Whether you’re new to EXPO or the industry, or a seasoned veteran of both, it’s still important to make the absolute best impression at the ED Gentlemen’s Club Expo next week. As the largest gathering of strip club industry professionals, you have the opportunity to network (and party!) with some of the most influential people in the biz, but that also means that there are a lot of opportunities to blow it.
The seminars at Expo are a valuable experience with a wide variety of experts in every field related to the strip club industry – some of the topics included this year are urban clubs, club security, elections and their effect on the industry, and, of course, DJ seminars! Each panel or speaker typically has their own format, but most take questions at the end.
Bring a notepad. Not only will you learn things during the initial presentation, but jotting down questions that you have to save for the end is the best way to make the most of the opportunity, and once the questions begin the discussion tends to snowball. One of the most interesting aspects of EXPO is the vast differences that can be found in techniques, traditions, and preferences across the country. Bringing a taste of an outside market to your club can raise the customer’s experience to completely different level.
Additionally, there are a lot of other gatherings throughout the run of the convention. There is an ACE (Association of Club Executives) meeting on Sunday, followed by a COAST (Club Operators Against Sex Trafficking) seminar.
The PANDA Member Meeting is slated for Monday afternoon at 2:30 pm.
Be sure to check that anything gathering is open to the public (the PANDA meeting is!) and if they have any special rules for people attending.
On the tradeshow floor, things can get a little crazy. There are vendors, feature entertainers, Hugh Hefner, PANDA… so many booths to visit and people to talk to! Last year, the EXPO Badges also doubled as a quick way to transfer information, with a QR code on the back. Downloading a QR reader app such as Redlight beforehand is great preparation, as is bringing business cards if you have them.
PANDA is going to have a special game this year to play during the whole Expo, but specifically focused on getting people chatting and interacting on the convention room floor (stop by the PANDA party or the booth first thing on Monday if you’re looking to play!). However, one thing to ALWAYS keep in mind is that chaos or no, the normal rules still apply!
Many of the feature entertainers are working on networking for bookings for the year. Vendors are making contacts that will hopefully lead to sales for the rest of the year. As fun as it is, everyone is working, and an interrupted conversation can mean loss of income. Be respectful of people’s time and try to wait for opportune times to chat with others.
At the parties… well, it’s a whole different animal. We know everyone is trying to have good time, however, with alcohol involved we are not all on our best behavior. First and foremost, we have a large number of people in recovery throughout the industry – which has led to fantastic resources such as Rock & Rehab. Many of these people have been working towards this for years, but you never know who is just beginning the path towards sobriety and recovery, so asking, “Do you drink?” is a great idea.
If someone says no, respect that and do not push them.
In fact, drink responsibly yourself. Download Uber and Lyft now, write your room number on your hand, set multiple alarms on your phone for every morning, and for every two shots you consider doing, give one to a true professional like Lacey Rain.
The strip clubs on Bourbon street would be the one area where you would think everyone would know how to behave. You would be wrong. Last year on the pub crawl Babe’s NOLA was generous enough to give out free drink tickets to Expo attendees as they entered the club. Their club is divided into levels which gives them a fantastic opportunity to offer different experiences to guests in each area of the club. The top level seemed to be ideal for bachelor parties or other parties, with a smaller stage and a separate sound system. The bar is meant to accommodate a decent sized crowd, but with hundreds of people pouring into each club the bartenders were absolutely in the weeds.
As I stood back waiting for my drinks, I witnessed a man getting four or five drinks, all with free tickets, not give the bartender a single dollar as a tip.
Not. A. Single. Dollar.
He wasn’t alone. Not by a long stretch. I was so incredibly embarrassed for our industry. Whether or not you directly interact with customers, we all know that the business runs on tips. If you bring civilians with you, make sure that they understand that the employees are still there working and absolutely deserve our (monetary) appreciation for going above and beyond to serve their industry brethren.
Treat the dancers at any club you visit as you would like the dancers at your home club to be treated… as long as that means that you would like for them to make money!
New Orleans’ clubs, specifically, have a lot of the same issues that most tourist cities do. This article by Melody Thick for the Thrillist details some of them. “The frequency of voyeurs in the clubs on Bourbon are exponentially higher,” Thick says, detailing something that every club experiences and that most of us participate in. Working in a club dulls the urge to get a dance or tip all but incredibly talented dancers in most of us. However, when a group of industry professionals walk into a club and take space and seats from potential spending customers, it’s important that we compensate employees.
The ED Publications Gentlemen’s Club EXPO is a fantastic experience for anyone within the strip club industry. Not only does it provide the opportunity to learn from some of the most knowledgeable people in the business, it’s designed for everyone to have a great time at a whole lot of parties. To plan ahead, check out the schedules posted below and keep an eye on social media for any additional events!