IPW is one of the largest North American travel trade shows in the United States. Basically, it is a business appointment-based show that brings everyone together. This includes U.S. travel organizations from across the country who represents all categories of the industry. It also includes International and domestic leisure buyers. Moreover, domestic and international media.
IPW is a great meeting spot for all the industries people to meet up with buyers from around the world to meet and generate businesses, bring revenue into the USA. More importantly, this convention allows International Buyers, Travel Agencies and Journalists to learn more about what each USA cities or USA regions has to offer. What’s new in each destination that people need to know about. Things get done at this convention as top executives who can makes decisions can close deal and make things happen.
This is my 3rd consecutive time of attending IPW and it’s a great honour for me to attend this prestige and wonderful IPW Convention every year, being an International Journalist and representing Canada. Every year, I got to meet old and new faces and creating and maintaining great working relationships with the Tourism Boards and various destinations team. Mind you, the reason why IPW is prestige is that not everyone are being invited to this travel convention. You have to either be either get invited or applied to attend. So, I am very lucky and very grateful every single time I attended IPW and I hope this trend of me attending continues.
In my opinion, one of the reasons why IPW is such a great travel convention is that the event is held at different city every year. Each year, there is a new hosting city. This makes the convention fresh every single year. It allows you to visit what each hosting city has to offer every single year so the buyers or the journalists can get to know that hosting city and generate content and gather INFO back to their companies. Imagine if a convention is being held at the same spot every year, things can get boring quickly but more importantly, it’s a great idea for the attendees to learn and know each American city better.
2016 – New Orleans, Louisiana (MoVernie 1st IPW)
2017 – Washington, DC (MoVernie 2nd IPW)
2018 – Denver Colorado (MoVernie 3rd IPW)
IPW has been operating for over 50 years (Happy 50th Anniversary), but the organization continues to evolve and adapt and recognize the change in technology, the communications and the method we are connecting with our audience and clients. For example, IPW recognized the importance of social media and respecting the skills and the benefits the digital media brings in our society. For example, I am not a traditional media that writes articles on newspaper and magazines coz my demographics don’t always read from the hardcopies. But instead, they receive knowledge and information via my social media channels. And IPW recognizes that and thus, I was invited to attend this convention. Not all other event organizers or corporations recognize the social media aspects and they soon fall behind. So, I have to use this opportunity to applaud the IPW Team for knowing and recognizing the importance of including social media influencers and digital media at IPW. THANK YOU!
Now, each attendee has different itinerary. People who works in different roles have different agenda or expectations at IPW. For example, travel agencies, hotels staff, tourism boards, suppliers and media have different roles. Since I am an International Journalist, I will focus and concentrate on what is expected out of me as media at IPW.
In summary, the IPW convention runs for about 5 days and 4 nights. Media has to attend the mandatory Sunday IPW Brunch and sightseeing tour of the host city (in this case, it’s Denver Colorado). There is a long list of Sunday tours that you can choose from. However, it’s first come first served by signing up via an online registration. However, if on the day of, if there is a particular tour that you really want to attend but it’s full online, you can be standing on the waiting line and if someone misses or a no show, they can put you onto the tour.
Monday, which is the MOST IMPORTANT event for media, you have to show up! It’s the Media Market Place. A few weeks prior to the actual IPW convention, you have to sign up a minimum requirement of bookings with a number of destinations of your choice. The bookings are made by 1st come 1st serve basis, the booking are very short, about 10-15 minutes. It’s like a speed-dating where you have 15 minutes to impress your potential soulmate. At first, it could be nerve wrecking as you have to know where each booth is and when is your next booking, it could be back to back to back and you need to be on the MOVE at all times. However, with some prior planning, experience, you will be able to handle it.
And on the other next few days, you get to check out the exhibition booth and talk to some other representatives for each destinations. You attend morning and afternoon presentations from some destinations and you can to see the latest updates on what each destination has to offer.
For example, I went to the New York City (NYC) presentation and I realized they are having an NFL Experience located at Times Square.
Another example is when Visit California putting up a show in its presentation about the latest Universal Studios and Disney rides and interactive fun experiences. Only at these presentations that you can get to learn all these upcoming cool stuff.
There are also many networking and mix & mingle opportunities throughout the entire IPW. There are luncheons in between presentations daily. There are after parties or private gatherings from different destinations for you to attend and mingle and talk to people. Trust me, IPW is the time where you don’t get much time to sleep but why would you when you can spend the time meeting new people or building good working relationships at parties that are so much fun! As I often tell other IPW rookies, “You can sleep all you want at home, but when at IPW, you should attend as many activities as possible to get to meet new people, be productive, experience cool events that the IPW staff have work so hard to plan for the entire year and really walk around the host city and learn more about it.
Last but not least, when the IPW come to a close, the host city offers Post IPW Tour. There is a list of a number of tours for you to choose from, on a first come first serve basis. Depending on the host city, some requires you to pay a small fee to secure a spot and some don’t. The objective of these Post IPW tours is a chance for journalist who wants to stay behind for a few more days in the host city and gather content and brainstorm ideas of different itinerary for their clients to explore and to visit. I personally really enjoy these types of Post IPW Tour coz you get to know more about the destination more and you can get to learn to network with other attendees on the tour bus.
This time, I chose the Post IPW Tour that took us on a bus road trip to visit the Colorado Springs; Mesa Verde and Durango. In a later MoVernie BLOG, I will show you more of my adventures on this Post IPW Tour.
Next year’s IPW 2019 will be held in Anaheim, California from Saturday June 1 to Wednesday, June 5. I am sure it will be another fun year filled with fun activities, getting business and appointments done and help generate future revenue for the USA travel industry.
For me, the BEST part about IPW is that…..you get things done. Decisions makers are all at the same venue in the same marketplace who can make decisions quickly and closing deals and making things happen. At the same time, there are still fun and games in between these businesses meetings and while able to learn and explore the hosting city.
Once again, I would like to thank the U.S. Travel Associations IPW for having me and I hope I will be invited again to attend future IPW events as there are so much to explore in the United States and it definitely helps me meeting all the important people and at the same time opening up new opportunities for me.
The incredible IPW 18 experience was provided by U.S. Travel Association’s IPW. However, as always, the opinions expressed in this post is entirely my own.