In the past few years, there has been an increase in travel content creators, which lead to more travel blogging conferences and summits dedicated to the travel industry for creators to network with like-minded people and to learn very useful lessons.
In this post, I will cover three areas: five reasons why you should attend at least one travel blogging conference or a summit, how to prepare yourself if you are coming to one or more and how to network with other bloggers and brands like a pro.
You might wonder if it’s a good idea to invest in a ticket to go to travel conferences or summits especially that you can learn from free YouTube tutorials and make friends from Travel Facebook Groups.
Yes the world online is full of immense possibilities, but honestly NOTHING beats the real life in person connection. You can learn quicker and form much deeper connections.
The first creative blogging conference I ever attended was Blogtacular 2015. It was an annual conference dedicated to blogging, where you go to a day filled with creative workshops, bright colours and mega inspiring speakers.
I was a little nervous going there since I was going alone and I didn’t know anyone in person. I have chatted to them on the weekly twitter chat though.
I knew I wanted to go and it was a great decision. I met friendly people just 5 minutes from going in and I am still in touch with those people! I also had a huge surge of creativity after going.
After my positive experience there, I headed to more blogging conferences and I will tell you, why you should go as well!
My niche changed from blogging about most things to being focused on travels. So, I started focusing on attending events within my specific travel niche such as World Travel Market, Traverse, Power of Video, Keyframe and the multiple events hosted by BAME Women in Travel.
The highlight in all of them was meeting people and forming a support network of people who understand the challenges and the work in being a blogger.
Five reasons to attend Travel Blogging Conferences
Creative Hub of Ideas
I absolutely love conferences that are aimed at content creators. The energy you get is so contagious. I also get so many ideas and my brain gets usually filled with creativity rush, which gets me started on many projects!
If you don’t have time to apply all the brilliant ideas you will think of, make sure that you are at least writing them down to revisit later.
As a blogger or a content creator you have to wear many hats and know a number of skills from being able to write compelling stories to being able to market yourself to working with brands.
Blogging conferences are usually a day or two of very useful sessions such as teaching you how to pitch to brands, improve your SEO, learn new software that could help you create good content and so on.
The sessions are usually an hour, so they can’t tell you all the secrets of the trade in that very short amount of time, but you can make notes of specific things that you can either research later or chat to the speaker about after the session.
Making friends and networking with bloggers is my highlight for all the events I attend. I speak to so many people online and those friendships don’t happen the same way especially that blogging is home based and that can get lonely.
When you meet people in person you can tell if you can vibe with them and include them in your circle. That sense of people only happens in person.
You can exchange your personal details, get to spend a bit of time together and hopefully stay in touch long term. I am still friends with some of the ladies I met in Blogtacular 2015!
Motivation to Keep Creating and Sharing
When you are working from home working on creating your content, you can feel a little unmotivated, but with all the people you will meet and the lessons you will learn, you will have that motivation you need.
You can also suggest collaborative posts with the bloggers you meet and that will lead to more work for everyone.
After attending travel blogging conferences for over three years, I became a speaker last year in a few events. Having that position to speak and educate others was great because I was able to transfer all the lessons I learnt from writing, filming and sharing on social media to others to help them through their own journey in finding their own voice.
I also wrote a little e-book called “Keep on Sharing” to help starting content creators build their brand and content from all the things I learnt in the past few years | Buy on Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com
I am especially excited to announce that I will be speaking at the Women in Travel Summit in Riga THIS November. I will be surrounded by likeminded women who are putting their content forward to give value to our travel community.
The Women in Travel Summit (WITS) is the premier event for travel's top marketing talent. Creative entrepreneurs, influencers, DMOs, and industry come together to discuss future innovations, build dynamic collaborations, and change travel worldwide, all while supporting and empowering a diverse community of women.
WITS Riga is our seventh conference, and our first European event. The event will be held at the centrally-located Radisson Blu Latvija Conference & Spa in Riga, Latvia from November 8-10, 2019.
Join the Women in Travel Summit
The Women in Travel Summit is coming to Europe for the first time and they work with a range of very inspiring women who will fill your heart and your mind with all the energy you need. It will take place in Riga, Latvia, which will probably be my 36th country!
Get a 15% off your ticket if you use my name ESRA in the promotional code space! :)
How to prepare yourself for a travel blogging conference?
If I have convinced you to come join us the Women in Travel Summit this year or encouraged you to attend any of the other fabulous ones that happen at other times of the year, then there are a few tips you need to keep in mind to prepare yourself!
Book your conference ticket early
A lot of the travel conferences offer early bird tickets and flash sales, so make sure you are following them on social media to stay in the loop because that is the best time to book for the ticket. Leaving it last minute will mean an increase of the price!
Book your plane ticket right away
Plane tickets change prices really quickly and since a lot of people are going to book their tickets to come to the same conference, the flights will sell out even quicker. The best way is to check cheap flight options on Skyscanner. I found amazing Ryanair flights for £12.99 each way!
Also, make sure you give yourself two days before and two days after the conferences because there will be group tours that you can sign up to arranged by the event organisers.
Book the same hotel or one near by
The conference organisers will choose a venue or a hotel to host the event and staying in the same place or a very close one will make your life much easier. Most of the times, the organisers will have a media rate as well in the same venue, which might workout cheaper for you.
Get a roommate
If you are not comfortable staying alone in a new city or you want to keep the costs down, then it might be a good idea to find a roommate who is also going to the conference.
If you don’t know anyone personally, get into the Facebook group that every conference will probably have and ask around!
See the hosting city
One of the fun things about going to travel conferences in Europe is that they are hosted in different cities every year and working with tourism brands, so schedule in some time if you can to actually see the city and explore further so you can do a video or a blog post about it!
When I went to KeyFrame in March, I made sure to stay a few extra days to see the hosting city, Hamburg, that I haven’t visited before and made a video on the places to visit in Hamburg, so double win!!
How to network in a travel blogging conference?
As I said earlier, networking and making friends is a major highlight for me. Sometimes I get really nervous about it and I have to get out of my ow head and just try my best to smile.
Read about presenters
When I sign up to an event, the first thing I do is check the presenters list to see if I know anyone. Knowing more about them helps me decide if I want to attend their sessions and I can know what questions to ask them when I actually meet them.
It’s nice to speak to someone with some information about them. People are always impressed if you have read a book they wrote or watched something they filmed.
Check the attendees list
You can check who is attending on the event facebook group and twitter via the event’s hashtag. I am not only talking about presenters and other attendees, but also brands to see how you could work with.
Start chatting online
Chances are there is a facebook group or a twitter chat arranged by the event, so get on it and start making connections! This will help you if you are trying to find roommates or other people to hang out with during the conference.
Choose your schedule
It is good to be organised and the schedule is usually announced in advance. It is good to make a note of what you want to attend and when it is just to organise yourself.
Circulate like a bee
The way I do it, is I go in the room, quickly scan it and see gaps in gatherings, where I can go and randomly join their conversations. Bloggers are usually nice about it and they would let you into their circle.
It is okay to move on to another group if you don’t vibe with people. You are there to benefit and enjoy. No point forcing yourself.
First thing I do after saying hi to people is hand them my business card because who even remembers anyone after two intense days of multiple conversations and endless amount of people.
It’s also a good way to get everyone else’s business cards to follow them on social media and include them in tweets and so on.
I get my business cards made at Moo cards they are my favourite. I think their mini and square cards are very cute and you can even choose different images to go on the back.
There are usually brands and tourism boards in travel conferences and it looks great if you are fully prepared. I usually have a little media kit printed in a postcard size that I print from Moo Cards. I designed this one that you see below in Canva on one of their free template.
The main information you need to include in your media kit is your brand name, tagline, social media numbers, personal introductions, what you can offer them and all your usual stats that you should be tracking by using Google Analytics.
Dress smart casual with very comfortable shoes. There will be a lot of standing especially during networking sessions and you don’t want to do it in heels or painful shoes. The day starts from 9am and doesn’t end till 6pm.
I get my smart casual shoes from Clarks shoes and Tom’s shoes. They are usually good at making my feet happy and making me look cute.
Attend socials and parties
Annual blogging conferences will usually host a party or three and it happens the night before the conference start and probably another one afterwards. It is good to attend and start chatting with people.
As a practicing Muslim some of the parties are too much with alcohol and the club vibe, so I usually go really early and stay for an hour and leave.
Travel Blogging Conferences 2020
If you are a planner, then it will be a very good idea to sign up in the newsletters of:
Women in Travel Summit - November
Traverse - March, June and September
Blogtacular - June
BAME women in Travel - Various
Make sure you check the dates because sometimes they change.
I hope you found this post useful! I look forward to seeing you in the Women in Travel Summit this November in Riga! Come say hi if you see me xx