With FBC2014 rapidly approaching it's time to start getting ready to join fellow food bloggers, meet some great brands, learn from some of the best in the field and... let's face it... eat a lot of food!
Whether it's your very first conference of any kind, your first food blogging conference or you consider yourself a seasoned conference veteran, this post will have you covered on what to bring, what to wear and how to prepare.
You Get Out What You Put In
First things first. We can guarantee you that Every. Single. Person. in the room on Friday evening will be suffering from pre-conference jitters - just like you!
Don't believe us? Check out some of the recap posts from FBC2013. There was a whole lot of nerves happening there! Even Ethan and I will be nervous!
To get the most out of anything in life, you have to put something in. Think about what you want to get out of this conference.
- Are you there to learn?
- Are you there to network with other bloggers and make new friends?
- Are you there to make face to face brand contacts?
- Are you there to eat a lot of great food?
- Are you hoping to visit parts of the city?
- some of the above? all of the above?
All those things are totally doable - you just need to prepare and, possibly, give yourself a little pep talk!
Research your fellow attendees - they're all listed on the Eventbrite conference page. Know who's going to be there and think about who you'd like to talk to. Check out their blogs and their social media profiles (we have a twitter list of all attendees including bloggers, brands and speakers to make it easy to tweet to your fellow attendees). Feel free to introduce yourself on social media and let them know you're looking forward to connecting! That can go a long way to breaking the ice before you even arrive at the Four Seasons!
What To Expect In Vancouver in October:
Vancouver is a city known for its mild climate, mountain views and... winter rain. Mid October is usually beautiful with mild daytime temperatures in the low teens... but it can be very, very wet. It's extremely unlikely you will experience snow or freezing temps.
If you plan to explore the city during your stay come prepared so if any rain does fall (but it won't! because we decree it!) you're not deterred. A sturdy umbrella, waterproof jacket and good footwear that will keep your feet dry are all you need to navigate the city like a born and raised local.
What To Bring:
What you bring will depend on what you want to get out of the conference. But here are a few things you should definitely consider:
- room in your suitcase - there will be swag to take home!
- business cards - yes, you read that right! You will be meeting a lot of new people - make it easy for them to remember and find you after you go home
- laptop, tablet, phone, pen, paper - whatever you need to take notes and tweet and instagram.
- don't forget your CHARGERS for all those devices!!
- stretchy pants (trust us)
- a smile - nothing puts a person who is nervous more at ease than being greeted by a big welcoming smile
**NOTE: if you are attending Matt and Adam's pre conference photography workshop, please ensure you have your DSLR or Point & Shoot, your camera manual and a tripod. If you would like to bring a small fold up reflector please do. Wear comfy shoes and clothing - you will be on your feet and moving for four hours.
**NOTE: if you are attending Dianne Jacob's writing workshop, please brint a laptop or pen and paper as there will be some fun writing exercises. If you have a copy of Dianne's book, Will Write For Food, feel free to bring it - she's happy to sign copies!
What Not To Bring
- an attitude - we will have an ego check at the door!
How To Get There
If you are already in Vancouver, then you likely know the Four Seasons is attached to Pacific Centre shopping centre and is accessible easily via transit. Parking is available in the Pacific Centre underground lot for $23/day on weekdays and $7/day on weekends. The Four Seasons also offers valet parking for an additional charge in the same parking lot.
Coming From The Airport
If you are coming from the airport we strongly recommend you use the Skytrain. The Canada Line leaves right from the airport between the domestic and international terminals. It's faster than taking a cab, especially in rush hour, has plenty of room for luggage and drops you a block and a half from the hotel (Vancouver City Centre Station). It even has underground access to the hotel from Pacific Centre shopping centre if it's raining and you don't want to venture outside. Fares range from $7.75 - $9 depending on the time of day and are available from machines inside the station (they accept cash, debit and credit cards). You can expect to pay at least $40 for a cab.
What To Wear
Ahhh... the really big question that makes everyone nervous! We here at FBC are about as casual as you can get so, the short answer is... relax... and wear whatever you like as long as all the important bits are covered up!
The long answer?
Friday night cocktail reception and keynote dinner are a dressier affair than the rest of the conference. If you want to put on your sparkly party frock and your dancing shoes that's the time to do it (please note, there won't actually be any dancing - but you can always hit the town later Friday night!).
For the rest of the conference, wear what makes you comfortable - and remember, there will be a lot of food and a lot of picture taking. Layered clothing is always a good choice.
A Word on Pre-Conference Nerves And How To Deal With Them
Pre-conference nerves are so completely normal. Everyone will have them. Remembering that is key! Also remember... every single one of you have at least two things in common: you're bloggers and you love food. I've had first dates with less common ground than that.
If you're taking a pre-con workshop with Matt & Adam or Dianne, say hi to the people sitting next to you - you have a chance to do a little pre-con bonding in a much smaller environment!
If you bought a double occupancy ticket you'll be making a new friend with a roommate and you have a built in date to the cocktail reception!
Put a smile on your face and introduce yourself to somebody new. If you see somebody standing nervously on their own, go say hello! They're probably just wishing somebody would come talk to them.
Don't be intimidated by brands - they're there specifically to meet you so say hi. A great ice breaker is to thank them for being a sponsor - we couldn't put on FBC2014 without their help!
If you're an established blogger - introduce yourself to a newer blogger - you'll make their day!
Say hi to one of our volunteers: Janice Lawandi, Shareba Abdul and Michelle Peters-Jones will be FBC ambassadors and helpers all weekend long and are there to make you feel at home. And Sean Neild will be our conference photographer and happy to answer questions (he'll take your picture as payment though!)
If you're attending and you already have lots of friends that are there as well, break away from the crowd and introduce yourself to some new people. Don't pay all this money to hang out with people you already see regularly. (hint - we will be making this very easy for you all on Friday night so bring your extrovert card to dinner!)
We were completely gobsmacked at FBC2013 by how many attendees who said they were too nervous to come say hi to us. O. M. G. Do not be ridiculous!! If you see me or Ethan floating around come say hi! Stick out your hand, tell us who you are (odds are pretty good we already know!). Let us know if you're having fun or if you need help finding the restroom or whatever. Yes, we will be busy and might not be able to chat for 20 minutes but, the whole reason we do this is so we can meet all of you!