10 Tips from an ICSC RECon First Timer

2014 was my first year at ICSC RECon. As a 20-something year old breaking into the retail real estate industry at the largest deal making event of the year, I was grateful to have my boss with me who had 25+ years experience guiding me throughout the entire show. Below are a few tips from me, now an expert, on how to survive your first time at RECon.

1. Wear comfortable shoes and take care of your feet at night.

My boss joked about this being the most important part of ICSC RECon and she was right. I am pretty good in high heels, wear them daily and never have problems walking in them. But, I had problems getting through three days of RECon in them. I brought a small bag that I put my heels in and wore flats between meetings while I was navigating the map and trying to make it to appointments on time with a few minutes to prep before each one. I still had swollen feet so I made a routine of soaking them in hot water for 30 minutes when we got back to the hotel around midnight every night after dinners and networking.

2. Drink lots of water.

There are two factors here to consider: (1) It’s Las Vegas and scorching hot in the driest air. Just because you’re not dripping sweat from the lack of humidity, doesn’t mean it’s not hot. Keep a bottle with you and make yourself stay hydrated. (2) If you take advantage of the opportunities ICSC RECon provides, you shouldn’t have a break in your schedule except to go the bathroom and to eat a quick meal. You should be running around making the most of your time. This aloneworkoutrk out. Do not get overheated and miss your chance to shine.

3. It’s impossible to have a bad hair day.

The wind is insane on the strip. Check out my Mission Impossible Michael Kors jumpsuit and windblown hair outside the Cosmopolitan on the way to our next dinner date. Do not spend time worrying about your hair. The dry air and lack of humidity only require a brush to go from professional skydiver to top model once again. Spend time with your face in your notes rather than the mirror. Trust me, it’ll be fine.

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4. Pack light.

You should know your appointment schedule at least a week before RECon. Plan your outfits down to what you wear on the plane to each day and dinner thereafter. I wore every single thing I packed for the first time in my life on that trip and it was worth the planning. You do not want to lug heavy luggage through the hotels, airport and on the strip. Also, it’s hot. Have I made that clear? Pack light clothes and fabrics that breathe.

5. You never know who you’re going to meet. Be prepared.

This convention brings over 40,000 people to one of the biggest tourist cities in the country. Feel comfortable enough in what you’re wearing so if you meet your next prospect or a celebrity, you’ll be fond of the memory. Look who we met at dinner with clients and vendors. Who doesn’t love the Cake Boss himself, Buddy Valastro?

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6. Talk to everyone and always have your business cards handy.

Get up early, have your coffee early and get on your game from the moment you leave your hotel room. Talk to people in the elevator, in the line to get a cab, in the cab, people you rub shoulders with on the train or in the convention halls. We met so many people and exchanged so many cards that turned into great opportunities. You never know who you may be washing your hands next to! And BTW, wash your hands to keep germs on the DL and yourself healthy.

7. Charge electronics overnight and bring chargers with you during the day.

In one of my first appointments of the day, my iPad died. It was mortifying as a first timer. I had charged it all night and either there was a short in the outlet I selected or it was bad luck. Fortunately I had my charger with me and we were able to continue our presentation. Be cool, be calm and stay charged. #StayCalmAndChargeOn

8. Leave time between appointments and don’t lose your map.

I’m all about capitalizing on the opportunities this convention provides and making the most of your time, but don’t overestimate and over promise your commitments. These halls are HUGE – to the point where they have golf carts helping you to get from North to Central and South Halls. I highly recommend leaving 30 minutes before appointments. And do not lose your map or it is game over. Mark your appointments out on your map the second you get there. As you stroll (run) to your next appointment, try to look for the booths of your next meetings. Each looks different and they all have something unique to help you spot them. Check out two of our client’s booths, Tanger Outlets and Lennar Commercial below.

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9. Be careful at the parties.

It wouldn’t be Vegas without some great parties – Deal making by day, partying by night. When you’re invited to these parties, remember you are still working. Also remember that not everyone else remembers that. If you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation, maintain your professionalism and move on. Watch the flow of the party, the atmosphere, how people are interacting, try to recognize faces before you talk to them, know who you would like to meet before you get to the party, and keep it professional. I recommend a two drink max, because don’t forget ICSC RECon last for three days.

10. Have fun.

There’s no doubt this convention is work. But it’s exciting, thrilling, fast paced and can still be fun at the same time. Try not to let it cloud your judgment of what all of Las Vegas is like if you haven’t visited before for any other reason than ICSC RECon. If you can go a day early or stay a day late, enjoy the beautiful uniqueness of each hotel like the Bellagio and the Wynn.

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We hope you enjoyed a first timer’s advise. Please pass it around your office, share with your first timers and tweet us if you want to meet up this year! @infiniteecom

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National real estate investment manager focused on the U.S. rental housing sector

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Operate and own a portfolio of 43 upscale outlet shopping centers located in 22 states coast to coast and in Canada

The portfolio totals approximately 14.8 million square feet and leases to over 3,100 stores operated by more than 500 different brand name companies

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Tanger 2017 Campaign

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Operate and own a portfolio of 43 upscale outlet shopping centers located in 22 states coast to coast and in Canada

The portfolio totals approximately 14.8 million square feet and leases to over 3,100 stores operated by more than 500 different brand name companies

Attracts more than 188 million shoppers annually

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Over 800 wines, celebrity winemakers, chefs, craft beer brewmasters and special guests

Performances by Nashville singer/songwriters and first-class wine and food seminars led by special guests

Benefits Destin Charity Wine Auction (DCWAF), supporting children’s charities in Northwest Florida

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322,000 square foot center owned and managed by Weingarten Realty REIT

One of Houston’s most prestigious and historic specialty centers offering a wide variety of national retailers, upscale restaurants and unique local retailers

Serves some of Houston’s most affluent neighborhoods

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Commercial real estate firm offering a spectrum of services including property and facility management, leasing, marketing, development, investment sale, construction management and engineering

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Developed in 2008 and acquired by Hill Partners, Inc. in 2016 when it became a LEED pre-certified development

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250,000 total SF encompassing retail, restaurant and class-A office space

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Gracia Entrepreneur Training Program (G.E.T.) provides opportunities and resources needed to actualize economic empowerment, self-confidence, business skills, relationship and communication expertise to create a permanent shift in the way the girls of Casa Hogar think about each other and their future

Milagros is the product arm of G.E.T. where the girls earn income through one-of-a-kind jewelry sales made of 99.9% pure silver and precious stones handcrafted and sold by the girls themselves

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Hill Partners

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Developed in 2008 and acquired by Hill Partners, Inc. in 2016 when it became a LEED pre-certified development

23-acre open-air shopping center with over 45 brand name stores, local boutiques and restaurants

250,000 total SF encompassing retail, restaurant and class-A office space

Serves 742,000 people within a 5-mile radius

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Tampa, Florida

21-story contemporary luxury high-rise multifamily building managed by Gables Residential

Studio, 1 and 2 bedroom apartment homes and townhomes featuring granite countertops, stainless appliances, keyless entry and more

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Currently have over 2.5 million square feet in development pipeline

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Manhattan, New York

Privately held energy and infrastructure company with offices in New York, Houston, Texas and Portland, Maine

Family energy business comprised of wealth development knowledge and experience in the energy sector with an investment committee that affords the ability to move quickly

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AT A GLANCE

Tampa, Florida

21-story contemporary luxury high-rise multifamily building managed by Gables Residential

Studio, 1 and 2 bedroom apartment homes and townhomes featuring granite countertops, stainless appliances, keyless entry and more

Best-in-class amenities top-notch security, outdoor amenity deck with bocci court and infinity edge pool, fitness center, spa and treatment rooms, and more

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650,000 square feet of existing specialty retail and signature restaurants, 170,000 square feet of existing Class-A office space, 625 existing and planned full and select service hotel rooms and suites, 500 planned luxury residential units

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Founded in 1978

Fastest-growing commercial real estate services firm in the world comprised of 2,200 real estate professionals in 77 offices

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