Every fall most of us attend one or more of our industry conferences and I am no exception. I just returned from our consortia’s conference, which was held in Florida this year. Putting a national conference together is no easy feat, as organizers are challenged to accommodate business updates, training, networking, keynote speakers and fun all in a short amount of time. So I always try to be understanding and put my best foot forward. Although, a couple of days ago I felt that if I talked shop to one more person I was always going to spontaneously combust!
Today I feel better–almost like an updated, fine tuned travel Ferrari! I returned with some new contacts, a few new acquaintances, and a new friend. After sitting through 20 15-minute supplier presentations one day and 25 the next day, the new friend definitely came in handy. Information overload is probably one of things we all felt the first two days, but then it changes. I looked around and noticed I was in rooms filled with people who actually make a difference every day. I felt the travel buzz. Usually I sit in my office with my email, travel magazines, voicemails, travel pictures, etc. At the conference I was filled with rooms of people that MAKE travel happen–pretty cool experience when you think about it.
I started noticing that all the presenters and consultants had the same message in the end –we make trips and travel special to many people every day. We are part of big moments, or life changing experiences by doing what we do. The keynote speakers drove this notion home in particular. I sat back and thought that we really do make a big difference in the world. We fill up planes, hotel rooms, theme parks, and attractions. Places seem less remote, families unite, couples reconnect, and kids learn.
So as I sit here reflecting, I am grateful for this industry and want to give a big round of applause to all of us. Bravo!
Mary Jo Salas is a 3-year veteran of the industry working for Alamo Travel Group. Alamo is a full service agency with government, business and leisure travel divisions based in San Antonio, Texas. Mary Jo specializes in honeymoons, family vacations, and couples’ getaways.