March signifies many significant events: Daylight Savings, the start of Spring and Women’s History Month. The Anaheim Convention Center looks forward to the Natural Products Expo West, a five-day event encompassing educational seminars as well as an extensive trade show. As it continues to grow in size, adjustments are made to accommodate both new exhibitors and attendees. Here’s a rundown of some of those changes, as well as a few hints we’ve learned from personal experience.
Before you even arrive at the convention center you need a game plan, because mindless wandering won’t begin to cover a fraction of what the expo has to offer. One area we overlooked last year has a new location and name this year: The Park. Not to be confused with the land of Disney, we’re referring to the concrete jungle known as Sheraton’s parking lot (previously the designated area between Anaheim Hilton and Anaheim Marriott). Outfitted with an entourage of upscale food trucks, picnic-style seating and giveaways, make it your designated spot when meeting colleagues.
Since you’re already outside, another spot you won’t want to miss is also beyond the convention center. Head over to the Anaheim Marriott ballroom, where 130 additional exhibitors offering products in healthy lifestyle, organic and natural areas await. Some may see this as a nuisance, but think of it this way—you’re already spending so much time indoors. Stepping out for some fresh air is one of the most energizing things you can do. Use this opportunity to take advantage of bag check. Found at the East Parking Lot and Platinum Patio of Marriott, Bellstand at Hilton and the Arena Plaza Tent at the convention center, they’ll be happy to store your growing bag of samples. This will free up your hands for proper handshakes, and your back will thank you in the long run.
If you are tech savvy, download the official app (http://m.expowest.com/) for convenient access to schedules and floor plans. Both the Natural Products Expo Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/naturalproductsexpo/), as well as Twitter (@NatProdExpo or hashtag #ExpoWest and #NatProdExpo) are buzzing with activity. Often times you’ll read about current and upcoming events taking place on and off the show floor, but folks also use the opportunity to draw attention to their booth.
Lastly, the best advice we can offer you is something you know (but may forget). Be prepared. Wear your most comfortable pair of shoes. Don’t weigh yourself down with a bulky wallet or heavy purse; carry the essentials. Remember to hydrate, because all that networking is exhausting. And try to balance your time. Stop by ARTIC (Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center) and have dinner at Oyster Bar SKC, or head over to Anaheim GardenWalk’s recently opened House of Blues. Both venues are great for blowing off steam after a long day. The city’s given you the resources to make Natural Products Expo West an excellent one; you just need to make the most of it.