I came to my very first frequent flyer conference not knowing what to expect. I had conversed with many bloggers and other active participants in the loyalty program community via Twitter and comments made on various blogs, so I didn’t know if anyone would recognize me since my name isn’t displayed prominently on the blog.
When I introduced myself I just used my name, expecting no one to really know who I am. Then I started meeting people I’d exchanged a few tweets with, and decided to say “I write Travel Summary.” The reactions I got the first day were priceless, and extremely memorable to me.
When I introduced myself as Travel Summary, people’s eyes widened and they let out a small chuckle before saying “Oh, YOU’RE Travel Summary?!”
It was hilarious to me and them. Apparently my content is engaging, as I’ve become known as someone who critiques others (good and bad). I don’t mind that at all. I do talk about plenty of other topics within the points and miles realm, but I can see why I’m known for the controversial topics rather than some other ones.
My review of the event is pretty simple: you’re not really missing too much if you read the blogs regularly, but you’re missing out on a great opportunity to put a face to a name with bloggers and others on Twitter. As many others and myself have stated, networking goes a long way. It was really great to converse with so many people that I’ve admired online.
On the other hand, there are a lot of really geeky, nerdy people. Have you seen guys that talk about Star Wars like it’s a real thing that matters in life? There’s a points/miles version of those guys. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing at all – after hearing them talk for a short period of time I could tell they’d done some amazing traveling. Most of the people I met, however, are normal, down-to-earth people with real jobs and families that just want to travel better, cheaper, more often. That’s what this event is all about.
Kudos to those that ran the event. For the most part it was very well done and I know a lot of beginners walked away with their minds blown, while others like myself really appreciated the opportunity to meet the “rock stars” of the industry (some of which made themselves much more accessible than others).
I’m not sure I’ll be able to attend the next Frequent Traveler University several months from now, but if I’m still blogging (and I have every intention to), then you can bet I’ll do everything I can to get there and meet a bunch of new people and others I didn’t have a chance to just yet. After all, there were so many hundreds of people at the conference that I didn’t even get close to meeting everyone I wanted to!
Oh, and in case you were considering going but didn’t, let me say this: there was a session on “secrets” that do not get blogged about in which a few extremely valuable tips were given. Many of the most experienced travelers didn’t know some of the tricks that were discussed, and I learned some new tricks as well. What I will say is that ALL of the tricks mentioned involved being deceptive in some way, so if you have a low tolerance for doing that kind of stuff then it wouldn’t matter to you. If, however, you don’t care about lying here or there, it would be valuable.
That’s the long way of saying go to the next FTU if you’re interested in this stuff!