FOMO hits me hard when I see that people I like are enjoying themselves without my company. Such was the case when Zorkfest 2017 launched earlier this month in Atlantic City. Created by TravelZork founder Michael Trager, Zorkfest is a conference I would actually enjoy attending.
Typical conference breakout sessions are lead by people simply looking to pad their resume, not offering much by way of tangible advice, spare a few exceptions. From what I saw and heard from Zorkfest attendees, that simply wasn’t the case. Like all conferences, there is an admission fee. However, it’s a rare event as not only are the speakers engaging and knowledgeable, you can also easily gauge how much money you’ll actually be saving or making by attending. From my observations, most attendees more than got their money’s worth.
The conference covers money and point maximization across the casino and traveling world, thus my natural interest. I talked with Trager about what is in store for Zorkfest 2018. Here are some of the highlights of our discussion:
TFB- So what are the tentative plans for Zorkfest 2018?
Trager – The major takeaways are that the location is Las Vegas. There still will be a cocktail reception on Friday night. After the cocktail reception, I’m looking to have an optional, cool group dinner because I love entertaining.
TFB – And what can you tell us now about the conference sessions?
Trager – The full day, Saturday, is going to be set up very similar to those of Zorkfest 2017 (schedule linked). There will be sessions on travel and casino loyalty, with simultaneous sessions running. There will be an open cash bar.
My idea for Sunday is that it is going to be an optional day. This day will feature more advanced sessions on travel and loyalty subjects including manufactured spending, travel hacking concepts, and more in-depth discussions on casino loyalty and advantage play.
There will also be an optional loyalty “brunch and learn”. When you sign up for Zorkfest, you get the cocktail reception on Friday and the Saturday sessions. For some people, that’s as much as they can or want to handle. By making Sunday an optional day, that gives the people who want a little bit more in-depth coverage to be able to pick and choose what they want.
TFB – What is the general schedule as it relates to the intraday timeline?
Trager – Saturday is a full day-basically, 9 am to 6 pm. But you don’t have to do everything. You can do part of it, it doesn’t matter. Sunday, we are going to do the brunch and it will be around 11:30 to 12:30. This will be a learning opportunity, similar to our “ask me anything” from the previous Zorkfest. Then, we will just have two session periods running after that. One will be from 1 – 2:30, one will be from 3 – 4:30. We will be having two or three running simultaneously. These will be, essentially, three optional things they can pay for. The only stipulation is that you need to pay for the regular conference to be able to attend the optional sessions.
TFB – Any other new things in works right now?
Trager – ZorkAir. We think we can get a 35 seat private jet from Los Angeles to Vegas. So those in the LA area will be able to do a private jet flight to Vegas and it’s not going to be much more expensive than standard airfare. These plans are still early, but it’s exciting to mention.
A big thanks to Michael for chatting with me. I know there will be more exciting news being announced soon! If you want to hear more about the Zorkfest experience, here are a couple blogs and podcasts which discuss their time:
Cousin Vito’s Casino Podcast – Zorkfest Trip Report
Due for a Win Podcast – Recapping Zorkfest
Vegas Confessions Podcast – Zorkfest Specials
Bethany Walsh of Miles to Memories – Zorkfest: Event Combining Travel Hacking and Casino Loyalty
NE Time Gambling – Zorkfest AC Was a Blast