Rethinking Conferences

I’ve just completed a week at World Travel Market in London. This was my second year attending and I’m not sure if I’ll be coming back for a third time.

It actually had nothing to do with the quality of the conference. I enjoyed myself and had fun meeting other bloggers who I seldom get to see. The problem is that it was a week taken out of my life and I’m not sure I got a week’s worth of value from it.

World Travel Market is a big event. Technically, it isn’t really a conference so much as it is a trade show. No one is there to meet with bloggers and the vast majority of the journalists who are there are there to cover the show and the announcements which are being made. Because the show isn’t oriented towards people like me, finding the right people to meet with is like searching for a pistachio nut in a big full of shells. If they created some sort of tool to get interested people in touch with each other, it might make the show more worth while.

That being said, I did have several productive meetings, but they all could have been done in the space of a single day.

It brings up the larger question of just how many and which conferences I should attend in a given year. In 2012 so far I’ve I’ve been to events on 5 continents. I was a speaker at all but one.

The novelty of speaking at conferences has worn off for me. I don’t want to be the face of travel blogging to the travel industry. There are only so many places I can visit in a year and we’ve already created a sizable database of PR/marketing people for destinations around the world.

The opportunity cost of not creating content is getting larger and larger for me as my audience gets bigger and bigger.

Several conferences which I have been very pleased at attending in the past (Canadian Media Marketplace for example) I still might not attend going forward just because there isn’t much left for me to do there.

Here is what I’m thinking will be the events I’ll be attending in 2013. This is of course subject to change.

I’m sure a few other opportunities will come up, but unless it is something special I’m not sure I’d accept an invitation.

This is all part of a larger movement on my part to cut away everything which doesn’t matter and doesn’t advance the cause.

Myself and many, many other have gotten sidetracked wasting time worrying about the community and the industry. Those things are not going to get you anywhere. In the end it is audience, audience and audience. Anything which distracts you from that is counterproductive.

By Gary

3 dimples. 7 continents. 130 countries.