Las Vegas: FTE

September 6-9, 2013. FTE?  It stands for Future Travel Experience, and it’s a global affair.  This independent global forum for the travel industry focused on the end-to-end travel process from the passenger point of view – from the moment of booking through to the collection of baggage at the arrival destination – and assessed how every aspect of the passenger experience on the ground can be improved. Hosted by McCarran International Airport, one of the most progressive airport authorities in the world, the event delivered a learning and networking platform through workshops, conferences, airport tours, social events, an awards ceremony and a full exhibition program.  Said program was neatly divided into an “On The Ground” section (focused on the latest passenger-facing tech) and an “Up In The Air” section (looking in detail at The Passenger Experience).  Watch out, apparently there’s a new beast up there called the “Me-Centric Passenger”….

San Diego: GBTA

August 4-6, 2013. GBTA is the Global Business Travel Association, and it’s the world’s premier business travel and meetings organization. The Association wields serious spending power: GBTA’s 5,000-plus members manage over $340 billion (yes billion) of global business travel and meetings expenditures annually. GBTA serves a network of 21,000 business and government travel and meetings managers, as well as the travel service providers who serve them. Breakout sessions were an education, from contract negotiation and financial modeling to safety and sustainability. Other topics discussed ranged from the, well, global — Fundamentals of Business Travel Management — to the particular, for instance a session on Preparing Female Travelers for Safe Trips.  Speaking of females… females were speaking:  the big names included former first ladies Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton, not to mention the acclaimed singer-songwriter Jewel.  When business travel is concerned, you’d be amazed who can turn up in the seat next to you…

Honolulu: Hawaii Lodging and Foodservice Expo

July 9-10, 2013. It’s full name is the Hawaii Lodging, Hospitality and Foodservice Expo.  It claims to be the largest trade exposition in the State of Hawaii, and the only event there providing access for industry buyers to a comprehensive range of products and services for the State’s most important economic sectors.  A full program of industry seminars was offered, and  the primary objective of the Expo was to bring industry professionals together with corresponding industry vendors to create an effective and efficient marketplace on the exhibition hall floor.  Strategically located in the mid-Pacific between Asia and the continental United States, the Hawaiian Islands are visited annually by nearly 7 million tourists from all over the world. Valued at $10 billion annually, the Hawaii hospitality market is served by 70,000 hotel rooms and resort condominium rental and timeshare units, plus 3,000 restaurants and foodservice establishments. Hey, thanks for the lei, sweetheart…  Hawaii sure is a nice place to visit…

Las Vegas: US Travel PowWow

June 7-9, 2013. The U.S. Travel Association’s International PowWow is the travel industry’s premier international marketplace and the largest generator of Visit USA travel – not your typical trade show, according to insiders. In three days of intensive pre-scheduled business appointments, more than 1,000 U.S. travel organizations from every region of the USA (representing all industry category components), and close to 1,200 International and Domestic Buyers from more than 70 countries, conducted business negotiations that resulted in the generation of over $3.5 billion in future Visit USA travel. At International PowWow, buyers and sellers are able to conduct business that would otherwise be generated only through an exhausting, and costly, program of around-the-world trips.  Striking a blow for US tourism, and as the national public-private destination marketing entity, Brand USA was there to inspire travelers to explore the United States’ boundless possibilities, partnering with the U.S. travel industry to maximize the economic and social benefits of travel for communities nationwide.  What are they shouting?  USA! USA!…

Hollywood FL: ARDA

April 7-11, 2013. ARDA stands for the American Resort Development Association, and its big focus seems to be timeshare. This is the trade association representing the vacation ownership and resort development industries (i.e. timeshares in ordinary parlance). ARDA has almost 1,000 corporate members ranging from privately held firms to publicly traded corporations with extensive experience in shared ownership interests in leisure real estate. The membership also includes timeshare owner associations (HOAs), resort management companies, industry vendors, suppliers, and consultants; as well as owners, through the ARDA Resort Owners Coalition. The ARDA International Foundation (AIF) offers professional and educational development through publications covering the industry’s ethical, legal, regulatory, and operational intricacies; study courses; and tests that assess industry knowledge.  Market intelligence recognizes no “black dates”, apparently…

Miami: Cruise Shipping Miami

March 11-14, 2013. At Cruise Shipping Miami  boat people could launch new products, unveil services, meet cruise industry buyers and attend conferences covering up-to-date topics on matters relating to Cruise Shipping. No other event, we heard, brings together the international cruise industry like the Cruise Shipping Miami conference and tradeshow.  For 30 years, Cruise Shipping Miami has been and continues to be the must-attend event for buyers and suppliers, we heard.  This was a stimulating week of innovation, education and networking.  CSM 2013 attracted a broad range of industry players and delivered the audience sellers were looking for — cruise industry buyers and decision makers, unlocking business potential across all shipping and related product sectors.  Definitely worth “cruising around”…

Las Vegas: Travel Goods

February 28 – March 2, 2013. These people have a lot of, well… baggage.  If you want to reach traveling consumers you’ve got to get your product in front of travel goods retailers, and The Travel Goods Show, we were told, is where that happens.  Attendee lists included big retailers like Macy’s and Costco, as well as small, independent travel goods retailers.  The new product pavilion was where manufacturers could grab the spotlight for new items, and get the attention of retailers and the press. Samsonite rubbed shoulders with Heys USA, boutique brands such as GUESS Travel and Hartmann, and out-doorsy crossover brands like High Sierra and Thule — hey, mind out who you’re hitting with that oversized backpack rig, bud!  Now, if only someone could come up with a suitcase that would find ITSELF in an airport baggage reclaim area….!