PhoCusWright Conference 2012 - Get on your Cross Trainers

July 31, 2012

I think the PhoCusWright Conference is fantastic. Absolutely fantastic! I love the numbers they pump out in their reports, I love the depth of the conversations, I love the idea of so many driven entrepreneurs - marrying travel and technology - hanging out in one room. Is it weird it triggers a salivation response?

PhoCusWright Conference 2012

Errrrr... you said it was how much?

There is one thing that's hard to swallow as a small business owner - the cost of the 2012 PhoCusWright Conference. Even after reading the page dedicated to help you justify the cost, the $2999 price tag for a 3-day ticket is not a reality for most small travel agencies. Don't dismiss it yet. Let me give a few reasons why you shouldn't brush it off as something for online travel agencies only.

I've been following the PhoCusWright Conference for a few years from afar and I've come to the conclusion (with the help of some great conversations with colleagues) that it's a conference that may not be aimed at our section of the industry as much as I'd like to be. [DRAT!] Beyond cost (travel agent shows never cost more than a few hundred dollars to attend so many will never recover from the sticker shock of the PhoCusWright Conference), it's highly focused on online travel agencies and if the technology is suitable for traditional travel agencies, its very likely cost-prohibitive. You can see a little more what I mean by checking out their speakers or the sponsors. So it's aimed at online travel agencies and technology companies that work with them. But if I told you that you could watch the sessions for free, would you? [scroll to bottom for free link]

Stepping out of your comfort zone opens up possibilities.

CONFAB The Content Strategy Conference

Just because the PhoCusWright Conference isn't directly aimed at us doesn't mean it wouldn't be useful for us. Here's my view. Broadening our circle of knowledge to other sectors of our industry helps spur innovation. It's well-known the legacy travel industry world could use an injection of fresh ideas and technology.

The past 2 years, I've attended Confab—the Content Strategy Conference. I'm not a content strategist by trade so why do I go? It's not my exact field but it's a complementary one. I LOVE coming home from it and making connections, finding parallels that will improve my business. Getting ideas on how to do things differently! The cultures of our industries are very different and it gives me fresh ideas to bring over to my area of expertise. In short, it opens my eyes to more possibilities, makes me a wee bit smarter. Gets my synapses firing and making connections they would never have otherwise.

Oh, you're a travel agent?

If you actually do attend instead of streaming the sessions, be warned there is a real risk you may get the old 'look down the nose' from our tech-savvy brethren. My best advice is to be prepared for it and be comfortable with who you are and what your purpose is—to learn more to grow your company.

The truth is, we can learn a lot from others outside our little bubble in the travel world so listen with humility, if need be, admire the longness of the nose that's looking down at you, and learn from them not because they're better than us, but because they're different from us. I do it all the time when I go to travel blogger events. Honestly, with some travel bloggers, I don't get anything out of it because they're closed minded to my world. After they hear "I work with travel agents" the conversation turns drastically and usually ends up with my industry being put down and their ego inflated. A lot of me listening and them talking. I'm silent mostly because A) I learned long ago that you can't reason with close-mindedness and B) I'm busy admiring how they're completely unaware of how unattractive condescending glances are.

The truth comes out. I'm not going to the 2012 PhoCusWright Conference.

Steph's dog Rigel

So, I talk about how great it is, but as it turns out—SURPRISE!—I'm not going. Hopefully in the future I can go and do some live blogging, be a sponge and soak up all the good things. But this year, it's the week after CruiseWorld and everyone knows my pup Rigel and I hate to be separated for too long. Work-life balance, people. It's important.

But, I am going to watch it all live.

So after a whole article saying how great the PhoCusWright Conference is, I end up not going. How's that for anti-climatic? We won't even get to meet! :(

But, I've got good news. Another reason I love the PhoCusWright Conference is that they freely disseminate the knowledge. If it is out your price range or you have separation anxiety with your pup, you can stream it live or watch it on-demand by getting a PhoCusWright Conference online ticket.

Cross-training isn't just a shoe.

The focus of this article was the 2012 PhoCusWright Conference but there's a bigger lesson in here that I hope you picked up too. Your agency success is directly correlated to you continuing to learn and sharpen your skills. Read those books on closing sales, sign up for our newsletter for ideas to grow your travel agency, attend industry events. And most of all, don't forget to snuggle with your dog.

Share your thoughts on the PhoCusWright Conference in the comments below or you can find me on FacebookTwitter, Pinterest, and Instagram

About the Author
Steph Lee - Host Agency Reviews

Steph Lee

Steph grew up in the travel industry, helping on and off with her mom's homebased travel agency. She has worked with thousands of agents in her role as a former host agency director before leaving in 2012 to start HAR. She's insatiably curious, loves her pups Fennec and Orion, and -- in case you haven't noticed -- is pretty quirky and free-spirited.

If you’re looking for Steph, she leaves a trace where ever she goes! You can find her on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn (her fav) and Pinterest as 'iamstephly'. 🙂 You can also catch her on her Substack, Bumblin' Around, where she writes on things outside the world of HAR.