Tion’d in Atlanta

Leading up to this year’s DMAI Conference in Atlanta, I heard hype like “can’t miss conference”, “best networking”, and “in this economy, one should attend now more than ever.” Outside of the ventures on the planes, (Southwest – please start flying into Atlanta!) the event last week was ever bit worthy of the hype!

I case you missed it or all your co-worker talked about was the 80’s cover band Thursday evening, the ‘tions that came from the DMAI Conference is this month’s Five @ 5.

1. Motivation. The blind mountain climber was one thing, but when US Travel’s Roger Dow delivered his ‘the gloves are coming off’ address, who couldn’t help but be motivated to work in this industry employing 1 in 8 Americans!? Actually Roger’s quote was, “(The tourism industry) is done being the drama team. We’re going to start being the football team!”

2. Inspiration. If the “shirtsleeves” sessions do one thing, it’s inspire you knowing that you’re not the only one. There’s others out there in your size bureau struggling with the same issues – finances and threats on transient guest tax receipts, city council reps that don’t get it, hotel relations, branding…

3. Education. Sessions that actually lived up to the description! Unique concept in conferences but DMAI’s did. Websites, the “Experience Economy”, sales tools… quality education that one can take back and utilize immediately.

4. Information. Never one to truly value expos (unless they’re in our conference center generating room nights) I found myself looking forward to the second day of the expo seeking out vendors for that one on one time to truly understand their software, services, consulting and more. No more webdemos for me. Give me DMAI’s expo!

5. Networking-ation. Partnership programs from Colorado. Software advise from New York and Texas. Social marketing thoughts from (where was he from?) It’s very difficult to calculate an ROI on great networking, but advice, tips and best practices from colleagues are extremely valuable!

The season of state Governor’s Conferences is nearing. Texas holds theirs next week. Others follow later this fall. If you haven’t been in a while, I strongly suggest you reconsider it. If you’re preparing to go to the “same ole conference”, try attending this year with a new perspective. Besides, in this economy, one should attend education sessions now more than ever!

Hope this helps! I look forward to hearing what is on your mind!

(Originally posted February 2010)

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