If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably an IT professional. And, as an IT pro, you know that staying on top of continuing education and training in this field is everything.
That said, attending industry conferences like (shameless plug) CompTIA ChannelCon in Austin, Texas, August 1-2, should be a no brainer. But, let’s face it, if you’re not local, getting to these conferences can cost a pretty penny. Here’s some tips on how to maximize the benefits of attending education and networking events while saving some dough.
Take advantage of early-bird discounts, freebies and promotional offers
Most conferences give you a break on the registration fee if you sign up by a certain date. Some give you better rates when you bring more people – kind of like shopping in bulk! And others just flat out give you money back!
When you register for ChannelCon by July 14, we’ll give you a $40 American Express gift card to help offset some of your costs, and when three people from your company register, the fourth is free!
Stay a little further out
Sure, the convenience of staying at the hotel where the event is taking place often trumps the additional cost. But, if you’re counting those dollars, consider staying at a less expensive hotel a and taking advantage of free shuttles, splitting an Uber or Lyft ride with a group, or even getting some exercise and walking! Sharing a room with a colleague is also an option.
At ChannelCon you get a discounted rate at the JW Marriott Austin if you make your reservation by July 14! If that’s still beyond your budget, go to your favorite travel website and see what else is nearby. A quick search shows more than 30 hotels within a half-mile of ChannelCon.
Eat and drink on site
Event planners know they need to provide plenty of food and drink to make attendees happy and the event a success. Getting to the venue early for that continental breakfast bar and staying on site for lunch keeps cash in your wallet. It also keeps you in the mix – some of the best networking conversations happen during these breaks! Many events also have evening cocktail receptions – a great way to meet new people before you go out to dinner. Your ChannelCon registration includes a buffet breakfast and lunch every day and a reception every night!
Watch the add-on fees in the air
If you are flying to your event, consider carrying on your luggage, using drink coupons or opting for a free choice of beverage instead. If you’re traveling alone, getting a seat should be pretty easy, and you shouldn’t have to pay extra for early boarding or “preferred” seating privileges. Also, think about where you’re going. Is it more cost effective to fly into a major airport, or could you save some money by flying into a regional airport and driving the rest of the way?
Consider your ROI
Yes, attending these industry events costs money. But, is it money well spent? At ChannelCon, for example, IT pros are encouraged to attend the Track4Techs sessions that provide critical understanding of technical challenges and opportunities facing IT pros today. You’ll also earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) toward the renewal of your CompTIA A+, Network+, Security+, Cloud+, Cybersecurity Analyst (CSA+) and CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP) certifications. Plus, your ChannelCon registration fee includes a one-year membership to CompTIA AITP — the industry’s most exciting association for IT pros – a $99 value.
If you’re sold, but you still need to convince your boss, download this letter template as a starting point to get the ball rolling and reserve your place in Austin! We hope to see you there in August!