Big Girl Travel Mart is in session, and I have a feeling that I ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
I spend the morning in the presence of very interesting people like a brand futurist and the author of Google Ad Words for Dummies.
While I spend a good deal of time analyzing my own future, I have never considered the job title “futurist” for a potential career. How do you being to analyze this stuff?
I remember my sophomore year Economics teacher mentioning his title as an economic futurist. This didn’t interest me, at the I could barely understand present-tense econ, much less the future state of economics. The presentation was intriguing and definitely got me to thinking about the future a little more, which I didn’t think was possible, considering how much the future has been weighing on my mind for the past month.
Next, I head over to a course for generating online business, taught by the Google AdWords expert. In my mind, anyone who has written for the “For Dummies” brand is probably going to be a bit of a smart alec, and I can definitely relate to that, so I like Howie Jacobson right off the bat. He’s an inviting speaker and I’m taking in as much as possible, considering my potential role in generating online business for my own company!
I immediately sign up for his 2-hour webinar to find out more – I need some resolution, as he told us how to improve on travel websites, but I want to see a site that doesn’t need to be improved upon. That probably doesn’t exist.
I head to the final seminar, which debates whether or not to charge travel fees. The teacher of this course is an English teacher turned Virtuoso staff member. She reminds me of every English teacher I’ve ever admired, and I’ve admired quite a few – most of whom inspired my choice to become an English major.
I have two words for the 2-hour break that I am given before the opening ceremonies: nap time.
I can see the Millennium Mile Mall from the window in my room, so I’ve been tempted to head over there during any break. For once, sleep won over shopping.
I’m gracious for my nap, as the opening ceremony turns out to be rather lengthy. It’s definitely inspiring and full of great content, but my stomach winds up up eating itself in lieu of dinner. I’ve got to get off of East Coast time. It’s nice being with the rest of my agency, though; Ramona, Michael, Paula, and Arnie arrived this morning.
Right after the opening ceremony is the opening reception. To call this a lavish affair would be an understatement. We are greeted by a row of cheering Bellagio employees and escorted in by Cirque de Soleil characters. Acrobats swing upon fixtures hanging from the ceiling, giant displays of hors d’oeuvres seem to grow up from the ground, the dessert will soon be brought out in a style that could only be described as Vegas-extravagant.
I meet a ton of new people through Ramona and Michael, as well as catch up with NextGen’s from the previous day. By the end of the cocktail party, I’ve found my three new best friends for the night – Cassie, whom I met at yesterday’s boot camp, and two of her friends, Luke and Jamo. We head out for drinks and gossip, which is a great introduction to the travel industry from my more acclimated new friends.
We all bond over our Southern roots and common ground of the SEC. It never cease to amaze me that, when you’re in the South, rooting for opposing SEC schools is grounds for never speaking to one another. However, when you’re out of the area, you can immediately bond with anyone (besides the crazy die-hard fans) because of your SEC background. We’re a prideful little bunch.
Regardless, I am so grateful for the good time with people my age and positively thrilled that I decided to come to the boot camp, or else I never would have connected with these people.
Tomorrow begins the first official day of Travel Mart’s meetings – we have 106 and suppliers to meet with, so I’ll either be full of stories… or too tired to type.