The NAHB International Builders’ Show® (IBS) is the premier industry event of the year that draws 60,000+ residential construction professionals worldwide. For first timers, the sheer scale and vastness of the show can be overwhelming. However, with some preparation, your inaugural experience can be memorable and productive.
Here’s an insider’s guide for the best first-time Builders’ Show experience.
While the show is Feb 27 – 29, the more in advance you can plan, the better. It can help you get the best airfare, hotel, room pricing and tickets to IBS special events you want to attend.
Pro Tip: IBS special event tickets tend to sell out, so buy them sooner rather than later.
Book your stay well in advance to secure a place that’s convenient to the show location and suits your budget.
Pro Tip: Book one of the Official IBS Hotels! A complimentary show shuttle is available to take you back and forth from Official IBS Hotels and the show.
Check BuildersShow.com for schedules, floor plans and exhibitor lists. It gives you a head start in deciding which IBS Education Sessions you want to attend, where your areas of interest are on the segmented show floor and the specific booths you want to visit on the show floor.
Pro Tip: Mark show emails as safe so you receive them in your inbox. Watch for show updates and information.
Set Clear Objectives
The best way to create a strategic plan for tackling the Builders’ Show is to start with your goals. Start with what you are trying to accomplish.
- Are you looking for specific products?
- Do you want to learn about the latest residential construction trends?
- Are you there to network and make connections?
Set clear objectives for attending the show so you can optimize your time and make a strategic plan for attending the show each day. For example, if you’re looking for a specific product, check the exhibitor list to find the segment on the show floor and the exact exhibitors offering that product so you know where to find them when you arrive at the show.
If you’re trying to figure out the latest marketing strategies for custom home builders, use the IBS Education Search to find sessions about marketing and specifically for custom builders.
If you’re there to meet as many experts and peers as you can, find the networking and special events that take place as part of IBS so you can buy your tickets and be there when it’s time to network.
Pro Tip: Schedule your time with your main priority in mind first, but leave time for all the other areas of the show, too. You may spend the majority of your day in IBS Education Sessions, but leave an hour to walk the show floor, visit the IBS Store to stock your bookshelf and have your tickets in hand for one of the special networking events after show hours.
The Builders’ Show is huge and spread out in three different Halls at the Las Vegas Convention Center. You’ll be walking a lot. Wear comfortable shoes and attire. Business casual is typically a safe choice, but you will see people dressed in everything from jeans to suits.
Pro Tip: Wear a different pair of comfortable shoes each day you’re at the show.
Pack Show Essentials
With just three days to pack it all in, your days at the show are packed and long. Make your experience comfortable by bring some essentials with you each day for the show.
- Bring along a backpack or tote bag for guides, brochures, samples and promotional items you pick up from the show.
- Carry a notebook and pen, or a tablet to jot down important information – especially during IBS Education Sessions, but also for networking and the connections you make.
- Ensure your phone is fully charged and consider bringing a portable charger.
- Pack snacks, a re-usable water bottle and a lunch (if you can). The Convention Center has spots where you can buy food and drinks, but the lines tend to get long.
Pro Tip: Stay hydrated and nourished. With all the walking and talking, it’s easy to forget to eat or drink. Keep a water bottle with you and take snack breaks.
Download the IBS App
IBS has an official app that provides tons of useful information about the show. This is your digital guide throughout the show. The app has maps, ways to connect with other attendees and your personalized show agenda so you know where to be and when to be there.
The IBS App will be available for download in mid-January 2024.
Pro Tip: Add all events, education sessions and other stops to your personal show agenda, even if they happen simultaneously, so you a backup if something happens with your first choice.
Engage in Educational Opportunities
Education at IBS is always a centerpiece of the Builders’ Show. The 2024 IBS Education lineup promises to dazzle and captivate its attendees. With a mix of returning beloved sessions coupled with enhancements to IBS Education, there’s a wealth of knowledge awaiting every professional in the residential construction industry at the Builders’ Show.
The best plan of attack is to use the IBS Education Search to find all the education sessions you want to attend. You can search by topic, interest, date and more. Make a list of the sessions sorted by day and time. Add these sessions to build your show agenda when the IBS Mobile App is available.
Pro Tip: Add all the sessions you want to attend, even if they are happening at the same time. If one of the sessions is full, you can attend the backup session. New for 2024, we’re also offering encore or repeat sessions, so if you can’t attend the first time the session is scheduled, you can attend the encore session.
Network, Network, Network
IBS brings together professionals from all over the globe. This is a fantastic opportunity to expand your professional network. Have your business cards handy, be open to conversations and don’t be shy to introduce yourself.
Pro Tip: The IBS Mobile App has a list of all registered attendees and their companies! You can use the app to pull up the person’s profile, add it to your favorites, make notes, email notes to yourself and send a message to them.
Participate in Social Events
Don’t make your trip to the Builders’ Show all work and no play! Many exhibitors host after-hours events or parties. The Builders’ Show has official special events that are after show hours too. If you’re invited or buy tickets to the event, don’t miss it. These events are in a more relaxed social setting where you can interact with industry peers and maybe even strike business deals.
Pro Tip: Buy your tickets to the official IBS special events early! All these events sell out before the show begins. Add your tickets to your IBS registration.
Enjoy the Experience!
The Builders’ Show is a dazzling gathering of the best residential construction industry offerings. It’s an opportunity to learn, network and grow. With these tips in mind, you’re well on your way to having the best IBS experience ever.
Pro Tip: Be present. It’s hard to leave work or your business for 3+ days, but the show is your opportunity to better yourself and your business/company. Take it all in while you have the chance. Then take it back to your business when you get home.
Reach out to your contacts and continue communication with them after the show. Send them an email or a LinkedIn request. Solidify the relationships by continuing to communicate with them.
Pro Tip: Create a continuous contact plan. Add it to your calendar to send an email, text, group message or call the people you met at the show on a regular basis. Meeting the top expert or peers in your niche means nothing if you don’t nurture the relationships and communicate with them.
Reflect & Apply
Once you’re back, take a moment to reflect on the experience. What did you learn? How can you apply this to your current projects or future business plans? This helps you experience the show benefits long after it’s ended.
Pro Tip: Go back to the original goal(s) you set for attending the show. Focus on the notes, contacts, products, services and information that can help achieve your goal.
We’ll see in Vegas at the Builders’ Show, Feb 27 – 29!