It looks like I will be speaking at only one more event in 2017 and it will be at the Chicago Seminars October 20 – 22 <-LINK to register. This is the event I have supported since it began 7 years ago! Back then it was one of the first of it’s kind and just about anyone who is anyone in the travel blog world has been a part of this at some point (think FTG, TPG, VFTW, OMAAT, MMS even Randy himself).
First up let’s take a look at who is speaking at this year’s event and notice just how many of them are currently Boarding Area bloggers.
- Greg – Frequent Miler
- René – RenésPoints
- John – Laptoptravel
- Nick – Frequent Miler
- Stefan – Rapid Travel Chai
- Dan – Points with a Crew
- Shawn – Miles to Memories
- Richard – Travel Hacking 101
- Lee – BaldThoughts
- Tiffany – One Mile at a Time
- Dave – Bikeguy on FlyerTalk
- Howie – AwardWallet
- Angelina – Angelina Travels
- Scott – Mile Value
Quite an impressive list of top travel experts if I may say so (well, other than me, but that’s OK I share what I can). 🙂 So let’s break down what this event is all about and what it is not and who should come and who should not.
This event is friendly. You will not feel intimidated, dumb or unwelcome. Any question is AOK. Speakers are accessible and “we” take over the hotel all weekend and most of us hang around either around the entrance, reception or the bar attached (yes, the bar is a great place to learn about points). Even if you have never ever been to one of these you will enjoy it and maybe even more so if you have never ever been before but your brain may hurt from all in the info you learn.
This is a “cheap” event. Notice how little it costs to go for all 3 days ($105)? No one is paid to be a part of this event and the proceeds goes to charity. Speakers are provided a small stipend to offset travel costs and their rooms are provided as well as lunch (same lunch as everyone else). Even the huge IHG points that goes to the organizers for booking at the hotel are given away in a charity raffle as well as tons of other goodies.
If you are not a newbee you will enjoy this event. Sure some of the talks are basic but not all. There are advanced sessions as well. Plus all it takes is you learn one amazing tip that could change how you do whatever to make the trip worthwhile. I suggest you seek out those who have been around for a while and get them chatting about any topic you are interested in. Bottom line, for those who “know” the game you can still learn and have a good time in Chicago.
That all sounds great any downsides? While the people at this Holiday Inn, near ORD or OHare airport, are amazing and take just so great care of us, it is not a luxury property. It is clean and works but nothing all that special. However, as long as you book the official discounted rate (or more) you get points for your stay. They get we care about points. Next, the food provided is not gourmet but it is decent compared to other similar events. Think pizza, pasta, sandwiches and salads. Basic but it works for the total price of the event.
Final bits and mistakes folks make. If you plan on getting in LATE Friday and departing early Sunday you might as well not come as you are missing out on so much! Instead try to come early and volunteer to help setup and be part of the event. Get to know folks and chat. Be there at the start of the first session Friday. Also don’t depart until late Sunday to get max benefit. If you can even try to come Thursday as I will be organizing something fun in Chicago as well as a dinner meet-up somewhere to be determined.
Bottom line, this is a fun fall weekend and I hope you can attend. If you are not an IHG person there are a number of SPG, Marriott & Hyatt hotels close to the event in Elk Grove Village Illinois. – René