Just back from Phocuswright's three day conference - worth every penny! Congratulations Philip and all the Phocuswright team not just for attracting a brilliant cross section of the travel & technology community; creating an incredibly rich program; superb organization but also for a really USEFUL innovation.
The decision to make online participation available for those who couldn't make the trek to Orlando was brave - so many traditionalists think that online meetings will diminish or cannibalize markets. 132 people participated this way from all parts of the world. I believe it just increased exposure and increased the appetite for the real thing. The very fact that it was a sell out in very difficult economic times further attests to the value associated with attendance.
Live streaming the event was expensive but was of HUGE benefit to the participants. All major sessions were available in real time during the conference and will be available for review for the next 60 days. There was so much content to absorb and this innovation allows everyone the chance to review a second time and, more importantly, REFLECT on what was said; see linkages and connections that would not have been immediately apparent at the time; and share this knowledge with peers. Knowing that the live presentations are now "in the cloud" relieved the anxiety associated with many events when you want to chat with a colleague but also don't want to miss hearing the speaker...
Through use of event specific hashtags, real time commentary was enabled and can be aggregated to get a birds eye view of the content. Here's one participants experience before and during....
It'll take me a few weeks to complete that process of review and reflection and I will share what I think are the strategic implications over the days ahead. In the meantime, the travel bloggers at TNOOZ will be able to provide a faster review of specific technologies and useful insights on how to implement..
Finally, just to show I had a great time, here's a picture of me, Patrick Payne, CEO of QuickMobile, who created a brilliant i-phone application for the event; and Leslie Anne Palamar of Building Tourism Excellence who's organizing Canada's next e-connect event in Montreal in January.
Picture courtesy and copyright of Phocuswright - see their stream on Flickr.