Q&A with Barbara Logan, Vice President, Meeting and Event Services, U.S. Travel Association
More than 6,500 delegates from 73 countries, including more than 1,300 international and domestic travel buyers and 500 media attended Pow Wow (IPW), the travel industry's premier international marketplace. The event, the largest single generator of travel to the U.S., convened at the Orange County Convention Center from May 30-June 3. Record breaking attendance and a host of spectacular evening functions made IPW a great success, it’s no wonder why IPW will return to Orlando in 2022.
Q: What is your main criteria when choosing a host city for IPW?
We obviously need a convention center that can accommodate the number of people and booths we have and we also need a number of rooms at affordable rates. But it’s just as important that the host city be involved. IPW is such an important group of people. We’re bringing the best of the best from around the world and Visit Orlando knows how to welcome folks and showcase the destination. We say, what happens inside the convention center is U.S Travel, outside, it’s the host city.
Q. How was the conference received?
A. We just had our debrief. We had record breaking attendance and attendees overall were very happy. There are always going to be tweaks, but that list was small. We’ve heard great comments on all the parties. Generally, because of the cost of evening events, some cities will only do an opening and closing. But because of your three great partners in Orlando (Disney, Universal and SeaWorld) we were able to showcase all three.
Q. You had delegates from 73 countries. How was it getting in and out of the airport for them?
A. Airline lift is great. People didn’t have a problem getting through TSA.
Q. What do you like about working with the convention center?
A. The service the convention center offers is key to the success of the show. I’ve worked closely with Centerplate (OCCC’s catering company) and the food was so great and always on time. The convention services staff anticipated our needs and made our lives easier during planning and onsite. There’s a consistency of staff. We have a wonderful partnership with the OCCC and Centerplate. It’s like putting on a comfortable pair of shoes each time we go back.
Q. How will you top IPW when you come back in 2022?
A. Orlando offers so much more than it did than when we were here last in 2010, so I imagine when we are back in 2022, there will be even more to see and do. In terms of the show, we always want to stay current. We look at the demographics of the group, where attendees are coming from and current technology and business trends so we don’t become stagnant. We are constantly asking ourselves what we could do better. That’s one of the reasons we’ve seen such growth. IPW is a really strong show. It’s a great opportunity for people to get together where they couldn’t otherwise. And Orlando will see benefits for the next two to three years, as well, with increased visitation and the ability to build on relationships that were made during the show.