Saturday, September 3, 2011

Expect Insights, Dialogue and Networking at EyeForTravel's Travel Distribution Summit, North America

When asked my opinion of EyeForTravel's Travel Distribution Summit (TDS) North America, typically my response is 140 characters of positive feedback following the close of the conference. With just a few weeks until the 2011 conference, however, the significant positive impact TDS has had on my travel industry career compels me to share more than a tweet about the value of attending EyeForTravel's TDS 2011. (For conference information, visit:

As both a past speaker and attendee, I find EyeForTravel's TDS an excellent forum for hearing industry leaders and experts analyze and discuss travel industry changes and trends. This year's conference theme, "Anticipate, Adapt, and Thrive in A Rapidly Challenging Online Arena," underlines the challenges and opportunities travel professionals currently face in understanding and optimizing new distribution tools, such as mobile, social media, location-based services, and flash sales. In particular, the conference is a good forum for learning about the strategies of first-movers and the resourcefulness of smaller players. Often, innovative start-ups debut at the conference, providing a much appreciated alternative perspective on the travel sector.

Consistently valuable is TDS's dynamic audience of peers, partners, and competitors who actively engage in the dialogue. From the hotel ballroom and meeting rooms to remote locations connected via Twitter, attendees highlight key remarks, discuss points of interest and concern, ask questions, and share their experiences. Although it is challenging to simultaneously follow all of the conversation threads, both offline and online, the reward is a high-degree of interaction and intellectual stimulation. Follow the Twitter hashtag #eftamerica for this year's conference conversation.

The interaction continues during the networking breaks built into the conference agenda. Whether it is a short introduction to a potential partner or lunch with a competitor, the networking at TDS is among the best in the travel industry. Fellow attendees tend to be very approachable and receptive to discussing ideas and exchanging contact information for future follow-up.

In fact, it is the post-conference interaction that continuously reinforces the benefit of attending TDS. Without a doubt, the professional connections made at TDS keep me at the top of my game. Throughout the year, I call on a cadre of experts whose voices I can distinguish from the noise and whose opinions I can access whether via traditional media and publications or through interactive channels, particularly social media. Having identified and met this community of experts at TDS, I have become part of the community and regularly engage with it, online and offline. Relationships that began as brief, industry interactions have flourished and resulted in a dynamic network of expertise that I can call upon or to whom I can reciprocate with my knowledge and insights.

I look forward to EyeForTravel's Travel Distribution Summit this September 19-20, 2011 at The Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, knowing that it will expand not only my knowledge and understanding of industry trends and strategies for success, but also my network of travel professionals who stimulate, challenge, and support me.