Kathy Sierra recently returned from the SXSW conference, which is all about those technologies that enable us NOT to meet each other face-to-face--email, blogging, twitter, and stuff that I don't even know what it is--and she commented on the irony of an in-person conference for those folks. So the question she asked is "why are we still going to conferences?" After some interesting speculation, her answer is "The most underrated benefit of the face-to-face effect of conferences is INSPIRATION." I believe if you come home from a conference with more ideas of things to do than you would possibly have time to do them, it was a great conference.
Next week Steve and I will be attending the innkeepers' conference in Myrtle Beach, and I'm looking forward to that on so many levels. A chance to go on a trip somewhere--anywhere!--is a good thing. It's great to be able to talk to other innkeepers and hear their stories, and this time I'm actually experienced enough to be able to help newer innkeepers. And since this is my second PAII conference, I know that I'll learn a lot.
You know that phenomenon where you can't learn something new until you're ready for it? It's been like that for us. The first conference I went to, I was desperate to learn as much as I could about basic marketing, linens, housekeeping, and reservation software. I wasn't ready to learn more advanced concepts. Steve went last year and got into more details about increasing occupancy and average daily rate, revamping websites and search engine optimization. In this year's workshops I'm looking at things like "Maximizing Media Relations," "Marketing for Masters," and "Increasing Website Conversion Rates." I'm looking at master innkeeper-level workshops and now I'm ready for that.
Everything in its own time.