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The Routledge VMworld survival guide: 10 tips for braving Barcelona

Posted on Monday, October 12, 2015
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By Sam Routledge
Chief Technology Officer

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We’re excited to be heading off to VMworld next week and are looking forward to seeing many of our customers and partners.  This will be the third successive year VMworld has been hosted in Barcelona, which is fast emerging as the vendor conference capital of EMEA!

VMware is pretty good at the pre-event communication, so the logistical stuff for during the day is on the whole self-explanatory.  It’s a full-on conference however, and as a seasoned ‘VMworlder’, there’s some things I’ve learned that will help anyone heading there for the first time get the most out of it and make it a much more enjoyable experience.  I’ve therefore distilled this wisdom into ten tips for surviving VMworld.


1. Keep in touch

From experience keeping tabs on colleagues and plans for activities outside of the conference can be a challenge, especially if you’re spread out between hotels.  We’ve set up a WhatsApp group ([email protected]) for this year to help with this.  Feel free to join – we’ll be using it to communicate meeting times, evening plans and other conference nuggets.

 It’s also worth downloading the VMworld app and logging in before you go – it will keep a track of all of your sessions.  If you’re yet to do it, you can find it here.


2. Taxi rides

The ride from the airport to the Fira (where the conference is hosted) is typically 20 - 25 Euro’s, so make sure you’ve got some cash.  For expense purposes most of the taxis have printable receipt machines, so you won’t have to worry about dealing with hand-written receipts and figuring out your Spanish back home!  Generally, taxis aren’t too hard to find around the hotels, just grab concierge if you’re not sure where to go.


3. Stay sharp

Barcelona is renowned for pickpockets, muggings and other nasties. It’s much better these days but have your wits about you, be careful with wallets, passports, mobile phones etc, and put your conference pass in your pocket when walking around outside of the conference centre.  Have fun when out and about, but watch how much you drink as I’ve heard some drunken horror stories.


4. Don’t forget your pass

You will need your conference pass for all evening events typically – even those outside of the conference centre, like those hosted by other vendors.


5. Dress sensibly

Wear reasonably comfortable clothes – suits aren’t necessary. You will be doing a huge amount of walking as the Fira is BIG.

6. Get your timings right

Speaking of which, make sure you leave enough time to get to meetings and sessions you’re booked in for – it can take 15 minutes or more to get from the plenary sessions to some of the other meeting zones.


7. Food

It can be a bit of a mission.  You’ll eat when you can and probably on the hoof! Most of the hotels do a good breakfast, which should be included in your room rate. Make the most of this. There is a lunch-hall serving hot food, and there are sandwich/snack stations all around the FIRA. There’s also fridges with a variety of soft drinks including water, which is helpful as despite being October it can still get hot in Barcelona and it’s easy to dehydrate in a warm climate, a long time in air conditioned rooms, and lots of walking. I’ve not needed to buy meals after the arrival night in the past as between the various evening events there is usually enough – it’s mainly stand up buffet food however. For the return to the airport, there’s usually a ‘grab and go’ lunch to take with you or eat before you leave.


8. Getting to the venue

Taxi drivers have got better at knowing where it is, but it is worth having the address on you.  Make sure in particular that you go to the north entrance ‘Access Nord’ as it is a LONG way from the south entrance.  For clarity its:

Fira Barcelona Gran Via

North Entrance - Hall 8

Carrer del Foc, 30

08038 Barcelona


9. Don’t miss the keynotes

Make sure you make the keynotes – that’s the main bit and always the most useful. Especially Joe Baguley if he puts in an appearance – nice to have a Brit (from Marlow!) on stage.


10. Have fun!

There’s a lot going on at VMworld but the most valuable advice I can impart is to enjoy the experience. Barcelona is a great city, VMware are a brilliant vendor and most importantly, there’s an unparalleled opportunity to network and discuss your opinions, requirements and plans with likeminded peers.

So, I hope that helps.  Enjoy your trip and we hope to see you in Barcelona.

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