By Nicki Kamau
You’re heading to INBOUND! Whether it’s your first time as an attendee, or you’re a seasoned veteran sponsor dusting off your walking shoes from the two-year hiatus from the great Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (BCEC), this article will have something for you.
As an eight-time attendee (two of those being virtual, four as a sponsor) looking forward to year nine, for me, going to INBOUND is like going home. Keep reading to learn from what I’ve experienced over the past eight years about what to prepare ahead of time, and what to pack (stay tuned for another blog on what to bring back) to make sure you get the most out of your week in Boston among the HubSpotters.
Want this in an actual checklist? Here you go: INBOUND 2022 Checklist.
Things to Prepare Before You Go to HubSpot’s INBOUND 2022
Your Event Objectives
Just like most conferences where the number of attendees in the tens of thousands, INBOUND is a lot. A lot of learning, a lot of networking, a lot of experiencing, and a lot of fun. It’s up to you to determine what your objectives are for attending and then look through that lens as you craft your personal event strategy and pull tips from the rest of this article.
So, why are you attending INBOUND? Is it to learn everything you can from the live sessions? Is it to connect with like-minded INBOUNDers to create a network for future collaboration? Are you there as a sponsor to sell your technology? Are you there to source new tech and services to improve your current business results? Do you have any side missions requested by colleagues who aren’t able to attend? Or maybe your goal contains a combination of the above.
Clearly defining your intentions with your team will ensure everyone feels the ROI when you return to your computer after INBOUND.
Now that you’ve created some goals for attending INBOUND, you can build your schedule. Whether your main focus is learning from the speakers or not, checking out the INBOUND agenda will help you make sure you’ve blocked time for sessions such as this podcast recording, “The Intelligent Inbound Podcast: Against All Odds.” (Yes, that’s a shameless plug to come see our very own Jen Spencer and Stephanie Valenti onstage.)
In past years, INBOUNDers have been able to register for individual sessions and build out their schedules ahead of time within their app or event platform. It’s not clear yet if that will be an option this year, so maybe map out your options on your Google Calendar in the meantime.
Whatever your goal for the week, don’t forget to bake in time to eat and enjoy some of the after-hours events such as happy hours, INBOUND at Night, and our Intelligent Inbound® Lounge. The “extracurriculars” of INBOUND will give you just as much in return as the conference agenda.
Your Transportation and Way Around
... Which will mainly be your feet. If you booked early and had the budget, hopefully your accommodations are within walking distance of the BCEC. If not, you can plan to use the free shuttles back and forth from the BCEC to your hotel. Keep in mind these have a schedule and a limited number of seats, which can sometimes mean you’re waiting for a while. Plan to take the shuttle earlier than the one you’d think to get there on time.
If you really want to plan ahead, you can take a minute to familiarize yourself with the BCEC campus, and check out INBOUND’s Insider’s Guide to Boston. While the main point here is to think ahead about how you’re going to be getting to your destinations on time, it doesn’t hurt to actually “prepare your feet” by walking around the block in the shoes you’re packing.
Your OOO Reply
Did I mention that INBOUND is a lot? You’ll likely have needs that come up from colleagues, customers, and partners, but while you’re in Boston, you should set the precedent that you are in fact out of the office. Because what’s the point of paying for and traveling to INBOUND if you aren’t going to be present?
Take a minute to make your OOO reply work for you. Here’s an example:
Thanks for your email.
I'm with some of [my colleagues/the SmartBugs] and 10k+ savvy marketers in Boston at HubSpot's INBOUND 2022. I'll be back at my computer and ready to talk to you on Monday, September 12. Please reach out to my colleague [___@___.com] in the meantime.
Want to see what we're up to? Check out what's happening on Instagram at [@smartbug.life.]
Are you at INBOUND, too? Let’s meet up! [Join me at SmartBug’s Intelligent Inbound® lounge, stop by our booth, or book a meeting with us in person or virtually.]
Things to Pack for HubSpot’s INBOUND 2022
Pack This to Get into INBOUND
This year, INBOUND is providing a smart wearable device that you’ll need to pick up at check-in. To make your first experience at INBOUND go smoothly, have your INBOUND registration confirmation email readily available on your mobile device or printed out. You’ll also need your government-issued photo ID.
- Confirmation email
- Photo ID
Pack These Work and Tech Items
There’s likely nothing on this list that will surprise you.
- Laptop and charger
- Phone charger or power bank
- Business cards (digital or physical)
- Pen and paper
Clothing Items You Won’t Want to Forget
Comfortable shoes are a must for INBOUND. Yes, the majority of us attending are marketers and want to put our best (sometimes fancy) foot forward, but with how many miles you’ll be walking, comfort should be the top priority.
Speaking of comfort, convention centers are cold, so I recommend bringing a jacket or blazer to stay warm. If the weather is nice, you might want to take advantage of breaks and lunch on Lawn D, so bring your sunglasses and hat. Some people like to get a little more dressed up for the happy hours and evening events, others wear what they had on during the day. Either way, I suggest bringing one back-up outfit just in case you get caught in a rainshower leaving the BCEC or bump into someone rushing to a session with their new coffee in hand.
- Comfortable shoes
- Jacket or a blazer
- Back-up outfit
Human Items to Have on Hand
With lots of talking and walking during the long days, you’ll feel your best if you’re continually drinking water, so don’t forget your reusable water bottle. Have I mentioned that you’ll be walking a lot?
Next on the list: band aids. Even if you don’t end up needing them for your heels, you might meet someone else who does—and being a hero is a great way to network.
Gum and mints aren’t just great for keeping your breath smelling nice. Peppermint may actually improve your energy levels and reduce daytime fatigue if you’re dragging from last night’s events.
Hand sanitizer and a mask, if you prefer, will help keep those germs at bay for yourself and others. If you’re thinking about hanging out on Lawn D for a while, sunscreen might not be out of the question.
And last but not least: snacks! I don’t know if it’s the mom in me or just being a hungry human, but you can’t go wrong by keeping a few snacks in your bag.
- Water bottle
- Band aids
- Hand sanitizer
- Face mask
Is your pre-INBOUND to do list organized? Have you mentally packed your bag? Whatever your goals are while you're at INBOUND, don’t forget to take a minute to breathe in the energy around you and learn as much from the experiences as you learn from the session content. I can’t wait to see you there!