As most regular readers know, I’ve been a big fan of CES for a long time. In fact, that hasn’t changed. CES is still an extraordinary show and has gotten better for me each of the 11 years I’ve lived in Las Vegas. CES is just one of hundreds of great conferences that come to Las Vegas. It’s an extraordinary benefit to startup companies in Las Vegas. Registration for CES 2017 is now open if you want to get registered.
While in the past I’ve always posted when CES opens its free registration, that changed last year when CES decided to start charging attendees $100 to attend the event. Past attendees were given a code to register for free, but the days of free CES registration were ending.
For CES 2017, it seems that even CES alumni will be charged $100 to attend the conference if they register by December 20th. If you register for CES 2017 after December 20th, then it will cost you $300 to attend. Of course, members of the media can still register for CES 2017 for free.
At the end of the day, $100 is not a big deal and if it is a big deal to you then you probably shouldn’t attend CES. For most attendees, it’s more of an annoyance than it will be a barrier for them to attend. Considering how packed CES has become, it makes sense that CES uses this minor charge to limit attendance by those that were just partially connected to the industry (it is a closed industry event that’s only open to members of the industry after all).
For those that don’t like the $100 charge, I’m pretty sure CES doesn’t care. CES 2016’s audited attendance stats was 177,393 people (53,808 international) attending the conference. The Twitter hashtag alone had over 16.1 billion impressions just during the show. Yeah, the show could charge way more than $100 and would still not dent attendance. So, I guess we should be glad that they’re only charging $100. We’ll watch how that evolves over time.
As we usually suggest to Las Vegas startup companies, you’re likely to get $100 value out of attending CES. If you’re not sure you can get that value, then don’t go. There are plenty of events that happen during CES or connections you can make with people who come to CES that doesn’t require a registration. No doubt people in your network that you’d like to meet are going to be at CES 2017. Reach out to them and schedule a time to meet. You can still benefit from 178,000 people coming to Las Vegas.