Monday, October 22, 2012

Conference Time for SpaGypsies Blog!

I'm preparing to go to the PhoCusWright Conference this November in Phoenix.  It will be my 13th or 14th conference.  I've gone as speaker, attendee, exhibitor, sponsor and press.  This year I hope to go as Press again and will be reporting on new companies from the Travel Innovation Summit..a really good roundup of the up and coming online travel companies who compete to win funding as well as the prestigious recognition of winning, or even placing in this contest.  While the smallest and earliest of stage companies also participate, the big mega companies present their latest as well.  I don't think there is any bias towards the larger organizations, expect for the entry price, which is $10,000 (ouch!).  I've seen some great companies present there, many pre-launch or in early launch phases.  It's a great event and I am amazed that my friend Philip Wolf was able to make it as important as it is today.  When he first launched it, running prior to the most important online travel conference in the world, The PhoCusWright Executive Conference, few attended, and most that did had meetings and networked during the event.  Not so today!  The conference room is packed with impressive attendees.  The judges are well, lively, and in most cases, very knowledgable about the online travel space.  I did get a big chuckle last year when a woman VC judge told Rearden Commerce's new travel app DEEM, for small business or individuals team that she was "glad they had done something with all that money".  I don't think she was very knowledgable about managed business travel or she would have known how much money goes into managing the large enterprises for travel.  Made me chuckle.  

When the main event begins on Wednesday afternoon, it's quite the spectacular.  Philp Wolf is magnificent and his whole team is top notch.  So far, being bought out my Northstar Travel Media has not changed the event.  I hope they never do.  It is by far, the best show in town for the industry and the  big guys attend.  Like Richard Barton, Founder of Expedia and Zillow, Bill Marriott, Barry Diller, Jeffrey Boyd, and so many more.  Great content, great presentation and the best networking, deal making event there is.   I have personally brought more than 1 company to the show, as consultant or employee, introducing them to the travel industry.  Getting  a CEO or top executive face-to-face with the best in the industry.  

This year, my focus is reporting--blogging, tweeting and sharing.  While I'm soon to launch my new venture, SpaGypsies, a revenue generating niche social network, directory and review site for those who share a common passion for spas, health &wellness, beauty, spirituality and travel, the time is not right.  I wish I had the budget to pitch it at the Travel Innovation Summit--maybe next year.  

Here's Philip from the opening Monologue last year:

In the meantime, I'll keep you posted from Phoenix.  If you're interested in the online travel business, check out the event here: