Why Are TPG Reader Meetups Only Open to Contest Winners?

by on June 15, 2014 · 21 comments

in Appearances, Giveaway, Reader Events, Sunday Reader Questions

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This week I decided to run a contest for TPG blog readers to win tickets to the Chicago Reader Meetup event in a couple weeks. I got some negative feedback in emails and on the blog post itself, so I wanted to explain why limiting admission to contest winners is done out of practicality, not out of ego.

One of my new year’s resolutions this year was to do more TPG Reader Meetups. I love meeting my readers whether it’s on flights, in the airport, at a Starbucks in South Beach, or elsewhere. We had a reader event after the New York Times travel show in March in New York. It was awesome: the cocktails were great, I got to meet a bunch of people, and it seemed like everyone had a really good time.

However, the demand for that event was more than what the room could accommodate, and unfortunately going forward with these events I can’t just open it up to the public. I’m not trying to toot my own horn and say that the blog is so popular and SO MANY people want to come, but the fact is that the site has grown exponentially. We’re about to hit one million monthly unique visitors, which we’re really excited about. We’ve got a great community, as you can see by the comments people offer back and forth on pretty much every post.

So when I go to a big city like Chicago, to simply open a meetup event to everyone just wouldn’t be productive. I don’t believe I’d have time to meet everyone, and it’s important to me that I have enough time to really engage my readers face to face, not just say hello and move on. Also, most venues cap our attendance, so I’d hate to travel across the country to meet readers and not be able to get into my own event!

We don’t skimp on our events; the venue (which we’ll announce to the winners soon) is pretty spectacular. We have giveaways, good food and free drinks; it’s a fun time, and I do wish you all could be there. I hope in the end that TPG readers understand I do this because I want to give back, and I’m so appreciative to all of you for making TPG what it is today and enabling me to do this as my full-time job.

I do appreciate the feedback, and I look forward to many more of these events across the country. The next cities on the short list are Miami and Los Angeles, and stay tuned for others.

As always, send me your questions by messaging me on Facebook, tweeting me @ThePointsGuy, or emailing me at [email protected]

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Travelkeys

    Perhaps St. Louis can be added to the list! :-)

  • Joe1981

    Man you just don’t get it, do you? Some people that read your blog may want to see you and say hi, or thank you, sure. That is not everybody . You DONT have to engage with everybody face to face. Granted this is your event, for your blog, so you do whatever you want with it. However, the way you word things make you sound like an ego-maniac. If you are doing an event for your readers, open it up, let people attend and have a fun time with each other discussing tricks and learning how to do things – it’s not just about YOU and “your crew”.

    And sure, your events may probably be at nice venues and offer good stuff but none of your readers could expect any less. You make money of your readers, new ones and old ones, all the time – A LOT of money I must add. So cheaping out of the question.

    You are not doing any of this with an agenda or from a bad place, we are all adults and know that. But you must consider that if you want to keep people reading your blogs you need to continue the good job with new and fresh content all the time so that WE can benefit, instead of making it about you. You have had several comments from several people that mention this, and it is not a plot against you. Pay more attention to what readers say and you will be better than you are.

    And by the way, take all this with a grain of salt. You can’t please everybody, but I thought I needed to tell you something I think you are oblivious to. You do a good job with this site and it is helpful, so don’t let people stop reading it just because they “don’t like you”. Good luck with your event.

  • dd

    It’d be awesome if you came to Boston

  • Juan Carlos Marquez

    TPG, would love to meet you down here in Miami when you have another event in the area. This year I have been very grateful to TPG as I have been able to accumulate tons of miles and points. Additionally, I have also done a lot of travelling thanks to the site. I would love to share my new-found knowledge and anecdotes, so sign me up whenever possible.

    Kind regards,

  • Joseph Alberts

    are you clueless? it’s about one issue–supply and demand. lots want to go, the venues TPG books can’t cope. too many guests = no time to engage with TPG/staff and leaves guests disappointed. get it together!

  • Al

    Nobody is arguing that – read the post from Joe1981 again as it seems you lack reading comprehension.

    As to your point, if it is about supply and demand then TPG needs to either pick bigger venues and open it up, or keep doing smaller venues and do private invites instead of showing the world what he is going to do with a particular group of people. It’s not complicated, Joseph. I think Joe1981 hit the nail in the head about the way TPG comes across to a lot of people that are interested in his blog content. I particular don’t care but I call it as I see it.

  • Joseph Alberts

    point taken. perhaps my preference for an event with legit interaction among TPG and the attendees is a bit different than some others who would choose a larger gathering open to all, regardless of TPG face time.

  • DMartin

    One inherent risk to any involvement with the public at large is being misunderstood, misinterpreted, etc. Just keep doing what you do, TPG. Some will not get it, but that’s life. Just because you reached this level of popularity doesn’t mean you have an obligation do to anything different.

  • JM

    Your video explanation adressing people’s concerns speaks volumes of you. Kudos, and thanks! May business continue to thrive; keep doing what you’re doing as you’re great at it.

  • Mr. Cool

    frequent flyer blog… not too crazy to fly to an event you know

  • Dan Nainan

    My goodness, we’re all adults but you are acting like a child! You are making it sound like a whole bunch of people are going to stop reading his site just because he’s not running his events the way you would like him to. Yes, he makes a ton of money doing this and for crying out loud he deserves it because it’s a real benefit, and on top of that It costs absolutely nothing.

    You’ve mentioned two or three times in your diatribe that people are going to run screaming and never read his blog again, but the opposite is true – there’s such a tremendous demand for his events because he has more and more readers.If you don’t like his blog or how he runs his events, then stop reading it. Problem solved. Or start your own blog and run your events the way you’d like. Something tells me his blog is not going to suddenly crumble if you stop reading it.

    Okay for TPG to come to your home or office and tell you how to do your job as well?

  • Donnie Berkholz

    I wouldn’t want to go solely to talk to you, or TPG staff in general. I would go to spend time with a community of like-minded people and share tips, kvetch, etc. Your goal should be to bring together that community, not to serve as some sort of Greek god on a pedestal. Start up monthly meetups even when you aren’t around, and attend them when you can.

  • John

    @Joe1981: right on with your comments. Well said.

  • Mike

    @dannainan:disqus: “diatribe”? Come on…fair comment from Joe1981. Gave the positives and the negatives. Your comments are not objective.

    Agree with Job1981.

  • Michael

    Are past TPG contest winners included?? That would be an
    extra bonus.

  • Christopher


  • LJA

    Agree 100%. With no disrespect meanty to you, TPG, I get to hear from you every day. A TPG-community meet up would be an excellent way to meet other people who share this level of interest in travel. That would be a real draw for me.
    I’ve kind of stopped enterting the contests for the most part as the odds seem pretty low. And with a million monthly unique visitors… well I’m sure they must be. When you think about it, the contest winners have already won something. And now, as the only ones invited to a meet-up, they get to win again.

  • dcsells

    Is this a gag comment? Seriously, a guy who provides daily FREE advice gives straightforward, plausible reasons why he has to limit the number of people at meetups that he has NO obligation to undertake in the first place–and your response is to jump all over him? Wow. Sorry, but you sound like a real asshole. You don’t like how he does things, go start your own blog, tough guy, and host your own events.
    “You make money of your readers, new ones and old ones, all the time – A LOT of money I must add. So cheaping out of the question.” [all sic] How do you know he isn’t using that money for, say, bandwidth as the site gets even more popular, or to compensate contributors so that there’s daily content, or any number of business expenses for a rapidly growing enterprise? Gee, maybe a business owner has to decide how to allocate his revenue, and he’s decided it’s not fiscally prudent to, say, rent out the entire top floor of the John Hancock Tower, particularly if it’s just to please ingrateful dickheads like yourself.
    “if you want to keep people reading your blogs you need to continue the good job with new and fresh content all the time so that WE can benefit.” Ah, there it is–the single sentence that perfectly encapsulates your entitlement mentality (with appropriate capitalization to boot).
    On second thought, maybe he should just shut the site down completely. Not only would it would leave you free to start a blog and host your own events however you please, but it would lower the chances that I will ever have to share a flight with the likes of your sorry ass.

  • Joe1981

    Are you his brother, best friend, or distant cousin? Your response got seriously out of hand and evidently you didn’t really care to read my post for what it was, perhaps because you have some sort of emotional attachment that I don’t know or care about. Since you seem to know it all, I’m going to respond to your own reply in a fashion probably a toddler would understand. I hope you can take it at face value and instead of coming back with another insulting response like the one you puked up there.

    The blog is his, and the content is chosen by him, and he makes money from it. There is nothing wrong with that and I specifically said he can and should do what he wants with it. Apparently you missed that part. Also, nobody is jumping over him but he decided to create and entire blog post with his reasons as to why his events are closed, which opens the door to reactions and comments. Just like I have the choice to read his blog or not, he has the choice to listen to his audience or not. Nobody is walking over him, I offered him fair points of view because he didn’t seem to really understand where the negativity was coming from.

    You really have to be kidding about money for bandwith (hosting you mean?, evidently you know nothing about this) and the rapidly growing “enterprise” part of it. This is not a manufacturing plant dcsells, it is a blog, in case you didn’t notice. So, the comment about cheaping out being not an option only has to do with the fact that he mentions he wants to do all this awesome things for readers, so evidently his readers will hold him accountable for that. If he’s doing great and wants to give a little back, then people will expect “giveaways” will be nice, and venues will be nice – it’s not entitlement, it’s what they call COMMON SENSE out in the real world. If on the other hand he prefers to give away $5 subway cards, then that’s his prerogative but its him who will be thought of as ungrateful, not his readers. By the way, I must add that I really truly hope TPG continues to make more money, becomes a zillionaire, and does well – this is absolutely nothing personal against him, it’s all fair commentary on his own blog post.

    The point of this blog (and any blog of this kind for that matter) is that TPG makes money off his referrals, links, etc. and we get to get rip some of the benefits from the content. We are getting the ultimate benefits from the companies themselves, and TPG is just a messenger out of many. He does a good job at it, and I really like his blog, so I will continue to read it, but other people may not. I don’t decide this, he doesn’t decide this, everybody does that on their own, So this has nothing to do with entitlement. He posts, hopes we click on his links, WE give HIM money, WE also get rip on the benefits. Do you know understand where I am coming from now? Oh, and by the way, your post is also full of capitalization as well, let alone disgraceful disrespect.

    Grow up, and moreover, learn how to read. It will help you in life, I promise.

  • Mark

    Maybe I’m just being too simplistic but why not vary the selection process for each meet up? Totally respect you want to keep it small so just announce in advance the cap and then either do it as a lottery, first come first serve, pass contest winners, people over 50, people under 30, blondes, etc.

    With the exception of a few wingnuts, I think the negative response stems from the fact hat 99.5% of your readers have ZERO chance of attending any of your events…..even if they are willing to travel.

    I’d also echo several peoples comments about going for the community/meet other TPG readers not necessarily to have a long conversion with you personally Brian….no offense meant.

  • Dan Nainan

    Brilliant, thank you dcsells!

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