Diary of a Mad Planner

Mad as in Crazy – Not Mad as in Angry

DATE: June 3-7, 2017
EVENT: 49th Annual IPW travel conference in Washington DC.

DEAR DIARY – JUNE 4th – Great opening night party on the National Mall grounds in front of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum – first time I’d ever attended a private event held on the National Mall in Washington D.C. – “How did IPW pull this off?” – Asked around and discovered that the association worked with Destination DC, the city’s local tourism office.
NOTE TO SELF: Research more carefully public/private partnership opportunities in host cities I use.

DEAR DIARY – JUNE 5TH – Noticed how big the crowd is at this year’s event – somebody estimated more than 6,000 – mixed crowd – not only meeting professionals but quite a few international travel buyers and journalists.
NOTE TO SELF: Improve my public relations skills in addition to developing new marketing techniques – put the word out to the media and interested parties and pay more attention to international markets – Don’t leave that to someone else!

DEAR DIARY – JUNE 6TH – 16,000 at tonight’s Aloe Blacc concert! – but only 6,000 attending the travel event – they opened the concert up to the general public!
NOTE TO SELF: Great idea! Why not? Helped pay for the costly venue – made the conference attendees feel special – What have I been thinking? – Consider this from now on.

JUNE 7TH ENTRY: Attended closing party at Nationals Park! The planner worked directly with M.L.B. to reorganize the Nationals’ schedule to accommodate the event! Now that’s innovative and bold planning. I love it! – Food from the whole region throughout the concourse level – took batting practice! – Fireworks over Washington!
NOTE TO SELF: Private/public partnerships are the way to go in great tourist destinations like Washington D.C. – Gain access to historic venues etc. – consider this possibility when planning future events.

RESOLUTION: Become more innovative.


After reading my diary entries, I realized that I need to attend more events outside my own. The meeting and event industry is full of creative, professional planners who are fiercely competing in my market. The U.S. Travel Association’s five-day conference in Washington D.C. showcased the professional skills of IPW, the U.S. Travel Association, Hello Washington DC, and Destination DC, the city’s local tourism office. These groups got together and hit the ball out of the park. They used 14 separate vendors to pull off the opening night party and another 12 for the closing night party at Nationals Park. My final take-away from the U.S. Travel Association’s conference was that recruiting a great team is crucial to creating a great event.

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