The Ultimate Guide to ASW and InterNext 2017 – Las Vegas
14 December 2016
This January, two of the hottest tickets in affiliate marketing will take over the Entertainment Capital of the World: Vegas, baby! If you’re looking for knowledge, networking and entertainment, you won’t find a better bet anywhere on the Strip.
Whether you’re headed to Affiliate Summit West (one of the largest affiliate conferences in the world), interNEXT (one of the most important conferences for Dating affiliates) or both, this guide contains everything you could possibly want to know about enjoying the Silver City as an affiliate… and probably a few things you wish you didn’t.
We believe that being informed is the most important first step to capitalizing on your investment, which is why we’ve put together this guide specifically for affiliates. If you have a killer tip, we’d love to add it – please contact us!
Update: We count on your help to make this guide the best it can be – special thanks to Mr. Romance and Scotty Kaz for their contributions so far!
When it comes to the global stage, few conferences compare to ASW. This biannual conference started back in 2003 and features two versions: Affiliate Summit West in January and Affiliate Summit East in New York later in the year.
The schedule is packed with experts from all across the affiliate marketing industry. The full schedule is already available online, along with a full list of speakers, so you should start digging through the list already to ensure you don’t miss the talks that are most relevant to your business.
Why: Marty Weintraub is the founder of Aimclear, a solutions-oriented marketing company focused on audience targeting, modern distribution, customer acquisition and classic creative values. He has spoken in numerous stages around the world and puts an emphasis on data, audience targeting and Facebook, along with juice info on how to master PPC campaigns.
Why: Famous for his lab coat and scientific approach to conversion, Brian Massey is the founder of Conversion Sciences – a company that specializes in everything “under the hood” when it comes to conversions. Expect him to give you some enlightening insight into how important small details are in the art of conversion. Not to be missed if you’re looking to improve your split testing game!
Why: Sean Dolan has enjoyed a unique trajectory to his current position, with years of various mainstream marketing successes (including Pimp This Bum) leading to the foundation of PushFire. As President and COO, Sean is responsible for overseeing a paid search budget that exceeds millions of dollars in spend across numerous well-known clients.
What: Co-founder of Affiliate Summit and affiliate expert since 1997
When: 15, 16 and 17 January
Why: As co-founder of Affiliate Summit Inc and co-Editor in Chief of FeedFront Magazine, Shawn Collins has been a major driving force for the growth of affiliate marketing since he got started nearly 20 years ago. He is the successful author of multiple books, podcasts and other sources of gold info, solidifying his position as one of the most connected figures in the affiliate marketing world.
What: Co-founder of Affiliate Summit and affiliate expert since 1999
When: 15, 16 and 17 January
Why: Missy was one of the first and most successful WAHMs (Work At Home Mothers) and has enjoyed every minute of it – she’s rarely depicted without a glass of wine, pairing it with an expression that says “I’ve earned it.” Her affiliate marketing expertise lead her to co-found Affiliate Summit Inc, along with a laundry list of successful digital endeavors that are aimed at helping affiliates succeed and grow their business.
interNEXT: The premier event for Dating affiliates.
interNEXT occupies more of a niche in the world of affiliate conferences, with a clear focus on everything Dating. Clever timing and free tickets for affiliates means you can attend both events in one trip to Vegas. If you’re in Dating at all, don’t miss it!
When: 14-17 January 2017
Where: Hard Rock Hotel & Casino – Las Vegas
UPDATE: The interNEXT website has been updated with all the speakers! Take a look at the full list to start planning your schedule (it was worth the wait – they added some really nice bios for each speaker). Common themes include mobile products, billing options, 2017 trends, the growing cannabis industry and legal issues.
Who: Gabe Zichermann
What: Serial entrepreneur, TED speaker and gamification expert
When: Sunday, 15 January
Why: Gabe is one of the leading voices on gamification; his numerous talks and heavy coverage have helped many approach their business from a new perspective. He specializes in injecting traditional concepts with fun, playful elements that engage users on a whole new level.
What: Facebook advertising expert, STM moderator and entrepreneur
When: Monday, 16 January
Why: Starting as an affiliate at age 14, Christina now spends most of her time delivering rock-solid advice on maxing out Facebook advertising performance under the FBQueen moniker. This ought to be more than just entertaining – expect a fascinating, forward-thinking discussion that will help you formulate your social media strategies for 2017 and beyond.
Why: Shirley has been the primary driving force behind community engagement efforts at Chaturbate. As COO, she has taken a hands-on, people-first approach to ensuring both her customers and her partners are happy. Discover the secret behind her approach at either of her two seminars.
2. PREPARING FOR SIN CITY
If it’s your style to show up late and unready, that’s fine – Vegas will still show you a good time. But expect headaches. Las Vegas hands them out in more than just hangovers.
Avoid the nastiest of the unpleasant by knocking out these essential tasks before you take off:
Booking a flight
Suggestions vary on the best way to fly in, and it really depends on where you’re coming from. It’s worth considering hidden city ticketing in your research strategy. It might be significantly cheaper to book a flight to a larger hub like Los Angeles (LAX) or Salt Lake City (SLC) before hopping to Vegas. Getting two separate flights can often be cheaper and faster than booking direct. SkipLagged was built specifically to find these secret solutions – we found similar prices to those on Google in our search, but it’s worth checking out.
That said, you should be keeping more than just price in mind – your comfort is key, and getting a fresh start to the conference begins with a smart flight itinerary. Some airlines may not offer direct flights to Vegas (KLM, we’re looking at you); they’ll often break up the flights in such a way that you never get a fair chance to rest on the plane. If you’re coming from far away, guarantee a restful flight by booking your first leg directly to LAX or SLC.
Booking a hotel
The Aria is just one of many stunning hotels available to you in Vegas.
There are always rooms available in Vegas, but there are some you really don’t want to end up in. You should book your hotel as soon as you get your ticket. ASW offers hotel recommendations, as does interNext – those are good starting points.
Average prices near the Paris Hotel (where ASW17 is taking place) range from $89 at the TraveLodge to $1200 for a luxury loft at the MGM Grand. With a bit of research, you should be able to find a nice room nearby for around $150/night. If you’re willing to walk and potentially deal with strange noises in the night, that price could drop plenty.
These are the hotels we personally recommend:
The Cosmopolitan: This is one of the newest additions to the Strip, and it hasn’t come quietly. Right next door to the Paris (ASW), not far from Hard Rock (interNEXT) and overflowing with luxury amenities, it’s ideal for anyone looking to enjoy the high life (and avoid long walks to hotspots/meetings). It’s also where Advidi is staying!
Wynn Las Vegas (Encore): Also nearby and recommended by those of us who have stayed there in the past, Wynn Las Vegas balances luxury with proximity to the action. It’s around the same price as the Cosmo, and just as worth it.
Aria: A popular choice for those who want the feeling of luxury but prefer the price to be toned down a bit. Also close to the events.
Hard Rock Hotel: This is where interNEXT is going down. It’s just off the Strip and nicely priced – making it a smart choice whether or not interNEXT is your primary destination.
If you plan on gaming a fair amount, look into getting your room comped. It’s quite common and you don’t have to lose as much as you think – there are some clever tricks for breaking even without missing out on a drop of adrenaline.
Note: There have been some alerts regarding scammers who are not affiliated with ASW using public information to try to sell hotel rooms and other services to attendees at inflated prices. Read ASW’s scam warning if an offer smells fishy.
Arriving from the airport
Shortly after arriving in Vegas and just after you’ve gotten over the smell (just kidding, there’s no smell – or is there?), you’ll need to get to your hotel. You have two choices:
You’ll find that we’re more focused on smart spending in this guide, because anyone routinely choosing baller options probably has their own agenda anyway. That said, there isn’t a huge price difference between a limo and a taxi coming from the airport, so if you’re traveling in a group, check out limo service options. Many include a return trip and even champagne. Why not arrive in style?
That said, no matter what you do… reserve your trip from the airport in advance. The lines for a taxi get insane.
Average January temperatures in Las Vegas range from 8-15 Celsius (45-60 Fahrenheit). There will be plenty of air conditioning, so while the weather won’t be very wintery, you should plan on wearing a few light layers.
Most important consideration for your luggage: comfortable walking shoes! You’ll walk a lot more than you expect. The city is built to keep you in its grasp for as long as possible.
Vegas has earned a lasting reputation for its never-ending neon. Don’t get lost in the lights!
Along with the basics, here are some easily forgotten/Vegas-specific items you should add to your list:
Earplugs (trust us on this one…)
Comfortable walking shoes
Phone charger + portable phone charger
Notepad & pens
One nice outfit – including dress shoes (many places require it)
Bathing suit (most hotels have pools)
Cash, if possible! ATMs on the Strip are expensive
You may also want to consider a safe place to keep your cash if you plan on gambling – fashion takes a backseat to protecting your winnings with this approach. Don’t worry, all the serious gamers wear fanny packs. That person giving you a funny look is just jelly.
Getting a visa
This depends on where you’re traveling from. Obviously, US citizens have no worries. For almost everyone else, there’s ESTA – the Visa Waiver Program that allows visitors from select countries to bypass typical visa procedures for travel purposes. You can see if your country is eligible and apply online.
3. MAXIMIZE YOUR EXPERIENCE
It would be a shame to come all the way to Vegas, invest a ton in tickets and hotel accommodations… just to end up with a hazy memory and nothing valuable to show for it. You can still have fun while getting full value from the conference! Just be sure you’re planning to do so – don’t wait until it’s too late to find out how unprepared you were.
Do your research
Before coming to the conference, you should know exactly what you want to get out of it. If you’re looking to network, do some research about who might be coming. Schedule meetings in advance. If you just want to learn, check out the full event schedule for both Affiliate Summit West and interNEXT to find speakers and booths that are relevant to your industry – don’t just wander aimlessly! Remember, this is an investment… but you have to treat it like one in order for it to pay off.
In addition, both conferences have gone the extra mile to help you organize your networking activities:
The interNEXT participant list includes the name of all attendees – cross-check it with your personal list and start reaching out ahead of time.
Getting around/budgeting time
This might be the most useful tip you get from this guide, especially if you’ve never been to Vegas: Las Vegas is amazing. Literally. It’s a maze.
Don’t be fooled by Google Maps. It will take you 2x-3x longer than it seems to get anywhere. Even short distances can be nightmarish if you’re running late. The city is built like this on purpose. One casino logically concludes where the next one begins. Shopping malls intersperse with celebrity restaurants and lead into more casinos and hotels you hadn’t even noticed on your map.
Walking: If you’re near the conference, walking is perfectly viable. Just heed our advice about scheduling a bit of extra time and plan your route beforehand. It’s fun to get lost, but it’s not fun to miss out on important events. Plan a bit of “getting lost” time soon after arriving to the city – it will help you feel more confident (and less curious) when it’s crunch time.
Use Uber or Lyft. Both options are available in Vegas and are way better and cheaper than taking taxis.
Renting a car: If you’re planning on doing sightseeing outside the city (or even making the drive over to Los Angeles or the Grand Canyon), you might want to consider a car rental. Average prices are around $30/day for basic options.
Public transport: For those staying a bit further out and planning to come into town once or twice a day, the public transport system has your answer. Figure out your options online before coming.
Limo service: As with arriving from the airport, getting around town isn’t that much more expensive than a taxi. Consider pooling together to add your own flash to the sparkling lights on the Strip. Luxury can be had for as low as $30/hour.
To help you get around, we’ve put together a Google Map of hotspots and hotels worth checking out:
When scheduling meetings, there’s really one main rule in Vegas:
Give a specific location and time!
Imagine: you’re already five minutes late to an important meeting you’ve been waiting the whole conference for. You still managed to underestimate how long it would take to get 200 meters in Vegas (even though you read this guide and were fully prepared), but it’s alright now, because you’ve made it…
…then you walk in…
…and you realize you’re screwed. There’s no way you’ll find your contact past the herd of elephants blocking the series of fifteen escalators leading to a twisting maze of flashing casinos, Eiffel towers, kiosks, bars, shops, shows, entrances, exits and other distractions from where your meeting might be taking place.
The lobbies of most hotels aremassive. Actually, pretty much everything is massive.
Hotel lobbies can also be as trippy as they are gigantic, as seen here in the Bellagio.
Here’s how to avoid missing a meeting:
Exchange contact details just in case
Look up the hotel/lobby/restaurant first
Name a specific location
Ideally, you should make a reservation somewhere. Allow a few extra minutes for your guest to get lost – they probably will.
Note that some restaurants double as clubs. And by double, we mean they blast loud music all over the place while a few tables to the side are reserved for eating. If you want a quiet setting for your business meeting, check ahead to see what the atmosphere will be like or consider a coffee shop.
Oh… and don’t schedule meetings before noon
It just won’t happen. Chances of both parties being fresh and ready to talk business are slim even if all are in attendance.
Avoiding jet lag and show-stopping hangovers
While it’s a myth that casinos pump rooms full of oxygen to keep you wired, it’s very true that the whole place is carefully designed to keep you happy, tipsy and spending money. That’s fine – you’re in Vegas, so you might as well enjoy yourself. Just find the balance point so you stay fresh and ready throughout the events:
Don’t peak too early
Many first-timers get excited and get wasted enough to last the rest of the conference on the first night. Fun the night of, terrible for days afterward. With the desert conditions and intensity of the action around you, it’s much smarter to play conservatively on the first night or two. Once you’re accustomed to the scene, you can start upping your game.
Keep your routine
The best way to battle jet lag and hangovers is to stay in your normal routine. That means:
Eat at normal times
Drink lots of water
Get at least a little bit of sleep on a regular basis
Visit the gym
Limit fast food (seriously! There’s lots of good food and you’ll be thankful)
Get lots of sunshine or take Vitamin D supplements (you’ll be indoors a lot)
Drink lots of water
Yes, that was on the last list, but it bears repeating. The conditions are arid, especially in the casinos. Bring lip balm and drink plenty of water to keep yourself fresh and running on a regular clock.
4. GETTING LOST IN VEGAS
Yes! Who are we kidding? You want more from your Vegas trip than just affiliate marketing. Part of making any investment is that you want it to benefit you – and while careful attention at the conferences will help you make more money, making money isn’t a benefit… it’s a means to an end. And Vegas is full of ends…
Here are some of the most unique and luxurious benefits to spend your hard-earned means on:
8 tips on gambling
Luxurious or locked in? In Vegas, both these feelings are normal.
If you’re coming to gamble, you probably already have a plan. If not, these are the 8 most useful tips we could find about gambling in Vegas:
You must be 21 to gamble or drink. This is non-negotiable and will land you and the casino in hot water if skirted. That said, what happens in Vegas is none of our business, so… you’ve been informed, and that’s as far as we’ll go.
Act like a local, unless you’re surrounded by them – then leave. Locals who gamble tend to do so because they’re good at it – or, at the least, better than you. If you sit with a group and the dealer is calling them all by name (and they’re all using the right lingo – like “gaming” instead of “gambling”), go lose your money somewhere else – where it isn’t a sure bet.
Gamblers get free booze. It’s a smart way to get tipsy before taking on the town. You don’t need to hit up the high-roller joints. Even penny slots will hook you up. Consider it an investment?
Know your game before going. At least if you want a chance at keeping your money. Many will come and take a few spins of a wheel somewhere, lose $50 and go home laughing it off. Others come with intention. If you want to succeed, pick a game (baccarat or blackjack are popular) and learn the ropes on the flight over. And even if you’re already an expert, the next tip still applies…
Don’t bet more than you can afford to lose. As a successful affiliate, this is probably already burned into your brain somewhere. But it bears repeating. Gambling is never an investment; unlike campaigns, you don’t get any insight from getting screwed on the river or a dealer blackjack. Side tip: if you’re down $50, the way to earn it back is not by risking another $50. Consider yourself a winner for not going down that rabbit hole.
Research your hotel if you plan on gaming where you stay. Some hotels don’t even have a casino, and though most do, not all are born equal. Check out comps, available games and more on their website before booking.
Get something for the money you’re losing. Every casino has a reward program of some sort. Don’t miss out on getting compensated for the money you’re spinning away. The more you lose, the better the booze!
The eighth tip is most important:
Have fun. At the end of the day, the happiest gamblers hit even and enjoy a great experience for free. As long as you set limits and come with the right mindset, you’ll walk away as one of the most unique types of people in the whole city: a winner.
Many myths come true in Las Vegas, and our personal favorite is the classic tease of “free beer tomorrow” – and guess what? In Vegas, that’s true… and it’s always tomorrow. For those of age, drinking for free at casinos before a night out is a very common activity. Plop down, pull out your pennies (or pink slips) and get plastered – then go out on the town.
Beyond that, there must be millions of places to wet your whistle nestled throughout Sin City. As you do, consider this advice:
Don’t forget that you can take your alcoholic beverage with you, allowing you wander from one bar/casino to the next without missing a sip.
Tip your bartender/server – especially if s/he is helping you booze it up for free. It’s common courtesy that will take you far.
Bottle service is common at many clubs. Expect wild prices – though running up this $189K tab at the Wynn must have taken some intention.
For a more classic experience, wander off the Strip to Downtown Las Vegas (aka “Old Vegas”) and check out Fremont Street. The area is seeing a revival; this TripAdvisor thread offers a solid discussion regarding the differences between the Strip and Old Vegas.
Clubs in Vegas take things to the next level, from intricate interiors to big-name DJs (Hakkasan).
When it comes to clubbing, Vegas is high up on the prestige list. However, your gender will determine your path of resistance when it comes to getting in. I know this will blow your mind, but women typically get in free while men usually pay entrance or are required to buy a bottle.
This list offers plenty more clubs to check out (many of which don’t require a cover).
Most places allow t-shirts and jeans, but always check online before you go. One thing you probably won’t get away with: those comfortable walking shoes we urged you to bring. Those are for the daytime; bust out your fancy dancin’ shoes if you go clubbing.
You’ve heard it before:
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
Some will take this to heart – if you’re among them, we’ve got some advice for you about how to find love (or something like it) in Vegas. Big thanks to our good friend Mr. Romance for his input!
In Vegas, there’s a very strong VIP vibe. Many come from around the world to feel like they’re part of something special – you’ll find a lot of high-class women and men at big-name DJ events and well-known VIP clubs if that’s your goal.
The city attracts all types; sure, it’s got plenty of models, but tourists come from all over. Be aware of this and know who you’re looking to meet. We all know models love bottles, but if that’s not your type, try hitting up some local spots or hotel lobbies, where all types come to mingle. The approach in this setting is different: skip the pickup lines and go with a more personal approach.
Tipping is a great way to gain attention. From Mr. Romance: One Romance trick is to tip your VIP host, Nightclub Manager or Security (at least $50 each) and ask them to please bring any groups of solo girls in the club to your table. Of course, you shouldn’t expect anything simply because you’re spending money, but add a little charm to your flash and you’re sure to get some attention.
Beyond the strip
Outside of the main drag, you’ll find lots of unique activities that go beyond the basics (drinking, gambling and getting lost). Some are worth a day trip, while others can be fit into an afternoon:
Want to test drive your next ride? How about in a high-speed exotic race with a group of friends? There’s no better acid test than the rush of adrenaline that comes with a photo finish to a 20-lap 200mph race.
SpeedVegas: One of the newest additions to the racing scene, this one is located close to the Strip and comes recommended by our readers. At 1.5 miles, it boasts the longest track in town.
Exotics Racing: From supercars and VIP experience packages to driving lessons and crazy ride-alongs, Exotics Racing seems to have figured out a way to overload each chassis with adrenaline.
Dream Racing: These guys claim to have the largest selection in the world, so if you’ve got your heart set on a particular make or model, give them a shot first.
Not exciting enough for you? Consider a dune buggy race through the desert. The Sun Buggy Mini Baja Chase Dune Buggy Adventure is impressive for more than just its ridiculously long name and terribly outdated website: it looks absolutely awesome.
First off, Nevada is an open carry state. That means it is legal to carry guns in public. Scary? Naw. Welcome to America! You probably won’t come across much open carrying, as those who receive a permit to do so tend to also be the type who know it’s not smart to wave around a gun. That said, don’t be shocked if you see a semi-automatic popping from granny’s purse as she pushes pennies into the slots.
If you want to get in on the action yourself, check out one of the many gun ranges Las Vegas has to offer. Check out Yelp reviews to see what people prefer, but note that pretty much all of them have the same selling point: you can shoot a badass machine gun here. Don’t worry… it’s 100% safe (as long as you don’t get shot).
Golf and gambling go hand in hand. For those of you looking to hit the links between roulette spins and drinks, check out this list of golf courses near the Strip. If you don’t want to commit a full day, there are a number of driving ranges that feature a great atmosphere for networking as well; from personal experience, we recommend Topgolf in the MGM Grand.
The Grand Canyon is the biggest hole in the world – though some bars in Old Vegas give it a run for its money.
The Grand Canyon is a short hop from Vegas, and if you haven’t experienced its stunning grandeur, a trip to ASW17/interNEXT may be your best chance.
There are a few ways to go about it, but we recommend flying high above the stunning lows in a helicopter or airplane ride over the Grand Canyon. Most trips leaving from Vegas are fly-overs, so for the donkey trip, you may want to set aside an extra day or two and stay near the canyon.
Did we save the best for last or what? Words aren’t good enough, but we’ll try: for a price, you can engage in your own mock airplane battle above a desert landscape. That involves you and your friend, in real airplanes, really shooting (fake bullets) at each other – complete with crash effects.
The cost to be the pilot starts at $800; if you’re afraid of the action but still want to see what’s going down, you can spectate from a nearby plane for $250.
Wear comfortable clothing. The weather will likely be sunny and around 10-15° C. This includes good walking shoes – but trade them for something fancier if you plan on visiting a club.
The Strip is deceptively big. Google Maps does no justice to the crowds and twisting turns you’ll have to overcome. Triple your walking estimates and plan ahead using our map.
Don’t peak too early. Plan your schedule and party accordingly.
Keep to your routine to avoid jet lag and mean hangovers. Eat at normal times, don’t skip the gym, get plenty of sunshine.
The lobbies of some hotels are city-sized. Share contact details before meeting and specify precise locations.
The city runs on gratuity (tips). Almost everyone will expect a bit of grease – sometimes it will earn you a bonus, but in any case, it’s polite and expected.
Triple-check your items before leaving the house. Avoid a long walk back to the hotel – don’t forget your phone, wallet, ID badge and cash.
You need to be 21 to gamble or drink alcohol. Consider that before scheduling a meeting in a casino or bar with someone underage.
Send us your input
As with our last guide, we want this to be as helpful as possible for affiliate marketers attending Affiliate Summit West and interNEXT in Las Vegas. If you have anything to add, please send us a message (we’re happy to link to you and share the credit)!
Advidi is a Dutch affiliate network based in Amsterdam. We believe in putting people before profits, which means we value every relationship we have with affiliates and advertisers alike. Our primary verticals are Dating, iGaming, Health & Beauty and Mainstream, while our focus is on helping affiliates find exclusive offers, optimize campaigns and deliver the best possible traffic to our trusted advertisers. Learn more about who we are.