Over the next month I’ll be attending my final 2 conference of the year: Blog World Expo and World Travel Mart. They are totally different audiences and I’m going to them for totally different reasons.
I’ve attended a lot more conferences than normal this year. This was on purpose. I come to the travel industry as an outsider. Not just an outsider, but an outsider who hasn’t gone through any of the traditional gatekeepers which let people in or out.
One of the things I’ve learned this year is what conferences to attend and what I shouldn’t attend. I attended the New York Times and LA Times Travel Expos this year, but I probably wont be going back in 2012. I got a lot of value from the Canadian Media Marketplace and my assistant Amy will be attending VMEX this year for me. Events which are targeted directly towards journalists are FAR more productive than the consumer oriented ones like the NYT Travel Show.
I have the following conferences at least tentatively listed for 2012:
- International Pow Wow
- Canadian Media Market
- PRSA Travel
- Blog World
- World Travel Market
- Adventure Travel Summit
I’m almost certainly not going to attend all of these. I’d be amazed if I attend even half of them. Having an assistant you can trust to represent you makes a huge difference. I’ll give priority to conferences where I’ll be speaking.
I will probably not be attending SXSW again. I was there this year and I really didn’t see the point in it. I didn’t accomplish anything in terms of business. I suppose if you want to ass kiss social media gurus or technology bloggers it can be fun, but other than that I don’t see what I’d do again. I’d need some specific reason to go this year. If you actually register for the actual conference (which I didn’t do) it is incredibly expensive.
One thing I’ve never understood is people who go to conference and then bitch about not learning anything. I don’t go to conference to learn. Anything you need to learn you are going to learn online before you ever go to a conference. You go to conferences to meet people.
In getting ready for both Blog World and WTM I’m spending some time looking at the list of speakers and exhibitors. Before the conference, I’m going to have a plan for who I want to meet and what I want to achieve. If you don’t do that, I really think you are just wasting time and money in attending a conference.