Starting Monday, VendingMarketWatch has presented podcast interviews with attendees at the National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) Gratitude Tour in New York City last Friday. VendingMarketWatch readers should listen to these podcasts to get a feel for where the industry is heading and what opportunities lay ahead.The Gratitude Tours in Boston and New York City, two ofseven scheduled through October, have generated a lot of buzz from newspapers and TV stations.The Gratitude Tour, as Ive noted, offers more than a chance for the public to become better acquainted with vending technology. Its also a chance for industry members to learn how vending technology creates new customer experiences.NAMAs industry growth strategy, of which the Gratitude Tour is one element, is focused on Generation Y, but it was evident from the consumer input that people of all ages are intrigued by new vending experiences. This confirms NAMAs contention that consumers of all ages are following Gen Ys lifestyle habits.There were some interesting exchanges at the Gratitude Tour that could not have happened in any other venue.A 31-year-old man by the name of Adam Rich, founder and editor of Thrillist, a daily email that recommends hot deals in food, drinks, gear, services and entertainment, showed up in New York to learn more about what vending has to offer todays busy consumer.Mike Disenna, a 34-year-old executive from Bug Labs, an innovation partner for Fortune 500 organizations that helps organizations innovate in the rapidly growing M2M and Internet of Things markets, showed up to find out more about how vending technology is changing vending.These are individuals whose awareness of vending can potentially improve the industrys acceptance and further its development. And they are not likely to learn about vending any other way; they are not likely to attend vending expos.The Gratitude Tour also created a spirit of cooperation among industry members. Canteen Vendings metro New York/New Jersey district set up several exhibits in addition to their own exhibit featuring their 2bU machine, a beverage/snack glassfront with LCD screen that carries product that is locally sourced, organic, all natural, vegan, gluten-free or kosher. Special thanks goes to Ron Ehrhardt, regional vice president for Canteens metro New York/New Jersey districts dining and vending services.There are five more Gratitude Tours remaining; vending operators should make it a point to attend them and see for themselves what promise the future holds.