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Chicago: IBTM America – Let’s Go!

So where’s the meeting? IBTM is strictly for those involved in organizing meetings, incentives and events. IBTM America was a three day event that blew (and we mean blew) into Chicago, the Windy City, in June 2015. IBTM America was an exclusive event that hosted 250 premier planners from the domestic and overseas markets, all clamoring to place international and domestic business. Not just anybody gets into this kind of meeting, though; this is an exclusive and private event where exhibitors and premier meeting planners have been carefully selected on criteria of industry relevance, expertise and the kind — and size — of business they have to place, resulting in an “ideal 1 to 1 ratio”. Tailored to the U.S. market, but focused as much on points beyond, this show guarantees the attendance of top-level decision makers from across the U.S. and other key markets. Hey, a little hush please? The meeting only finishes when I smack the lectern with this gavel….. #ibtmamerica

We met these fabulous folks from the Atlantis Dive Resort in the Philippines:

Long Beach: Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show

The Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show was the promised land for tens of thousands of travel enthusiasts, all ready to be inspired by the sights, sounds and cultures of faraway destinations from across the globe, as the nation’s largest consumer travel show returned to the Long Beach Convention Center.  Named one of Southern California’s top trade shows by BizBash, the event featured hundreds of exhibiting companies and countries representing some of the world’s most sought-after destinations, tour offerings  and travel experiences. The Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show promised a weekend of discovery and inspiration to help travelers “dream it, plan it and book it”.  Event attendees were able to shop exclusive travel deals, attend travel seminars on three educational stages and meet prominent travel experts.  There were celebrity travel personalities aplenty. Speakers included The Amazing Race host, Phil Keoghan; travel icon and television personality Peter Greenberg; Travel Channel hosts Samantha Brown and Josh Gates; and award-winning television personality and author Rick Steves.  You want the book?  Or you want TO book?  #travel

Los Angeles: Global Business Travel Association – GBTA

GBTA is the Global Business Travel Association, and their Los Angeles beano claims to be the largest gathering of business travel buyers in the world, enabling travel companies to put their brand in front of close to 1,500 business travel buyers.  This included a chance to reach the world’s largest gathering of Fortune 100 business travel buyers, we heard.  The average travel spend among buyers hovered around the $84 million mark, so there was real money involved.  There were education sessions designed to update convention attendees on a variety of topics including management skill development, sourcing and procurement, the global marketplace, and business strategy.  One well-attended session was titled A Numbers Game: Using Strategic KPIs to Demonstrate Value of Travel Management to Senior Management.  Uh… KPIs?  That’s Key Performance Indicators to you and me, pilgrim….  #GBTA2014

GBTA2014: The only place that sucks my battery life more than Tuscany

GBTA2014: The only place that sucks my battery life more than Tuscany

Rosemont: Chicago Travel & Adventure Show

The Chicago Travel & Adventure Show is billed as the Mid-West’s largest travel show, with “thousands of vacation options under one roof”.  If you were the type to “explore your cultural side” and enjoy “top chef demos and dance performances that transport you to distant lands”, this was the show for you.  Keynoter Rick Steves gave a glimpse into “Europe Through The Back Door”, showing delegates all the latest on stretching the travel dollar, avoiding crowds, packing smart, and eating and sleeping well.  Pauline Frommer, editorial director of the Frommer Guides, was another keynoter offering “money-saving methods of travel, less usual destinations and ways to tailor your vacation so that it fits your personality”.  Tahiti Tourism North America was there to tell us about “an island paradise just eight hour from Los Angeles but seemingly a world away — closer than you think and easier to travel to then you might imagine”.  Hey, does my butt look big in this grass skirt…?

Miami: ASTA Global

Sept. 16-19, 2013. The ASTA Global Convention brings together all walks of travel professionals for a conference talking to the most influential buyers in the industry. As the leading advocate for travel agents, the travel industry and the traveling public, ASTA and its members represent 80% of all travel sold by travel agencies in the United States. Retail travel selling, we heard, is undergoing a revolution. The impact is set to be bigger than elimination of commissions, and as important as automation itself. Airlines have been leading the way in changing the way travel is sold, and cruise lines and hotels are beginning to follow.  The traveling public’s ability to shop anonymously and to compare base prices and services will be challenged by this approach. Delegates to ASTAGlobal needed to understand firsthand what is coming and how it will affect the travel industry and its clients.  Hillary Rodham Clinton thought this was important enough to justify turning up to speak…c

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…