ADOTAS – The beginning of a new year is the perfect time for reflection – looking back at what you’ve accomplished, and how it compares to what looms ahead. Earlier today, what loomed ahead for me was completion of this very article you’re reading, and my “reflection” consisted of looking at columns I’ve written in the past – and deciding if it’s really “plagiarism” if I copy my own work. Normally, I’d open up this column talking about how great the Florida Gators are, but I’ll have to save that for another year.
Upon looking at some old articles, I now realize I’ve been incorrect in the past. For example, last year I welcomed 2010 by stating that we’d no longer have to see those goofy giant New Year’s Eve glasses because the “double zeros” only worked from 2000 to 2009. Well, I guess someone figured a way around that, as I found out at Missy’s NYE party.
Luckily, I’ve been right about many more things than I’ve been wrong… and at times I didn’t know how right I was. Back in August 2009, I mentioned how Affiliate Summit was “all grown up”, breaking the 3000+ attendee mark, and now hosting the event at the Hilton New York. Well, “The Summit” (not to be confused with the puke-orange basketball court in Tennessee) has broken another milestone, as more than 4,600 attendees will be headed to Las Vegas in a few days for Affiliate Summit West 2011.
And talk about “growing up” – this conference has graduated from the Riviera (more champagne, Liz?), to Bally’s, to the Rio and now to the Wynn! When Affiliate Summit West’s new venue was announced over a year ago, I knew the conference was going to be a sure sellout.
Affiliate Summit is known for its top-notch programming, from its informative and educational sessions to their award-winning and world-renowned keynote speakers. This show is no different, with Monday featuring Drew Eric Whitman, an advertising trainer who specializes in teaching the psychology behind the response, and Tuesday featuring Brian Solis, Principal of FutureWorks, a New Media marketing and branding agency in Silicon Valley.
All right – I know that most of you reading this already plan on attending the Summit and simply want to know what to do and where to go once you get to Sin City, so I won’t bore you with the obvious suggestions and tips like “don’t forget business cards” or “set a schedule of meetings” or “wear comfortable shoes.” (Like how I snuck that in there?)
But here are a couple that may not be so obvious to those new to the desert – bring lip balm and eye drops. It’s freakin’ DRY in Vegas – couple that with the recirculated air in the exhibition hall and meeting rooms, and you get chapped lips and red eyes. Oh – you can thank me by buying me a drink… because I just gave you an excuse you can use for your red eyes, you party animals.
Speaking of parties (oh, what a segue!), you’re probably wondering where I’m going to be so you can buy me that drink. I’m not going to waste this precious ADOTAS space with an exhaustive list of the events surrounding Affiliate Summit – Missy has done such a great job already on her blog. But there are a few events that shouldn’t go unmentioned.
First of all, what goes on every January in Vegas besides The Summit? (Besides CES… and the porn convention.) XY7.com’s Annual ASW Kickoff Football Party, that’s what! Remember – it’s the NFL playoffs, so visit your hotel’s sportsbook, place your bets, then head to the XY7.com suite and enjoy some gridiron grub and ballgame beverages. Click here for details.
Yeah, I’m in a football mood… and why wouldn’t I be? I just won the Ward Media Invitational fantasy football league, and I’m lookin’ to collect my winnings at this show. (Thanks in advance, Phil.) Speaking of pigskin, college football’s National Championship game takes place on Monday night, and perennial Utes fan Brady Whittingham didn’t forget – he informed me of the Bgbng.com and Adlinkr.com event. Catch the game (or pre-game) and play some beer pong in their 2100-sq.-ft. suite at the Wynn – perfect for happy hour – or a pre-dinner cocktail, since the Auburn-Oregon matchup starts at 5:30pm PST. It’s #1 vs. #2, baby! RSVP here.
Staying on the sports theme, also on Monday is DoublePlay Media’s “Affiliate Tip-Off Party” at the Hardwood Suite in the Palms Hotel. (That’s a basketball reference, for you lonely women.) I gotta be honest – my boys from South Florida know how to put on a party! After that, I’m headed to another event from a Florida company – and probably one of the more exclusive events of the show.
ClickBooth always puts on a huge bash – from the ASE “View From The Top” party to ad:tech’s “Affiliate Apocalypse” – and this show’s “Black Card Party” should be no different. This is supposed to be an “A-list” event, but I was invited, so what does that mean? I guess I’ll have to go to the party and find out.
So you say you want to get away from all these conference folk? You want to ditch your coworkers? You know you’re going to be fired anyway from your actions in Vegas and want to make the most of your trip? Then look no further – let a local tell you where to go! This year, we’ve got the lovely and talented Jessica Haymond from RevEngine to give us the 411 on the 702. Take it away, Jessica!
“Thanks Warren! Well, just because I’m based in Vegas doesn’t mean I begin and end my day with a cocktail. However, when ASW comes around, sometimes I want to begin and end my day with exactly that. When the affiliate mega-conference is here I find myself back in the “VEGAAAS!” state of mind, long since dormant due to my local status. The excitement of seeing old friends, making new ones, and exploring the best of Vegas makes me ready for a long night out at the best Vegas locales.
“Do I have a list handy of all the best places on, and off, the Strip? Why yes, yes I do. It’s also laminated. Find me at the show and I’ll give you a copy. Or, you can read on for my top choices of Vegas food, drinks, and fun from a local perspective.
The New Kid on the Block:
The Cosmopolitan Resort and Casino
“Since opening December 15, I’ve visited her twice – coming back satisfied each time. The Chandelier bar is the centerpiece of this casino; a three story chandelier hanging in the center of the resort, with a bar inside. If that doesn’t make you feel like pure Las Vegas opulence I don’t know what will.
The Buffet at Wynn
“King Crab legs. Bottomless mimosas. Fresh pancakes. Fresh omelets. No time limit. Dear God go here.
Sunday Game Day:
Lagasse’s Stadium at the Palazzo
“I only watch college football (GO TROJANS!), but sometimes I find myself here on the weekends watching games just for the food, comfortable seating, and amazing people watching. There are luxury boxes both inside and outside, lounge areas, card tables, and stadium seating on couches. Why not watch the game in comfort and on a 9 ft x 16 ft TV?
“One of the gems of Las Vegas is the tapas lounge FireFly, but a five minute cab ride from the Strip. Located on Paradise at Sands, this lounge has the best sangria and mojitos selection in the city and a tapas list 50+ items long. Try the bacon wrapped almond stuffed dates. Trust me.
“Funny enough, Marrakech is located in the same area as FireFly, but has a totally different vibe. This Moroccan restaurant provides a six-course meal beginning with the washing of your hands in rose water. All the while belly dancers are performing – it’s Moroccan!
“The Republic restaurant, located on Eastern off of the 215, is about 15 minutes from the strip, but worth the trek. Seared tuna nachos, crustless cheeseburger, and deep fried peanut butter and jelly sandwiches give this chic bar/restaurant a comforting feeling. Did I mention they have pigs in a blanket?
Fleur at Mandalay Bay
“Fleur is the newest tapas lounge on the strip, with it’s opening last month. More tapas, you say? Yes, but this place makes frozen cocktails tableside by means of liquid nitrogen! This place is too cool to be missed.
Carnevino at the Palazzo
“This classic steakhouse is the brainchild of Mario Batali and his orange Crocs. The dry aged bone in ribeye comes complete with a staff of six to serve you, and cut your meat.
Drinks without Hassle:
“This speakeasy doesn’t have your typical Vegas vibe. The booths and chairs are deep crimson leather, the chandelier is, well, a chandelier, and it has dark hardwood floors. It’s pure class. This underground bar is located under LAX nightclub, and you have to enter outside of the Luxor – literally outside. Bring your coat. Also, get on the list.
Downtown Cocktail Room
“Apparently we’ve gone back in time to the Prohibition Era, as my next bar choice is another speakeasy. The Downtown Cocktail Room is a modern day speakeasy located steps from the Fremont Street Experience. Watch out, the front door is unmarked, so keep your wits about you. Yet, once you are in, you can people watch through the one-way mirror onto Las Vegas Boulevard. Ah, the joys of being on the inside.
“If you’re yearning for more suggestions of Vegas’ finest fare, come and find me at the show. I’ll be the gal with red hair walking around ASW with a laminated list of places to eat.”
Thank you Jessica! Gotta love a girl packin’ laminate! And before any of you think that my “lovely and talented” intro for Jessica was inappropriate and creepy, I borrowed that classic line from David Letterm- … oh. That’s right. Nevermind.
In closing, the FFC and I would like to wish all of you a “Happy New Year” and safe travels to Vegas! Make sure to thank Shawn Collins and Missy Ward for putting on such an enjoyable and successful conference – and maybe a “Happy Birthday” to one of ‘em too!