May202015

IPW 2015 Orlando bringing the world to America

IPW 2015 Orlando starts in ten days. U.S. Travel Association IPW is an annual convention that was called International Pow Wow for many years, until acronymed to IPW a couple years back. This will be my 5th IPW convention since attending San Francisco 2011.

IPW 2015 is a travel trade show based on appointments connecting buyers with travel providers. This is the largest travel trade show in the USA and is projected to create $4.7 billion in future travel spending in the U.S.

These IPW conferences are huge, exceeding 5,000 registered attendees with a massive convention center filled with booths and thousands of travel industry representatives from every part of the United States.

Want to book a tour for 30 German motorcyclists to ride across the Badlands of South Dakota? This is the place where those travel buyers and providers meet. Want to field offers for a group of 60 Japanese tourists wanting lodging in Miami Beach? IPW is where those buyers can meet a variety of lodging representatives from Miami Beach properties and make the connections to make travel deals happen.

IPW Las Vegas Canada market

The Showcase of U.S. Travel

In 2011, when I first asked to attend International Pow Wow in San Francisco, I had no idea what to expect. I had only heard of the U.S. Travel Association the month before when this organization started a thing called Daily Getaways offering hotel points deals.

Loyalty Traveler – Making Contact at International Pow Wow 2011 San Francisco (May 29, 2011)

The fascinating aspect of IPW is the all-out showcase of each host city.

2011 San Francisco

2012 Los Angeles

2013 Las Vegas

2014 Chicago

2015 Orlando

My article link to San Francisco mentions the parties where Pier 39 and Alcatraz Island were reserved for convention guests with food and bars complimentary in two dozen restaurants, an evening in Golden Gate Park at the California Academy of Sciences and a closing night party in San Francisco City Hall.

Los Angeles IPW had an evening at Universal Studios. I rode most every ride twice, most with Mary Jo Manzaneres. At the end of the evening, when I was in line to board the bus back to downtown L.A., a man grabbed my arm. Turned out to be my singer cousin, who tours regularly with Frankie Valli, and he had performed on stage in Universal Studios that night. I have never seen him perform on stage and that night I missed his show again, too busy taking free rides.

There was a press party at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles.

Exclusive access to visit museums and popular sites is an incredible experience that is a major perk of being an IPW attendee. Saturday and Sunday weekend prior to IPW appointment meetings on Monday, there are dozens of tours provided by local companies for several thousand attendees.

During past IPW conventions, I have taken a bicycle tour to the Golden Gate Bridge, biked Santa Monica to Venice Beach with rental companies like Blazing Saddles and cruised San Pedro Harbor, the port of Los Angeles.

Loyalty Traveler – Impressions of Los Angeles

In Las Vegas, I was in a group of about 50 IPW visitors who had airplane rides over the Grand Canyon. Amazing experience on a scorching June day when the temperature hit a record 117 degrees. I was mostly getting hit by sun through the small aircraft window and I kept wrapping ice cubes in my bandanna and wrapping it around my neck to stay cool in the roasting plane.

Loyalty Traveler – Flight over the Grand Canyon.

That adventure was the day after hiking in the Valley of Fire State Park and riding around in a bus with no air conditioning and a digital temperature gauge reading 122F inside the bus.

Valley of Fire

Scorpion corpse in Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada or my petrified brain?

I loved the desert adventures and it just goes to show that even when trying to showcase the tourist activities for an area, weather can fuck up great travel itinerary plans.

Chicago is memorable for the Chicago World’s Fair 1893 and Devil in the White City tour.

Loyalty Traveler – Field Museum, 1893 Chicago World’s Fair and Ferris Wheel

The Devil in the White City is a detailed history novel of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair and its significance in rushing rural USA into the 20th century with modern electrical and mechanical devices. The aspect of the book that makes it a best seller is the interwoven true story of a serial killer doctor who murders his victims during the World’s Fair in his Chicago hotel.

Fenelon Place-1

This funicular railway in Dubuque, Iowa was built in 1882 by a banker as a quicker way to get to his hilltop mansion for lunch breaks from his downtown office. The railway was improved in 1894 with rail cars seen at the Chicago World’s Fair 1893.

Loyalty Traveler – Hey L.A., looks like Fenelon Place Dubuque beats Angels Flight for shorter incline railway (April 3, 2014)

Lake Apopka, Florida

I am registered for a Visit Florida IPW-sponsored trip to Lake Apopka in ten days, before the start of IPW meetings. Last year I did not see an alligator until five days into a seven day road trip when I spotted alligators in Sewee Environmental and Education Center, north of Charleston, South Carolina. This is a great place to spend an hour or two if you are driving that way.

Alligator-2

Lake Apopka is the fourth largest lake in Florida, about 15 miles north of Orlando. The lake was severely polluted in the past 50 years and the site has been a massive restoration project for the past 20 years. One of the aspects I have studied during my travels in recent years is the renewal and restoration of land for parks and businesses in places that have been polluted and former industrial areas converted to revitalized residential and business areas.

Hope the weather is good and I see alligators on my first day in central Florida.

I’ll be in meetings, at parties and in the outdoors for six days in Orlando and five days on a road trip to Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, Tennessee.

IPW Orlando 2015 evening events include opening night at Walt Disney World Resort, a night at SeaWorld Orlando and closing night at Universal Orlando Resort.

Stay tuned for posts from Florida about some of the hot action with cold beer, good food and free rides. I’ll also try to get more photos of the thousands of travel booths at IPW, since I apparently did not photograph them during the last two IPW conventions since I purchased my Nikon DSLR.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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