Technology can certainly be an awesome thing. Yesterday I attended my first virtual travel show through AAA. The show, “Europe is Closer Than You Think” was designed for people to find out about various trips and deals about traveling in Europe. It was set up similarly to a trade show one would attend in person–physically. After registering, with a click of a mouse, an attendee had a variety of choices. One could attend presentations in the auditorium, chat with travel agents and vendors in the exhibit hall, chat with other customers and travel agents in the lounge and find out about other AAA products.
This was a real time occurrence with scheduled events that began and ended at a specified time, although people can still head back to the conference until 11:00 p.m. tonight to catch parts they missed. The presentations were actual talks accompanied by a slide show and time for questions and answers. If you want to check it out, click here for the web site. I think you can register still.
In the hour I attended I:
- attended a talk about Uniworld Grand River Cruises, a company that conducts cruises on Europe’s rivers,
- chatted in the lounge with travel agents and travelers who were offering up advice
- emailed a travel agent about traveling to Europe with children since lately some Gadling readers have posed questions about that. The travel agent emailed me back and is getting back to me today.
This was a fun way to get information, particularly the chat room. I found out one person is going to Ireland on a honeymoon, one guy is going to Denver in April, someone else wanted to know what was the best scenario for enjoying Europe with kids and there was some smatterings of advice about rail tickets. I took notes and will be fashioning posts to cover the details I “heard.” I also dished out some advice myself.
I registered for this event through an email I received a few weeks ago and received a reminder yesterday. For registering, I was enrolled in a chance to win a door prize. For attending, I received more points. I didn’t have a good strategy though since this was my first time to wander around a cyberspace trade show. You accumulate points by attending the various presentations, requesting a private chat and for clicking on the various vendors. At the end I only had 110 points. To be entered in the grand prize contests, I needed 300. Next time, I’ll have this down. There was a trade show in January, so I expect I’ll be getting another email in a couple months about another one.