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Trade Show Season part II: And so it begins.

Thanks to Jet Blue and their month long travel anywhere passes, we are going to have a busy fall season. We have confirmed 31 trade shows for the month of September and aren’t quite finished with the calendar.
The following is a list of what is confirmed and will be updated as we get our schedule worked out:

Oil & Sand TS
Philly Gourmet Show
Action Expo
Healthcare Facilities
CHI 2010
Hd Boutique
World Dairy
Surf Expo
Florida Food & Beverage Show
The Trade show
F & I Conf
Photoshop world
ACEP 2010
NAB Radio
HSMAI Affordable Meetings

Houston: National Business Travel Association (NBTA)

NBTA? It’s the National Business Travel Association. Topics discussed ranged from fast-tracking passports to airport security systems, hotel chain merits and demerits, corporate credit cards, Hubs We Love To Hate, and Icelandic volcanoes (delays caused by). Exhibitors were touting hospitality, transport, credit, rental cars, travel audits, in-flight entertainment, even meetings in the air. There was even comfort and advice for those burdened with guilt over their lengthening carbon footprint.

Ok that was the business synopses. Want to know the real reason we go to NBTA every year besides the big bucks they pay us for our state-of-the-industry seminars? It’s the hospitality. This year companies like Continental brought in the center section of their newest Boeing Dreamliner. And Dreamy it was.

There are hospitality areas and suites that rival Vegas casinos. Actually CyberShift had roulette and blackjack dealers flown in from Vegas to work the booth and you could win all kinds of prizes. I didn’t.

And the booze flowed on. From Martini fountains to chocolate martini fountains to the walk though the door and be handed a mimosa moment, there was toasting constantly. For an industry that is just 1 brick shy of a bailout, the booze bill alone could have eliminated those pesky baggage charges.

Some booths were really creative. Sabre (the computerized version of the AAL booking system) had large lounge areas with iPads for people to sit and get their game on. SkyTeam, the company that brings you around the world in Business class for a mere 11K per person with 18 cities in your circumnavigation among other interesting itineraries, had a trio of options with an oxygen, expresso and a wine bar with plenty of comfort seating. And finally our hosts, TRX , had a retro gaming area with a giant working joy stick (see picture), large versions of Pac-Man, Mario & that annoying pick up game that we put a lifetime of $$’s into for a 2.00 stuffed plushy.

One of the residual effects of going to this show is that every time I get on a flight and have to pay that pesky $25.00 for my bag, I can’t help think of how much of that goes to recoup that Bloody Mary I had on aisle 200.