Consumer Electronics – Should I Stay or Should I Go?

January 1, 2012

I’ve got the hotel room. I’ve got the flights. I’ve got assignments from a few minor publications. And I’ve got an inbox full of press releases, party invites and requests for my presence at various booths around the show floor. But is Vegas the right move when you take fiscal, time and other constraints into the mix?

That’s the question – not in such a convoluted manner – that I’m asking myself today as I do some laundry and gear up for my trip to the gadget mecca… CES, the Consumer Electronics Show. For 2012, they’ve adjusted the calendar so that the events are closer together and so the show floor is open only during the week. No more jamming a weekend into your trip west. No more wasting two days before the show trying to get your ducks in a row.

In terms of scheduling, the 2012 CES is ideal. They have a press event on Sunday night, a press day on Monday and then the show floor opens Tuesday. My plans – as they stand now – have me arriving late Saturday and departing on Friday. If all goes according to plan, I’ll have the ability to see the show, meet with every rep I feel warrants a visit or an interview, and be home in time for a late dinner on Friday the 13th.

But that’s just it. I could also be home for dinner on every night from the 7th to the 13th by staying home. Ultimately, the puzzle for me is whether the trip is worth it or if I can get as much info from vendors by sitting in my office and having them deliver me sample units right after the show. While Vegas is a hotbed of activity, most of it is food, entertainment and gambling related. The gadgets and the show are just there because they’ve been there for decades already and inertia is tough to overcome.

On this end, it’s the same thing. Is my habit of flying west and covering the show giving me any benefit beyond some cache and a few technology product pieces in various publications? Am I spending $1200 to get paid $300 for my articles? Are there better ways I could spend my time.

Sorry to drag you into my non-vocal discussion with my wallet and my common sense center, but what do you think? Is it worth my while – and yours as readers – to have me jet to Vegas for a week of playing with tech toys and taking photos? What would you do? *One leg of my journey is a refundable airline ticket and the hotel can easily be shared with colleagues who will be there already. My loss of money would come to about $400 if I don’t go.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments. Thanks!