The GHC Venue this year is the same as last year, so you can definitely get some insider info on this one! The brunt of the conference will be at the George R. Brown Convention Center along with a few events at the Toyota Center. So, what should you know before you get there?
Getting to the George R. Brown Convention Center
- Conference Shuttles: There will be shuttles to and from the George R. Brown Convention Center and the Toyota Center from most of the main hotels. The route map should be available soon, so keep checking here for that to appear! If you plan on using the shuttle service, be sure to plan this around the talks you want to see. You might end up hitting traffic or taking longer to pick up and drop off other attendees.
- Taxis/Ubers: If you have WiFi or a data plan, you can opt for an Uber. Or you can hail a cab the old-fashioned way. If you're splitting with other attendees, even better. This is a speedier way to get where you need to go, just keep cost in mind.
One thing to note if you're getting to the convention center from the an airport, remember that there are two airports closeby--the William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) and the George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH). So if you're coordinating rides from "the airport", make sure it's from the same one =) If none of this really fits the bill for you, take a gander on the GHC transportation page to get some more ideas of how to get around.
The Actual Convention Center
To say that this venue is big is a huge (haha) understatement. It's monumental. Be prepared for a lot of lineups and a lot of map checking. There are several things you can do to navigate the convention center a little easier:
- Download the conference app and make use of its ability to create your own itinerary, it will have all the locations in there for you, and hopefully a handy-dandy map!
- There will also be maps sprinkled around the building(s) and in your conference book.
- Docents and Hoppers walking around can also help you navigate. They're there to help you, so don't be afraid to ask!
So that takes care of actually getting around. But here's some other things you should keep in mind:
- There will be lines to get into certain talks, panels, and presentations. Keep in mind how far your next talk is. If it's a talk you really want to see, you may need to leave your current one a few minutes early in order to go line up. If the room fills up, it's full. They're not going to risk a fire hazard because you were late.
- Add extra time to whatever your estimate is to navigate around. The sheer amount of people that are milling around will slow you down. Make sure to account for these traffic jams in your planning.
- The sheer number of people attending mean that you're not always guaranteed a good seat. For example, just the plenary talks and keynotes are meant to have everyone attend, so don't fret if you're really far back. There are still screens to help out. But if you want a good seat, be prepared to get there early.
- The air conditioning is very strong. If you get cold easily, like I do, be sure to bring some layers with you.
- There are not enough outlets. There are never enough outlets. It doesn't matter what room, talk, or hallway you're in. Be sure to charge everything beforehand and bring any other charging apparatus you will need (wall chargers, extra cables, power bars, power banks, etc.). Side note, sharing a wall outlet is a great way to meet new people at the conference =)
- Be patient with the WiFi. 15,000+ women using it all at once is bound to stress things!
Leaving the Convention Center
If you're flying out soon and still want to catch some talks, but have already checked out of your hotel, never fear! Make one last use of conference shuttles and shove all luggage into the coat check =) You are free to roam a few more hours before catching your plane! The center is a great place to get picked up, either by an Uber or a taxi, whichever you prefer.
Hope this helps and that you all have a great time!