The first time I heard about the World Travel Market, WTM, in London was in 2015 at the Blogtacular annual conference from Monica, founder of The Travel Hack. She said if you want to go to only one travel event for the whole year, make it the World Travel Market and she was right. It was a great decision to go back in 2016 and I am planning to go again this year for sure. I already have my press pass ready to go.
In a nutshell, I loved WTM for all the tips I got and all the new blogging friends I made and still friends with two years later. As I spoke to few new travel bloggers, I realised a lot of them didn’t know much about WTM or why it’s even important to go.
What is World Travel Market?
It's known as WTM and it's an annual event that happens every November in London, where tourism board, travel agencies, some hotels and other travel related brands come together in one place. There are also few talks run by travel organisations for bloggers and content creators. I liked the ones from 2016 and I already added the 2018 talks that I want to go to into my calendar like the next two years of influencer platforms, Instagram and travel, women in travel and so on.
By the way, WTM takes place in the Excel and it’s HUGE with SO MANY people and lunch time has massive queues, but once you get over the crowd and follow the map to find your way, you will be fine. Make sure that you are also wearing very comfortable shoes!
Why is it a good idea to go to WTM London?
You don’t have to go every year, but going every couple years is very good and here are few reasons:
You will learn about the travel market trends and know about new hot destinations and about where the travel industry is heading.
You can attend useful and informative seminars about being a digital influencer and creator.
You will network IN PERSON! You can show more of your personality and collect a lot of personal cards that you can spend the following week after WTM emailing to open a line of opportunities your way!
You will make new blogging friends. We all know that blogging can be lonely sometimes and events such as these can give you the socialising that you are missing and you can make new friends to talk blogging with!
What should you take with you to WTM?
I have to admit before I went to WTM for the first time in 2016 I was a little lost and looked really hard for some good advice on blogs, but not many had lots of advice then. Two things make sure that you have with you:
Don't even walk into WTM without business cards. They are great as a first point of contact and people tend to give your their card when you offer yours and that is your in to contact the person, so don’t waste the opportunity! I get mine made at Moo cards. They are wonderful and I tried the regular, mini and now using the square, so if you see me in WTM this year, I will be handing my multi image square cards that I adore! On the business card, I have my name, title, email, website and social media handles. I design them myself on Illustrator and just upload the file to Moo.
Media Packs to prove your real value & impact
When I managed to speak to some of the brand PRs, they asked me more about my numbers not just followers but in depth like annual page views, monthly watch time and so on. I had a postcard size media packs that had my stats on it and they thought it was so clever of me. It is a little thing, but does make a difference. My media pack included: main facts about me, the demographics of my audience, follower numbers on each social media and website stats from Google Analytics. My reach did not sound huge to me, but my dedicated audience and my specific niche was still of an interest.
How to make the most of WTM as a travel blogger?
I had my business cards and media packs in my bag and I just looked at the countries I really wanted to visit in the near future and went to their stand. As a newbie, I didn't book meetings online via the WTM website. People still took the time to talk to me. I would just go there and say this: "Hi I am just wondering if you guys work with travel bloggers. Is there a PR person I could talk to?" some people were very uninterested, but others wanted to have a chat. I noticed that when I had destinations and dates already planned and an actual travel plan and an area within the country, the PR team was more interested in hearing me out. So here are some tips to make the most of this year’s WTM:
Try to attend the pre and post networking events
A lot of travel organisations like Travel Massive, Lonely Planet and Traverse plan networking events every year knowing the amount of travel bloggers who is planning WTM. The best thing I did in 2016 was attending the Traverse mixer the Friday night before WTM. I went there without knowing anyone and I just stepped into the room and then went to one of the tables that had four girls and introduced myself. I ended up hanging out the whole evening with them and then we met up the following week at WTM and supported each other emotionally while pitching our ideas and blogs to companies. The only thing I didn’t love about the events was all the drinking since I am Muslim #SoberForLife, but I left early, which was fine.
This year, I am hoping to attend a few more and here they are in case you want to join too!
Pre WTM Traverse Mingle 2018 on 2nd November. The tickets are now sold out to influencers, but you can be on the waiting list.
Travel Massive: WTM Opening Night Mixer on 5th November. You have to be an approved members to be able to buy tickets.
When you go to these events don’t be afraid to ask other mixers and upcoming events. A lot of people won’t mind sharing that information with you. There are also smaller events that are run by blogging groups. For example, the Female travel Blogger group on FB is doing their own meet up event and so on. There is also the WTM Influencer Group.
Sign up for the speed networking event at WTM
The speed networking event is organised by WTM and the number is limited to 100 bloggers and it sounded like a seriously wonderful thing catered for travel bloggers. I missed it in 2016 because the registration for it ends in September, but I signed up for it this year on time, but I am on the waiting list because most bloggers like this the competition on it is strong!
Book appointments with who you want to work with
As I mentioned above, the first time I went, I didn’t make any appointments and I was a little confused on what to do. So this year, I am formulating a rough plan of where I want to go in 2019 and who I want to approach. I am planning on booking an appointment with all of the destinations I want to go to. I will also plan a pitch because they do ask questions like: when are you planning on going? What’s the occasion of the trip? what do you plan to do there? AND mostly importantly they would want to know why they should choose you from the other 500 bloggers that they are meeting on the day! You have to show the brands that you will bring the value and a good return. If you don’t manage that it is also fine, you can just go and see how everything is going to get used to it.
Network, chat and enjoy it
Yes this is a great opportunity for you as a travel blogger to build relationships with brands to work, but you don’t have to be so serious. Be you and embody the essence of your blog. I had lots of laughs with the ladies I met and really enjoyed it. This is why I am looking forward to this year’s events because I want to make more connections and more blogging friends.
If you are coming to WTM and you see me, come say hi!