June 13

Convention Wrap-up: IPW 2017

NOTE: There is an unedited photo of my gross feet in this post. Proceed with caution.

Phew! I just got back from a week in Washington D.C. for the annual IPW convention. IPW is an international travel industry show organized by the U.S. Travel Association. It used to be known as “International Pow Wow” but a few years back they really stressed that we were supposed to just call it “IPW”…as if we don’t know what the letters stand for.

Anyhow, this is the biggest show I go to every year. Basically, every destination in the country has a booth and we have pre-set appointments with travel producers from around the world.

We had 50-something appointments where we got to share Sacramento directly with people who could actually influence visitors to come. Turns out, people love Sacramento, they just need someone to tell them where it is, what goes on there and why it should be included in a vacation itinerary. So – basically – they love Sacramento, they just have absolutely no idea that it exists. That’s why I have a job, I guess.

Here’s a video of our little section of the show floor. We had a prime aisle spot right across from Visit California. Look for me, dressed like a professional and doing actual work in a real meeting, at the end of this video.

 

Speaking of being dressed like a professional, there’s a wide-variety of business fashion at a show like IPW. Some folks coordinate outfit colors with their booth mates. Others are forced into ill-fitting Port Authority logowear for their destination. The poor folks over in the S.F. Travel booth were wearing matching “Summer of Love” denim trucker jackets…which are awesome on a muggy East Coast day. In the Sacramento booth, we opt to just dress ourselves with varying degrees of success.

I went no tie and no socks. No tie because I think the show name badge messes that look up anyhow and no socks because I’m a disgusting human being. Plus, I had this nice pair of penny loafers and I was under the impression that cool guys don’t wear socks with penny loafers. Well, apparently, “cool guys” also have a ton of painful blisters. I mean, last month I walked 4.2 miles in high heels and didn’t have the pain I had at IPW.

Look at what happened to me!

Supposed I should apologize for my hairy hobbit ankles and blue toenails…and the blister and – of course – the rest of my weird foot. And while I’m at it I guess I should really apologize for this entire post…and the whole blog in general. And for everything else I’ve ever written..or said…or done. Fine, I’M SORRY. Are you happy now? But look, I’ve got more important things to worry about, like the EXTREMELY painful blister on my left heel.

The second most painful thing at IPW was this lunch:

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This is actually a grosser photo than that one of my foot. Plus, my foot would’ve probably tasted better. This is 100% the worst convention lunch I’ve ever been subjected to. I know it’s tough to feed 5,000 people at once, so it’s hard to be too upset even though carrot slices and a whole pepperoncini – stem and all – on a sandwich is very weird. I ended up skipping the bun and veggies and just ate the stack of turkey lunch meat like a steak with the sad caprese.

There is always a lot going on at a show like this and the host city gets a great chance to show itself off. So we got to see all the DC monuments and the White House and the Capitol. I was bummed I didn’t get out to see the Exorcist stairs in Georgetown, but I did get to do the next scariest thing:

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Ok, ok this is just an Oval Office replica…which is actually preferable to the real Oval Office in a lot of ways.

The evening networking events are always fun at IPW too. This year, the opening event was at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum and we got to see Aloe Blacc perform on the National Mall. We also got to see Aloe Blacc at the next day’s lunch. And I saw him at Visit California’s 25th Anniversary party last month. And at IPW last year too. Basically Aloe Blacc is just following me around now. In fact, as I type this, he’s just sitting across from my desk staring at me and gently humming “Wake Me Up.” Back off, Aloe.

Here’s a horrible photo of Mr. Blacc performing for us. He’s in there somewhere, I promise.

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The closing event was at the ballpark of the Washington Nationals.

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That evening was highlighted by me WINNING A COOKIE EATING CONTEST. Unfortunately, there are no photos of that because I was too busy WINNING A COOKIE EATING CONTEST. It was what I was born to do and I made you real proud, Sacramento.

So that’s how these shows go. People from all over the world come, I teach them about Sacramento, we eat some bad lunches, have a little fun at night, get a few blisters and enjoy hourly concerts by Aloe Blacc. It’s not a bad gig.

Anyhow, that’s a little glimpse into my world. Let me know if you have any questions.

Thanks!

 

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