Do We Need All Those Conferences?

It seems like every week - sometimes even daily - there is some form of industry conference to attend. With the rise of digital networking, many believed that the need for face to face interaction would diminish. After all, it's much easier to watch a webinar in the comfort of your office, then to deal with the hassle of airport lines and rental cars. And there's all that time and extra work to prepare to leave and to catch up on when you return. But conferences are not diminishing, in fact, the opposite is true - they are big business in all industries and the timeshare industry is no exception.

Statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor indicate that conventions and other such events are expected to expand by 44 percent from 2010 to 2020. That’s well beyond the average projected growth of other industries. The timeshare industry is following the convention trend. We've got GNEX, SOIC, Regional ARDAs, Fall ARDAs, Annual ARDA, the Canadian Resort Conference, and the list goes on. 

Are They Worth It?

The Good

  • Networking
Conferences offer networking opportunities. Connections are made that can be good for your business. Even if it isn’t right away, that cocktail you had with a business owner may result in a beneficial future relationship. 
  • You might learn something
Conferences can be a valuable learning tool. People new to the industry can gain valuable knowledge from the seminars and workshops.Veterans can update their skills and keep on top of trends.
  • Exciting and Stimulating
Conferences can be exciting, especially if you are a speaker and you get a lot of attention as you expound your views for all to hear. As a participant, there's usually something to take away from the conference that stimulates.
  • Regional conferences 
Regionals can be especially helpful for those working at resorts who can't get away to attend the bigger conferences.

The Bad
  • Too much of the same thing
With so many conferences, information is often repeated. The same speakers tend to be at all conferences.
  • All about the location
Conference planners are determined to find the most fascinating location for the conference. Sure it's fun, and our industry is all about great locations, but how much actual work is getting done?
  • Lost productivity
Who’s minding your business while you are away? That time away from the business can mean a loss of productivity. First, there’s all the prep work you need to do to get away for the week—you might have to train someone else to do your job or to take over responsibilities, and when you get back, more time is needed to catch up on all that you missed. 
  • Too much hype
There really is a conference industry for those companies that don't want to plan their own. The conference industry is so big that it has its own conference and industry awards. Ever notice how many vendors set up shop at the conferences and post their company names all about? They are sponsoring conferences to sell their products and fortify their connections to members of their distribution chains. Sometimes it seems like this interaction is overshadowing the true purpose of conferences.

We'd like to hear about what you think. Is our industry having too many conferences? Could we spend the time more productively? Comment below with your views!

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