The Conference Games!

I love Travel Conferences! They are a great place to meet old friends, make new connections and pick up the latest trends on what’s happening in the profession. Having attended, spoken and met so many exciting new people in various conferences over the years, I thought it might be a good idea to put down a tongue in cheek account of how they work.

Travel conferences can be like ‘The Hunger Games’. Rotten Tomatoes summarises the movie as ‘thrilling and superbly acted’. Or they could be like ‘The Hungover Games’. According to Influx Magazine it a ‘Great idea let down by not so great writing’ What ever the case may be there are various characters trying to play their part. Who are they?

The Heroes: (Large Travel Brands). You can spot them as they generally have a ‘speaker’ badge on their necks and a swagger in their gait. The big boys on stage attend for free. They know, that the organisers know, that Big Brands sell tickets to the event. They could be Super Heroes- the ones that make the key notes or just about Heroes- the folks who sit on panels and make presentations, but all of them are the lead actors nonetheless.

The Professors: (Google, Phocuswright Research and the like). Adding real value to the event by showcasing the latest trends they ensure that you get your money’s worth even if you pick and implement a couple of points in your business. There could be an information overload so It is always a good idea to go over their presentations once again when they get published online.

The Dream Merchants: The money bags who grease the wheels of the various events-sponsoring our happiness by providing tea breaks and cocktail evenings. They pay a pretty packet for small booths, always on the look out for their next lead or networking with old customers. They follow the audience who follow the heroes. God Bless them for without their generosity, these would be 2 long days and 2 dry evenings!

The Sponges: Very interested in absorbing every word spoken and getting value out of every cent spent. A big encouragement for the speakers, they are usually found on the first few rows. Always eager to ask questions and the only ones who voluntarily are in the room for the post lunch session by when quite a few in the audience have absconded-especially on day two. Starry eyed students and journalists come in this category too. They make the event engaging and interactive.

Networkers: Never to be found in conference rooms but always around for drinks and tea breaks. They have a clear agenda and full marks for that. Quick with an introduction, they believe who you know is as important as what you know.

And finally ‘The Director’– The one who can make the difference between making the event ‘The Hunger Games’ or ‘The Hungover Games’. Some deeply passionate and committed like Siew Hoon of WIT and some others more interested in smoothly churning the Heroes-Audience-Dream Merchants ecosystem because as long as these three groups play their part, the cash registers keep ringing and we would keep coming!

Till we meet again…