Viva San Antonio, Viva IPW and Viva Los Angeles 2024
Once again, the US Travel Association IPW trade show has proved itself to be the Daddy of all trade shows. Immaculately organised every single element runs like clockwork. With factory precision EVERYBODY leaves for lunch at 12.30, EVERYBODY stops work at 4.30pm, all the appointments last 20 minutes, the stands are modest compared to say WTM, and the welcome including entertainment is second to none. With such a plethora of trade events around the world it is a surprise that many still exist with the behemoth of IPW around. The USA could not be sold in a finer way. Later in the year however we have the Brand USA Travel Week which has a different vibe, more relaxed, and for many is timed to perfection for the ultimate reason which is that of doing business. When coupled with regional efforts like Go West, Travel South, Florida Huddle and the rest no operator worth their salt could be left without an opportunity to contract and no excuses could be given for destinations wishing to purvey their wares.
The other massive ingredient to a successful IPW is of course the location. This year for the first time San Antonio in Texas was chosen to host and it was nothing short of a masterstroke. The city, the seventh largest in the USA, is, at its heart, surprisingly small and almost every delegate would have been able to walk from their hotel to the conference centre and to the seemingly endless amount of evening entertainment. No coach transfers in San Antonio! With the Riverwalk and the Alamo at the centre of most things the 5,000 attendees were treated to never-ending treats of drink, food, music and general entertainment that quite honestly could not be faulted. The opening and closing ceremonies were amazing as was the river parade and the Convention Centre music in the mornings and evenings.
The other major advantage of a small host city is the increased likelihood that you may meet fellow attendees in a bar, restaurant, or even in the street. To me, this gives an extra ROI above and beyond the appointments as it gives one the opportunity to form new relationships or solidify old ones. Whether this leads to commercial opportunities or not these chance encounters only add to the overall happiness factor that is already high with a show like IPW and very high in San Antonio.
So – Viva San Antonio, Viva IPW and Viva Los Angeles 2024.