Conferences Don’t Have to Be All Business…

Imagine combining your networking time, learning new tips and tricks for your store all while visiting an amazing place you can extend into a vacation.  That’s what you can do with these different conferences all slated for 2018 across the world– we present 5 coming up (plus 9 bonus ones you can download for free!).

1) Digiday Retail Summit

AUSTIN
February 21-23, 2018

Best For: E-commerce retailers, sales managers, digital marketers, and brand managers

Learn how the “Amazon effect” is changing the digital marketplace. Even if you’re just competing with the Amazon marketplace, you need to be aware of its disruptive consequences for the industry.

This event will help you to understand how customer expectations have shifted due to the Amazon effect.  Speakers will present motivational stories with actionable strategies for retail success.

Event Highlights

Here’s a few select speakers from the event:

And while you’re there…Austin is famous for:

Locals Say: Must-see
While the thought of visiting a presidential library may sound like a bore, this one is an exception. Dedicated to the 36th president of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson’s library houses all the expected artifacts – including presidential papers – as well as several more quirky exhibits that are just as interesting as the president himself. From presidential holiday cards to photographs chronicling the Civil Rights era and an LBJ robot, this museum uses all types of mediums to narrate the president’s life and political career. According to recent visitors, the library provides an interesting view of American history during President Johnson’s tenure.
Locals say: Highly Recommended
A trip to the “Live Music Capital of the World” wouldn’t be complete without discovering some of Austin’s up-and-coming talent along Sixth Street. After drastic restoration took place in an effort by the National Register of Historic Places to save the area from its grungy reputation, this area became the hub of Austin’s music scene in the 1970s.
For more stuff to see and do in Austin, you can check TripAdvisor’s Austin list or USNews’ Top Sites in Austin.

2) eTail West

PALM SPRINGS
February 26-March 1, 2018

Best for:  Online retailers and marketers

One of several eTail events throughout 2018, but this one has a great location for mid-winter getaways!  eTail conferences are the premier educational and networking events of the online retail industry.

From their humble origins, eTail now plays host to some of the most influential executives and thought leaders in the e-commerce industry.  Well-attended, these conferences are great for those looking to make meaningful connections, develop business opportunities, and expand their careers.

Event Highlights

Here’s a few select speakers from the event:

And while you’re there…Palm Springs is famous for:

The Palm Springs Art Museum, which was founded in 1938, contains a stunning collection of works, including pieces by big names like Andy Warhol and Marc Chagall. You’ll also find an ever-changing list of rotating exhibits, which have included studies of impressionism, contemporary sculpture, pop and graphic art, and architecture. The facility’s permanent collection is not to be missed, either.
Joshua Tree National Park is an oasis in the center of the desert. From Hidden Valley (which features a nice, easy hike) to the Cholla Cactus Garden (home to many a photo op at sunset), Joshua Tree caters to a variety of active travelers. Meanwhile, with its perch in the Little San Bernardino Mountains, the Keyes View lookout is another great place for a spectacular view of the Coachella Valley.
For more stuff to see and do in Palm Springs, you can check TripAdvisor’s Palm Springs list or USNews’ Top Sites in Palm Springs.

3) Customer Success Summit

SAN FRANCISCO
March 5-6, 2018

Best for: E-commerce entrepreneurs, customer service managers, and digital marketers

Thought leaders and experts alike will join you at the 2018 Customer Success Summit to identify more intelligent ways to engage with your customers and keep them smiling.

See positive outcomes for your business with more advanced methodologies for building customer relationships, perceptions, and interactions. Use proven strategies to succeed with customers in all your e-commerce and retail activities.

Event Highlights

Here’s a few select speakers from the event:

And while you’re there…San Francisco is famous for:

Locals Say: Recommended
While riding a cable car and getting a photo of the Golden Gate is a must when visiting San Francisco, both visitors and travel experts tend to argue the same for Alcatraz. This is because Alcatraz is rich with history. Sitting on a small, rocky island in the middle of San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz is most known as being a former federal prison that housed some of society’s biggest offenders, the most famous of which was Prohibition-era mob boss Al Capone. Before that, it was a military prison that housed prisoners from the Spanish-American War and Civil War, as well as the site of the West Coast’s first operating lighthouse. The prison closed down both times due to high operating costs and was handed over to the National Park Service in 1972 after the island experienced a short occupation from Native American activists. Today, the attraction sees about one million visitors per year.
Locals Say: Must See
Attention all foodies: this delectable attraction needs to be at the top of your San Francisco to-do list. The Ferry Building Marketplace is a public food market that features a variety of food stalls that act as small restaurants, snack stops and grocery stores. Here you can find everything from staples, such as seafood, burgers, Mexican food and plenty of coffee, to a Japanese delicatessen, empanada stand, nut shop and a cheese and dairy bar.
For more stuff to see and do in San Francisco, you can check TripAdvisor’s San Francisco list or USNews’ Top Sites in San Francisco.

4) ETail Asia

SINGAPORE
March 6-8, 2018

Best for:  Online retailers and marketers

One of several eTail events throughout 2018, but this one is in the cuisine capital of Asia, Singapore!  eTail conferences are the premier educational and networking events of the online retail industry.

From their humble origins, eTail now plays host to some of the most influential executives and thought leaders in the e-commerce industry.  Well-attended, these conferences are great for those looking to make meaningful connections, develop business opportunities, and expand their careers.

Event Highlights

Here’s a few select speakers from the event:

And while you’re there…Singapore is famous for:

The district of Marina Bay is considered to be Singapore’s tourism epicenter. Marina Bay houses some of the city’s main points of interest as well as numerous opportunities for entertainment like the ArtScience Museum and The Float at Marina Bay (the world’s largest floating stadium). You’ll also find the Singapore Flyer, Gardens By the Bay and Merion Park, some of the city’s best lookout spots overlooking the bay. And although many features will draw your eye, the centerpiece of Marina Bay is the Marina Bay Sands resort. You name it, this complex probably has it: a world-class casino, multiple nightclubs, performance halls, shops and spectacular overnight accommodations. Plus, don’t miss the Sands SkyPark, an elevated open-air concourse that crowns the resort.
While we certainly encourage you to visit the neighborhoods of Little India, Chinatown and Kampong Glam (the Malay district), there’s one place to preview the enormous diversity of Asian societies in Singapore. For this one-stop cultural shop, head to the Asian Civilizations Museum (ACM). This facility offers a broad survey Pan-Asian civilizations, including China, Southeast Asia and West Asia, with artwork and 1,300 artifacts from all corners of the continent. Wander through galleries and exhibitions and you’ll find a diverse array of relics, such as religious sculptures, ornate furniture, Chinese ceramics and even remnants from a shipwreck.
For more stuff to see and do in Singapore, you can check TripAdvisor’s Singapore list or USNews’ Top Sites in Singapore.

5) Shoptalk

LAS VEGAS
March 18-21, 2018

Best for: E-commerce entrepreneurs

Shoptalk aims to explore the rapid revolution in customer behavior, technology use, preferences, and expectations. Bringing together over 7,500 attendees and 300 speakers from 3,000 companies, it promises to be an extremely insightful event.

Whether you are a startup or an established company, learn what makes your customer tick, and how to better adapt your business to the contemporary consumer.

Event Highlights

Here’s a few select speakers from the event:

And while you’re there…Las Vegas is famous for:

Locals Say: Recommended
Back in the day, not even Vegas’ neon lights could distract Americans from Sin City’s darker side; today, The Mob Museum sheds light on the city’s pervasiveness in the 20th century gangster era. Las Vegas’ former federal courthouse – located in the downtown area a few blocks northeast of the Fremont Street Experience – now houses distinct interactive exhibits devoted to exposing America’s mob history.
Locals Say: Must-see
Las Vegas knows how to go big – especially when it comes to entertainment. So it should come as no surprise that a performance company like Cirque du Soleil thrives here. Translating to “Circus of the Sun,” Cirque du Soleil is known for its incredible acrobatic feats, which are performed with an unrivaled level of artistry.
For more stuff to see and do in Las Vegas, you can check TripAdvisor’s Las Vegas list or USNews’ Top Sites in Las Vegas.

Want even MORE destinations? Download our free guide with

Some Final Thoughts about Conferences that turn into Vacations

You need to be aware of some things when it comes to expenses and deductions in order to properly account for these trips in your business ledger and tax forms.  Here are a few final tips to consider:

Is my Conference Deductible?

You are able to expense your travel to a convention as long as you can prove it’s directly related to your trade or profession. In addition, the IRS also considers the location of your conference or convention. Conferences with a unique venue and subject aren’t a problem, but if you have a conference that’s more local you could have attended to get the same thing, rather than in, say the Seychelles, they might frown upon it.

The IRS can be picky about things though.  You should be familiar with, and most likely speak with a tax advisor, on the important rules laid out in the IRS’ Pub 463.

Specifically Which Expenses Are Deductible? 

Your transportation costs (like airfare, taxis, airport parking) make up a large part of any trip.  You’re able to fully expense these costs as long as you meet the criteria set above. Other allowable expenses can add up too. IRS Pub 463 has the gory details, but here are a few key points to be aware of:

  • For every day that’s considered business, you are able to deduct ALL of your hotel/lodging, car rentals/taxi and tips. So, if your entire trip to Mexico includes 7 days of business and 4 extra personal days, you will be able to deduct your hotel bill for only those business days (and sadly, not for the extra vacation days).
  • For every day that’s considered business, you can deduct 50 percent of your food costs.  Be sure to keep track of these receipts separately for easy tax-time break-out.
  • Other travel-related expenses that are “ordinary and necessary” are also deductible (such as laundry or airline bag fees).
  • Family expenses besides yourself are NOT deductible, unless your spouse/partner is also part of the business and traveling for the same reason.

Above All, Keep Documentation and Receipts

You’re tracking everything else about your business, make sure you save those hotel invoices, meal receipts and taxi slips.  You’ll be glad you did come tax time.

Don’t forget the free guide with 9 bonus conferences. 

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