In the Trenches: The Conference Circuit
Greetings from Miami. I'm on the other coast this week because I'm attending a conference. Technically it's the media day for Farelogix, a provider of travel distribution technology. I'm here with my blogger hat on, but there is plenty of good material for the concierge business as well. It's been a great day, and that naturally has me thinking about expanding my conference participation.
There are always a ton of things on my wish list for the business, but sometimes I get stuck not knowing how to actually get or achieve them. The beauty of a conference is two-fold. First, the session tracks and, sometimes, the exhibitors help me better understand how I might achieve my goals. I also get to speak to smart people who may have ideas about how I can move forward. That kind of advice is invaluable.
Farelogix, in particular, is a provider of distribution technology for airlines. Their idea is to give airlines the ability to really merchandise their offerings instead of showing the usual old "price and schedule" thing we see on most online travel websites today. If my company had something like this available, it would make our lives much easier, allowing us to provide a wider range of options to our clients without having to dig through various websites to get the answers. We could instantly know all the potential bag fees, Wi-Fi costs, lounge costs, and so on. And by entering frequent flier numbers, we'd see available discounts due to someone having elite status. It's a time saver and it's great for consumers because it would reduce response time and potential omissions on our end.
We're a long way from this being a reality (due to complicated technical issues), but the point is being around all these smart people helps me start to think about this in a more logical and progressive way. It may not happen today, but at least I'm learning that technologies are out there, and thinking about ways to improve our service in the future. Reading blog posts and brochures don't get you to the same place. It's being with like-minded people (maybe with a cocktail) to help me figure things out that provides the greatest value.
I've been fairly hesitant to attend most conferences from a concierge perspective because it seemed like an unnecessary expense, but experiences like the one I'm having here in Miami are making me reconsider.
Brett Snyder is President and Chief Airline Dork of Cranky Concierge air travel assistance. Snyder previously worked for several airlines, including America West and United, before leaving to create a travel search site for PriceGrabber.com. Snyder did his undergrad at George Washington and earned his MBA from Stanford.