So Many Conferences… So Little Time…
Updated: Oct 18, 2019
The spring conference and convention season is well and truly under way. Not that there are “slow” seasons when it comes to travel industry conferences any more. But there are some months where there is a distinct briskness to the activities so that you can barely breathe between travels. From the beginning of March to the end of June, it’s a buzz of non-stop travel and overlapping interests. Decisions can be hard, especially when you have to opt out of attending a great conference in order to attend a potentially better or more important one.
With so many to choose from, the question is – which to attend? All can be valuable, but you can’t attend them all. Sometimes I wish I could make a living out of just attending conferences… but alas, we have to choose. So how do we go about it…
At HeR, we try to employ certain criteria to determine which will be the most valuable for our goals. We chart them and weigh each to make that final determination. The main things we look at are:
Business Development Everyone’s primary goal, of course, needs to be the revenue potential of the contacts made at a conference. If you’re a hotelier or a technology or solution company, that means how many concrete sales prospects or opportunities are you going to bring back?
Learning Potential As a consulting group, it is essential that we keep abreast of the latest and greatest happening in our industry. this means not only learning about new trends and issues affecting our industry, but also learning about new vendors and technologies that offer solutions to the challenges our clients face.
Networking Opportunites It is vital to meet people you already know and learn what they’re up to as well as to get to know new contacts. Sometimes we find great synergies and new network partners in people who have expertise in an area where we don’t and vice/versa. Getting to know people whom you can call on for future support is an important goal.
Scheduling Sometimes you simply have to choose between conferences because they overlap with each other or with other commitments. It is not possible to be in 2 places at once. Sometimes, if the other criteria are very compelling, we can divide and conquer, but that’s not always the case. You sometimes simply have to make a decision for attending one over another event and hope the choice you made is the right one.
Budget Let’s face it, we don’t have a bottomless purse. It is essential to identify which conferences you can afford to attend. Some are cost prohibitive due either to the cost of attendance fees or travel expenses or both. For some conferences, you may elect to be a “lobby lizard” to meet people and hold (unsanctioned) meetings outside of the official conference venue. But beware, some conference organizers strictly prohibit and enforce against that activity.
Sometimes we have the pleasure of being asked to contribute to the conference goals, which offers an opportunity to both showcase our skills to the audience as well as learn from them. A win-win situation to be sure.
Most recently, our very own Data Security guru Marion Roger was asked to present at the HTNG conference. Not only did she hit it out of the park with her presentation on the latest trends in data privacy, but she learned what others are doing in the privacy and distribution space. This week she’s at Hospitality Upgrade’s Executive Vendor Summit where she’s meeting up with key executives in the industry to keep abreast of the newest technology solutions for our clients.
Next week, I am thrilled to be attending FIU’s Annual Revenue Management Conference in Miami. I’m looking forward to a lively discussion about trends and disruptors while meeting colleagues from hotel companies, revenue and channel management technologies, e-commerce technologies and OTAs. As if that weren’t fun enough, I get to host a panel discussion about distribution related topics and the role of distribution in the revenue management discipline. If you’re not registered to attend yet, what are you waiting for?
Later this spring we’re attending, hosting and/or participating in conferences including IAPP (Data Security), ATD (Corporate Training), HITEC (HFTP’s Hospitality Technology conference), PMP Bootcamp, International Hotel Technology Forum, and several of our own Data Security Bootcamps. Sadly we had to forego ITB and HEDNA Europe conferences due to scheduling conflicts and client commitments.
We’ll get a short summer lull during August, but then things pick right up again in the fall… I hope we see some of you at one or more of these events this year!
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