during and after the SHOT Show to ensure a positive, successful experience.

If you have any questions or complaints about suspicious vendors, please contact the SHOT Show Hotline by calling 855-355-7468 or 203-270-2370. You can also visit the SHOT Show website for more information. Don’t be a victim!

To view or book available hotel rooms at the Venetian/Palazzo, you may do so by clicking here or calling 866-580-1198 (U.S.) / 702-414-4100 (international).

To view or book available hotel/travel deals through the onPeak, visit the onPeak website or call 800-388-8104 (U.S.)  / 312-527-7300 (international).

Diedra Cauley is the senior director of exhibitions and conferences for the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Follow her on Twitter at @dcauley.