Recently, I was selected to attend the trade show and conference for Signature Travel Network as part of the contingent from Morris Murdock. I have to admit, I went into it with mixed feelings. I have attended many trade shows before and always questioned if they were a good use of time and effort.
This time around it was worth it on both counts.
The Signature Travel Network conference was held from November 18-20 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. It included the customary ‘fill your bags until your arms ache and stock up the office for the next year with pens’ trade show. I was able to meet with vendors in 4 minute roundtable bursts –sort of speed dating for agents and suppliers. There was even some cooking (with a little off-color humor) from Ann Burell of the Food Network, and more. All of this is pretty standard fare in the land of trade shows.
But the information classes were another story and I walked away with so many great ideas. The most useful (to me) classes were on ClientBase and the Signature intranet site. I also enjoyed the technology classes where we could see all of the new devices in action and how they apply to our jobs. And most importantly, I discovered lots of tips on the best methods to stay in better contact with clients. The program rounded out with a lot of very detailed destination specific information.
But what an energy boost! It was great to bring back all I learned and to be able to share with my new co-workers.
If there was one negative to the entire event (other then the fact I didn’t win any the nice big prizes) was the sheer size of the MGM Grand. It was almost ½ mile from the room to the conference center. With at least four or five walks to my room each day, it surely helped to work off some of the food and snacks they were feeding us. The other downer was that I couldn’t seem to win at any table game or slot machine in Vegas—but I reasoned with myself that I was doing my part to support the local economy.
So next time you have the opportunity to attend one of these events (or are ‘volunteered” to go) give it some serious thought. Beyond the PowerPoint presentations, brochure gathering and buffet breakfasts you might actually learn a thing or two that can help you serve you clients better.
Graig Wilkins (odd spelling and all) is now a travel consultant for Morris Murdock Travel in Utah. He still specializes in Disney destinations worldwide. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org