Held at the San Diego Convention Centre from March 14 – 18, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) annual meeting will bring over 30,000 industry professionals together under one roof.
With over 600 exhibitors, spanning over 525,701 gross square feet of continuous exhibit space, it is the largest exhibition of orthopaedic products in the world and the top event of the year to make connections, discover new technologies and products, and showcase what your business has to offer.
With so much to see and do, if you’re heading to AAOS this March you’ll need a plan of action.
As seasoned AAOS attendees, the OrthoConnections team sat down to offer their advice on how best to prepare for the event.
1. Think about what you want to achieve before you leave
Your time is valuable; don’t waste it focusing your attentions in the wrong areas.
Set yourself some event goals, think about how you’re going to achieve them and create a plan of action.
It may be that you have two important tasks (exhibiting and attending) to balance.
To balance these tasks and ensure you get the most from attending, you have to have a clear strategy. Knowing what you need to accomplish before, during, and after the event is a step toward success.
We sat down to discuss what's most important to us as a business, and decided, in response to increasing demand, to spend our time at AAOS on further building our international distributor network.
To ensure we achieve our event goal, we’re spending the next few weeks focusing our marketing on attracting distributors, organising meetings in San Diego with distributors and advertising our booth location so attendees can easily find us.
2. Prioritise where you spend your time
Once you know what you’re trying to achieve, you can prioritise how and where you spend your time.
If you’re on the lookout for new products or just want to check out the competition, the main exhibit hall is where you’ll be able to see, touch, and compare the latest orthopaedic technologies and products.
Exhibitors demonstrate equipment and make informational presentations regarding their products and services provided. It’s a brilliant opportunity to explore the marketplace and compare products first hand.
If you’re looking to make connections, the main exhibit hall is also where you’ll get the chance to meet representatives from major orthopaedic device manufacturers, pick up business cards and share company information.
If you’re looking for new, niche or novel products, head for the First-time exhibitors. There are over 40 companies attending this years exhibition for the first time; an excellent opportunity to discover new products and technologies.
If your colleagues are attending with you, you can split your must-do tasks to cover more areas. Different team members can sit in on different presentations to maximise information gathering opportunities.
3. Do your research
The technical exhibition hall makes up the largest area of the event. The product displays and exhibition booths span the length of the convention centre.
To make it easier for attendees to plan their visit, the Academy have provided comprehensive exhibitor information on their website.
Before you arrive at the event you can explore a list of over 600 exhibitors, including a short description of each company, their products and their services.
Filter by product, speciality, or location, until you have a complete list of companies or products that fit your requirements. The Academy allow you to shortlist your preferred exhibitors and print the complete floorplan with your favourites highlighted so you don’t miss any of your must-sees as you make your way around the exhibition.
For those looking to plan more thoroughly, a gallery of products is also now available for attendees to peruse ahead of the event.
4. Check out timings
With so many educational experiences on offer at AAOS, the organisers have set aside a few hours for unopposed exhibit time.
This time is allocated for the specific perusal of the exhibition hall; no education sessions or theatre events will be scheduled in this time.
Unopposed exhibit time allows all attendees time to explore the exhibit hall, view product demonstrations, and discuss the latest technologies with exhibitors without missing any education sessions.
If you're at AAOS aiming to catch the eye of surgeons or medical professionals, make sure your exhibition booth is manned during these hours.
If you’re not keen to get caught up in crowds, try to visit the exhibit halls outside of these allocated times to avoid the rush.
5. Organise your diary
With so many industry experts in one place, the networking potential of AAOS is huge. The event is the prime time to re-connect both on professional and personal levels with colleagues.
Spend the weeks leading up to AAOS organising your diary to ensure you have the time connect with as many peers, professionals and colleagues as possible.
With so much knowledge, information and opportunity in one place you’ll want to ensure you don’t miss anything or anyone.
6. Invest in the best footwear
The OrthoConnections team know from experience that it's very difficult to avoid blistered, sore feet at events like AAOS.
Simply walking around the event can be an exhausting exercise, so make it a little easier by investing in some comfortable shoes.
It might also be wise, once you've decided on your must-see booths, to investigate the best walking routes on the floor plan and exhibition map. Knowing the quickest way to get where you want to be will give you extra time for resting weary feet!
To find out more about preparing for AAOS, visit the Academy's official website.
If you’re are looking for new distribution channels in specific geographies, or want to identify new products to add to your portfolio, we can help.
Searching for new connections, new product acquisition and geographical expansion can be time-consuming and expensive.
OrthoConnections can help alleviate these issues by outsourcing this activity to our team of industry experts.
If you have specific search requirements for AAOS, please get in touch with a member of the team for a confidential discussion.
If you’d prefer to visit our booth at the event, contact us to set up a meeting or drop in at booth number 710 for a face-to-face discussion with a member of the team.