In Denver for my first IPW experience
I have had a fantastic time here in Denver attending the IPW (International Pow Wow) travel conference. Each year I attend several travel conferences in order to learn about emerging markets, new attraction offerings, professional development, etc. Making contacts with destination, hotels, tour and attraction representatives is very helpful in planing my travels for the coming years. This was my very first time attending IPW, which happened to be celebrating its 50th anniversary. IPW is focused solely on promoting U.S. tourism, mainly to an international audience.
I knew IPW was a big conference, but I had no idea just what an impact it would have on a host destination. Media outlets from around the world were in attendance and the entire city was blanketed with IPW signage. Everywhere you walked, you would see someone with an IPW badge on. The city was abuzz!
IPW is one of the most beneficial conferences I have attended in terms of contacts, but it was also one of the most fun. From the local tours, events and parties, it was five days of pure excitement and revelry. From an entertainment point of view, the musical acts were certainly a highlight. There were lunchtime performances by 80s sensation, the B-52s, to Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20. Then, there was the grand finale, a private party at Red Rocks with one of my favorite bands, also local to Denver…OneRepublic! It was simply a sensational show and overall experience.
Something that became evident to me is seeing the dramatic shift occurring in the industry from traditional travel journalists, to bloggers/content creators like me. As a matter of fact, I ran into at least a dozen travel blogger friends of mine, all of whom was their first time to IPW as well.
It had been a really long time since I had last visited Denver, and I have to say, it has grown into a world-class city. The downtown areas where the conference was held is chock full of entertainment venues, restaurants, clubs and art galleries, all ensconced within some wonderful architecture and re-purposed buildings.
Tomorrow I head to Boulder for the start of a short FAM (familiarization) tour. Then, I head back to Phoenix for a few weeks to plan for a five week trip to Europe.