It dawned on me as I walked into another travel expo over the weekend… I have been working travel expos for 17 years. 17 YEARS! 17 of the best years of my life!
All these years of slaving away at a booth at a convention centre, making people’s holiday dreams come true. I like to think of myself as a travel expo professional – at the top of my game. I am not alone. I see you other “expo veterans” at every expo, and I applaud you.
Your dedication, commitment and pure passion for making sure everyone has a “good show” should be commended. So I dedicate this to you!
You know you are a seasoned expo veteran when…
1. It takes you half an hour to get from the front door to your booth… not because it’s far away, but because you stop every two metres to say hello to industry friends and acquaintances (other seasoned veterans).
2. You immediately suss out where the toilets, coffee cart and hiding spots are – you will need these later and you won’t have any time to waste finding them when your booth is manic and you are trying to escape the woman who wants to complain about her last trip, which was ruined by bad weather.
3. As the lunchboxes are delivered to your booth, you eye off your colleagues hoping they are not interested in the turkey and cranberry jam wrap (something you ordinarily wouldn’t be interested in either, but the combination of your hunger due to not having time for breakfast this morning, and your hangover from last night has made you ravenous and willing to eat the crotch out of a low flying duck. Or turkey.)
4. You are on a first name basis with the punter who has no teeth and enquires about USA every year – then decides to hold off until the following year because he “has a lot going on this year”. Like dental surgery.
5. You have made plans for post expo drinks by midday.
6. You have a “formula” for the number of flyers you print… And every year you either throw out thousands of flyers, or end up running out early. One sure thing about expo is that you can never predict how many flyers you will need. NEVER.
7. You wear flat shoes because you know your feet will thank you for it at the end of the day.
8. When you consult with a customer, you are not content with pointing out the booking area for them at the end of your conversation. Instead, you actually hold their hand and escort them to a consultant because you just can’t let it go without seeing money change hands. It’s a clever manoeuvre, but it can be risky if the wife doesn’t approve.
9. By Sunday night, you have sworn off ever working another expo.
10. On Monday morning you wake up, hear the results, and can’t wait to do it all over again!
Are you a travel expo veteran? Share your tips and thoughts below.
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