This content on travel blogging conferences has been adapted from the March issues of my Wildly Successful Travelpreneurs newsletter – a carefully curated collection of free resources, interesting reads, and paid opportunities for travel creators who want to establish freedom lifestyle. Subscribe to be the first to find out what I share next…
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Use Travel Blogging Conferences as a Networking Strategy
I just attended my first in-person travel blogging conferences since 2019 so I wanted to share why these conferences are essential to your networking strategy as a travelpreneur:
✔️ An opportunity to press ⏸️ on social media and connect in real life – the most meaningful connections are made in person.
✔️ A great place to learn new skills, tactics, and knowledge.
✔️ Everyone at conferences is there to network so it’s much easier to pitch yourself, your business, or your blog to possible partners.
✔️ You have direct access to all types of people in the travel/blogging industry all in one location.
✔️ The ideal place to introduce yourself to tourism boards, travel brands, and destinations – you get to talk to the reps, PR agents, or sometimes even the decision-makers.
TIP: Instead of business cards print out and distribute a 1-Page Media Kit to everyone you connect with.
✔️ You can ask about scheduled Press Trips or upcoming sponsored campaigns and get your name on the list for these exciting opportunities.
All these reasons and more are why I recommend travel blogging conferences to all my Pitch to Travel students. Networking is the single best method for growing and succeeding as a travelpreneur. The travel industry is competitive but if you genuinely connect with others in the industry it becomes easier to break into…
Do I Need an Invite to Attend a Travel Blogging Conference?
The answer: It depends on the travel blogging conference.
Let me explain.
Some travel trade conferences are by invitation only. Some are open for everyone to attend but have a fee unless you register as a media attendee. Blogger conferences, on the other hand, are open to anyone who blogs but they tend to have a fee attached and since everyone who attends is technically “media” you can’t avoid the cost by registering as such as you would for a travel trade show.
Now, ILTM is a rather exclusive and intimate travel trade conference. But since I was a senior travel writer & editor for Rare Magazine (now TrooRa) at the time, I was invited to be one of the 6 hosted media attendees. They paid for my flights, accommodation, selected meals, and activities. Plus, I got to network with PR agents and travel brands in the luxury travel market (worth more to me than the sponsorship).
Immediately after the ILTM I also attended the World Travel Market (WTM) Africa, which was a much larger travel market open for anyone to attend. For this conference, I simply registered my interest in being a media attendee which gave me free access to attend over the 3 days while also setting up meetings to network with key PRs and brands.
As you can see, it’s important to spend some time researching the travel blogging conferences you want to attend to find out whether you need to be invited, register as media for a free ticket, or pay to attend.
Because of the state of the world (pandemic/war) and the fact that we’re traveling with a baby (who is still getting used to traveling) I’ve decided to only attend local conferences this year again. So, we headed to Cape Town this week to attend the WTM Africa and I tuned in to the virtual version of ILTM via Africa Travel Week.
5 Expert Tips for Successful Travel Blogging Conference Networking
So, if you’re considering attending your first travel blogging conference but don’t know what you’re supposed to do there – I’ve got you covered.
The goal is simply to network.
Everyone is there to learn and network so it’s the PERFECT place to make contacts in the travel industry.
Here are 5 expert tips for successful networking at travel blogging conferences:
- Practice your elevator pitch. What is an elevator pitch you ask? It’s how you introduce yourself and what you do. Why is it important? Well, when you’re meeting someone for the first time, you have 15 – 30 seconds to really capture their attention and make it count. So, rehearse your elevator pitch in advance!
- Research the panelists who are speaking ahead of time and come with your carefully thought-out questions prepared. If you have the opportunity to ask a question during a presentation, do so! If there are networking opportunities afterward, you can then go up to them and thank them for answering your question – connection made!
- Consider bringing a printed version of your media kit, make sure it’s short and sweet like this one and printed on luxe paper (not just regular printer paper).
- Alternatively take business cards with all of your social accounts, website URL, and blog info. Always ask the people you connect with for their business cards too so you can follow up with them after the event! The follow-up is super important.
- Don’t be afraid to get creative to stand out. For example, hand out your media kit on a branded USB drive or create a memorable (and inexpensive) branded product to hand out instead of business cards with all your info on it.
There you have it, my top tips for networking at travel blogging conferences!
My Secret Hack for Making Travel Conferences More Affordable
If you weren’t before, you’re probably quite excited to attend one of these networking events in the coming months but you’re also likely wondering how you can afford it; especially if you don’t have one happening nearby.
Well, I left the best for last – my secret hack for making these trips more affordable.
What’s the hack?
Since these travel blogging conferences happen all over the world, I recommend planning a sponsored trip around the experience.
I did this in 2019 while attending the ILTM and WTM in Cape Town. My trip was planned around these conferences which were both scheduled for the same week.
I was invited to attend the ILTM and registered to attend as travel media for the WTM. As a result, the PR agency that represents the conferences paid for my flights to Cape Town as well as all the activities they arranged with partner sponsors within the city.
I also pitched a Cape Town-based hotel chain that hosted me at 3 of their incredible hotels for the duration of that trip. Each sponsor was fully aware of the type of exposure they could benefit from by hosting travel media specifically for the hospitality and tourism-based events. This whirlwind trip was definitely one of my favorites.
Not only did I get to work with some amazing sponsors but I made lasting connections at these travel blogging conferences.