The last time we all saw each other in person at Tessitura's annual TLCC conference was three years back in Chicago. Maybe you’re brand-new to working at an arts and culture organization, or maybe this year is your first time at a conference after being in your role for a few years, or maybe – like us – you’re a little rusty at this whole traveling across the country (... or the globe) for a big industry conference thing.
With that in mind, in anticipation of TLCC Denver (August 14-17, 2022) kicking off in just a few short weeks, we bring you Made’s First Timers’ Guide to TLCC.
- Make a packing list - and stick to it. Sprawling Gaylord resorts are full of fun features and can accommodate a big crowd, but by that same token are often a bit isolated. The frequent travelers’ refrain of if I didn’t pack it, I can get one when I get there is a bit of a challenge when you’re dependent on a hotel gift shop or convenience store to replace your essentials.
- Oh, did we say sprawling? Consider packing comfortable shoes and get ready to have an easy time reaching your daily step count!
- But that said, pack light if you can. We’ve all heard about the chaos that the airline industry is in at the moment, especially with lost luggage. The conference is just four days, so consider building your conference fashion strategy around a capsule wardrobe of versatile clothing that can transition from day to evening activities and can fit in a carry-on suitcase – just don’t forget your swimsuit!
- Check out the conference portal and app to build your itinerary, make connections, and prep a list of questions to ask and people to meet. Did you spot that there's also a special First-timer's Lounge at the Opening Reception?
Arrival & Getting Settled
- Coordinate travel from the airport to the conference hotel with colleagues. On the same flight with folks from your own or other organizations? Consider teaming up to share an Uber XL or other transportation options.
- If your flight arrives earlier in the day, it’s always a good idea to call ahead to the hotel and see if they can accommodate an early check in. At the very least they’ll be able to hold your luggage while you check out the resort amenities ahead of the crowds – so make sure you’ve got easy access to your swimming togs.
- If you’re traveling across time zones, make sure that your calendar is up-to-date for your current location for any meetings or gatherings. It would be a shame to miss anything because of a time snafu!
Make New Friends
- One thing we’re looking forward to this year is the Opening Reception that kicks off the conference Sunday night – we can’t wait to see old friends and make some new ones. Come and find us in the Sponsor Zone and say hello.
- Speaking of social fun, keep an eye out for your very exclusive invite to the Made Social on Tuesday evening.
Push Your Boundaries
- Pluck up the courage to attend sessions outside of your specialization that sound interesting. One of the joys of TLCC is learning the ways you can support your colleagues back home by expanding your skill set by sitting in on sessions on topics that are new to you. Take a look at the schedule with an open mind and no doubt you’ll find your way to the right panels for you.
- Suggest or attend Open Spaces. These informal discussions are planned and scheduled on the first day of the conference by your fellow attendees, and they’re a great opportunity to meet other people who are facing the same challenges you are.
- We can’t emphasize this one enough – don’t be afraid to ask questions during Q&A portions of sessions. As far as we know, there’s no such thing as a stupid question – especially at TLCC! See someone from an organization whose work you admire? Don’t be afraid to ask that burning question about how they get things done.
- If you’ve got questions about working with Made on a website redesign project or strategy project – or want to find out more about any of our myriad products and services – including BlocksOffice, MonkeyWrench, and SeatCurve – be sure to stop by our sponsor room anytime during the conference. Our crack team of API experts, digital content gurus, and ticketing path pros will be standing by to answer any questions you may have.
- Even if the conference is a few days long – it’s a marathon, not a sprint! Overdid it last night or a little jetlagged? Overwhelmed from so many new faces and conversations? If you need some time to recharge, hit the Lazy River and enjoy some fresh Rocky Mountain air!
Coping with Altitude
- Speaking of Rocky Mountain air, be sure to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate – especially if you’re usually living at a lower altitude. While you’re not at the highest altitude in the region, Denver does boast a semi-arid climate with lots of sunshine, and the city’s tourism board recommends drinking twice as much water as you normally do if you’re not from a similar geographic or climate area.
- Obviously we can’t make you have a good time at TLCC, but we’re pretty sure that with all the amazing resources on offer for the community and the fun social events (we’d be remiss if we didn’t give a big shout-out to The Tessiturians’ scheduled appearance at the closing party), you’ll find yourself having an incredible experience, whether it’s your first conference or your fifteenth.
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