Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference 2016 begins this Sunday, and we’re lucky enough to be heading to Toronto for the event. If you’re one of the 15,000 attendees who’ll be there too, we thought it best to offer the top ten ‘T’s’ of Toronto to get you fully ready for WPC 2016. From travel visas, tux rentals and Top 50 reports, this quick checklist will grant you access and get you prepared for all the best bits of Microsoft’s biggest Partner event of the year.
#1. Travel visa
Before you can even get to WPC 2016, you need to make sure that you can get into Canada! You need to apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), which requires your passport (which we should need no input on ensuring you have!) The application process takes about 10 minutes, there’s a $7 charge and it’s roughly a 48-hour wait for it to become finalised. The Visa will be added onto your passport ahead of your trip, so once it’s done, it’s done!
#2. Transfer and taxis
And once you touch down in Toronto, make sure that you plan ahead past the airport! Microsoft have teamed up with UP Express to provide WPC 2016 guests with complementary transport from Pearson International Airport to Union Station in Downtown Toronto. Simply download this letter, take it with you, and show it when travelling. There will also be shuttles running between a number of hotels helpfully outlined in this PDF.
#3. Time zone difference
If, like us, you may have clients and projects to work on during the week, you want to ensure that you’re on the right time zone, should you need to make contact with anyone back at home. We’ve found this handy world clock (Toronto is on the right hand side of the list), and for anyone in the UK, Toronto are 5 hours behind us (EDT).
#4. Telephone chargers and laptops
An obvious point, but worth pointing out – don’t forget your chargers for phones, laptops, tablets, desktops, and even a charger for your chargers! If you’re live tweeting the event (follow us on Twitter as we’ll be covering the whole thing) you’ll want plenty of phone battery – don’t forget to use the hashtag #WPC16. Portable phone chargers are currently all the rage, and should you forget your own, we’ve got a backup plan for iPhone, Android, and Windows phone.
#5. Tux rental
This year, the Microsoft UK Partner party has the license to thrill, with its own James Bond theme, and it’s going to be Golden(Eye!). Guests are required to dress to impress – a black tie event for your best tuxes and evening gowns. Now, it’s all fun and games when you’re throwing out James Bond puns and having the generational debate on who was the best ‘Bond’, until you realise that in fact, this time it’s better to be overdressed than under (A quick tip for the gents, for those of you in the UK, we’re hiring our tuxedos from Moss Bros.)
Whilst on the topic of clothing and dress code, Microsoft recommend during the day, don’t wear uncomfortable shoes (perhaps a pair of flats in your bag if you’re braving high heels), as you’ll be up and about all day! They also highlight that despite the weather forecast to be 33 degrees outside (we would have added sun-cream to our checklist if it began with a T), the air-con will be cranked up; so when choosing your outfits, consider clothing you can wear into the evening.
#6. Tequila (and other WPC 2016 parties)
There are a number of parties and events organised for WPC over the course of the five days, with plenty of opportunities for networking and celebrating. We’ll be heading over to the Welcome Reception on Sunday, followed by the UK Partner party and the Microsoft Partner Celebration (featuring the incredible Gwen Stefani – we’ve found you a playlist to bring you up to scratch). Just a reminder to not forget your WPC passes to avoid any charges!
Technology, of course, will play a starring role at WPC’16. Make sure you visit the Microsoft Technology Centre to see the latest and greatest in the Microsoft tech world. Check out the session types, get signed up for the keynote sessions, breakout presentations, panel discussions, workshops and all the rest with the industry experts.
At WPC, there are also a number of special offers for attendees including discount on Surface devices, Lumia phones, and XBOX consoles.
#8. Talks and keynotes
There will be so many exciting keynotes so get yourself organized. Microsoft have also provided a WPC 2016 agenda, so you can plan ahead and make the most of the experience. Microsoft have provided us with an incredible line up of Vision speakers including Satya Nadella, Kevin Turner, Gavriella Schuster and so many more! And if you can’t make WPC this year, don’t worry; the Vision Keynotes will be posted 24 hours after the speakers. There will also be a number of general sessions, and breakout sessions for you to join.
#9. Tourist destinations
Depending how long you’re in Toronto for, you may have the chance to see the sights. With plenty of boat trips, museums, festivals and a trip to Niagara Falls – which is just 2 hours away on the bus from Toronto – there is plenty to do, see, eat and drink!
#10. Top 50
And last but certainly not least, don’t forget to download our Microsoft Top 50 Inbound Marketing Excellence report. Our second edition of the report has seen us rank 250 MS Partners on their Inbound Marketing efforts, with its official release at WPC 2016. With forewords from David Meerman Scott, and interviews from LiveTiles and Nintex, the report provides core inbound marketing insights alongside expert advice for Microsoft Partners looking to give their marketing a real boost. Come along to our stand #1718 (you’ll spot us in the green t-shirts) to see where your company ranks and to gain help and advice on your content marketing strategy.