Three accomplished speakers — three very different themes. That’s what delegates enjoyed on the educational front at the 2010 BankTravel Conference in Milwaukee.
“I thought Jeanne Robertson was hilarious and set a great tone for our entire meeting,” said conference vice president Teresa Burton. “Marc Mancini was as insightful about the bank travel business as ever. He really is a quick study. And Bill Geist was obviously knowledgeable about the evolution of social networking sites.”
Robertson was at the top of her game. One of the country’s most sought-after comedians for her woman’s perspective on things as mundane as grocery shopping, the statuesque speaker had the audience in stitches throughout her monologue.
“Jeanne is absolutely incredible,” said Rebecca Yarbrough of First Georgia Banking Company in Cornelia, Georgia. “She is a breath of fresh air. Some of my favorite memories on the bus with my customers come from listening to Jeanne on the road. I just love her story about rafting with ‘Left Brain.’ I want to thank Russ and Susan from Islands in the Sun for sponsoring her.”
“I loved Jeanne Robertson,” agreed Rob Callahan of First Midwest Bank in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. “I saw Jeanne last September along with Carl Hurley in Columbia, Missouri. I took my bank group to see them. My wife has been calling me Left Brain a lot recently.”
The following morning, thanks to sponsor Mayflower Tours, Mancini made a return to the BankTravel Conference. The celebrated travel industry consultant lost no time in engaging his audience.
Offering up lots of examples, he explored customer loyalty and how to achieve it — a theme that strikes at the heart of why banks create travel programs.
“Marc did a really good job,” said Yarbrough. “I have actually read a couple of his books — you didn’t know we bank directors took our jobs so seriously, did you? Marc did a great job on building customer loyalty. That’s what we do.
“We’re the front-line folks at these banks with a lot of core deposits. We can make or break those relationships with our travel programs, so Marc’s comments really made sense to us.”
Geist, the last speaker of the conference, was sponsored by East Coast Touring Company, and touched on a subject that banks struggle with due to privacy issues. Subject to FDIC regulations, banks are very careful about the use of the Internet by employees in general.
However, many attendees confirmed the use of Internet icons like Facebook in their daily lives at home, so the material was familiar.
“This is an area we have to be very careful with,” said Yarbrough. “Any bank should make sure they check with the compliance department on anything related to use of the Internet.
“Most of us in that room are Facebookers at home, but I would caution anyone to check with upper management before they do anything along these lines at the bank.”
Yarbrough was also a moderator for one of this year’s breakout sessions — the first-time attendee meeting. She recommended the experience to any banker who may be asked to volunteer.
“Our guys were so interactive,” she said. “We had a lot of fun. I think first-timers can really be intimidated at their first BankTravel, and this session puts them at ease.”
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