THE ULTIMATE BLOGGER CONFERENCES FOR TRAVEL INFLUENCERS
Sidewalker Daily was born on Instagram. When it comes to online living, we’re all about the digital world – after all, it’s how we make our bread and butter. But, we’ve seen this industry change A LOT since our early days in 2015, and we’re all about finding ways to stand out in this now crowded space. We’ll let you in on a little secret – real life human connections are still greater than the ones made on Instagram. That’s why we absolutely recommend in person networking and going to blogger conferences in order to meet like minded people and advance your professional career as an influencer.
But first, let’s get into the what, who, where, when and how on all things blogger conferences.
Travel conferences are in person events centered around a topic that bring people together from the industry. They can range from 1 day to 5 days and most of the time will have a few panels of speakers as well as a keynote speaker. The ability to attend a conference varies – some blogging conferences are by invitation only and for others you have to pitch yourself to get invited as media. In these cases, if you are accepted as accredited media, you most likely will not have to pay to get in. Then the rest are open to the public and you’ll just have to buy a ticket to attend.
Travel conferences revolve around different themes in the industry. For example, there are some that are geared towards bloggers and some that are industry events in the hospitality and tourism sectors. It doesn’t really matter what type they are because you’ll likely meet people who can help you with future partnerships as well as gain industry knowledge to advance your career at any of them. But since every conference has a different focus, you should have a goal in mind so you can make sure you attend the right type. For example, if you’re looking to network with other bloggers, you’re going to want to make sure you attend a more “blogger” style conference, versus one that is a bit more on the industry side.
For the purpose of this article, we are only focusing on conferences that are geared towards travel bloggers, writers, vloggers and influencers. While there are many blogger conferences around the world, our list will be geared towards all things travel related.
Let’s go over the details!
We recommend blogger conferences for practically anyone who is serious about taking their travel influence to the next level. There are different conferences that will fit your skill level. While some are invite only, others are open to the public, so you’ll be sure to find something no matter what level you are at. Whether you’re a vlogger, travel writer, instagrammer, or blogger, when you invest in educating yourself about the industry you’re working in, you will 100% gain something from it.
The great thing about blogging events is that you can really go at your own pace. If you’re the type of person who doesn’t feel comfortable with in person networking, you will benefit from listening to what the panel has to say about the travel industry and be able to apply it to your business. Most of the times, those selected to speak at travel conferences are industry experts and professionals who have prepared a presentation to be full of insightful tips and interesting information, so you can really take advantage of learning from their experience and know-how. If you’re not the social butterfly type, we still recommend you push yourself a little, as these events are really important for networking and meeting people to advance your career.
If you’re all about meeting new people and networking – then get those business cards and media kits ready because these type of events are perfect for you!
Some quick tips before attending a blogger conference.
1. Perfect your elevator pitch. When you’re meeting someone for the first time, you have 15 – 30 seconds to really capture their attention and make it count. Rehearse your elevator pitch in front of the mirror or in front of friends and family so you feel comfortable and definitely make sure you know how to sell yourself in very little time.
2. Research the panelists ahead of time and come with your questions prepared. If you have the opportunity to ask a question during a presentation, you will feel confident that your question is well thought out and may even give you brownie points with the speakers. If there’s networking opportunities afterwards, you can then go up to them and thank them for answering your question – then they will know it’s you who asked that smart question!
3. If you’re bringing a printed version of your media kit, make sure it’s short and sweet and printed on luxe paper (not just regular printer paper).
4. Don’t forget business cards with all of your social accounts, website url, and blog info. And don’t forget to ask people for their business card too so you can follow up with them after the event!
5. 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 in lieu of business cards with all your info on it.
The best part about blog conferences is that they’re happening all year long. The bigger conferences will give you around a 6 month heads up to plan so make sure you put them on your calendar so you can organize your schedule around them to attend.
They’re happening all around the world – Berlin, London, New York, Miami, Austin, Quebec City, Sao Paolo, Singapore, China – you name it, there’s most likely a conference near you (or not too far) that you can attend. For the super organized traveler, you can even plan your travels based on a conference you want to attend or schedule a press trip around it…just saying. :)
Because every now and then, it’s important to press pause on all things social and connect in real life again. The most meaningful connections are always going to be made in person. These conferences are also a great opportunity to learn new skills, tactics and increase your knowledge in this space. There’s no “influencer and travel blogger school” so travel blogger conferences are the closest thing you’ve got.
Also, at conferences, everyone is there with the understanding that it’s for networking too. People’s guards are down and everyone who paid for that ticket or took the time out of their busy schedule to attend is there with some motive in mind: to grow their business, to meet bloggers and influencers, to pitch to brand partners etc. You already know that you have that in common and so these types of conferences are great because they give you access to all types of people in the industry in one specific location.
The same goes for the panelists and keynote speakers. When you attend a smaller conference, you may be able to go up to the speaker right after their presentation, introduce yourself and get their contact information. They also understand that this is part of what conferences are all about so shouldn’t feel caught off guard.
Lastly, in order to make it as a successful travel blogger, writer, or influencer – you need to partner with tourism boards, travel brands and destinations. Many tourism board representatives and their PR team attend these type of conferences and depending on the format of the event, may even pay to have their own booth. If you attend an industry style conference, these are the ones where you will meet the decision makers on the destination and brand side.
It’s important to ask who is responsible for their PR and media requests. Many destinations are still learning about travel influencers, so you will have to be very direct with what you are looking to gain. We’d recommend asking if they have any scheduled press trips for the year as a conversation opener. If they don’t know, they’ll likely give you the contact info of the person in charge so you can contact them directly.
Blog conferences 2018:
When it comes to the best blogging conferences, trade shows and travel events, look no further. If you’ve been to any or have any feedback, we’d love to hear about it in the comments section down below!
1. NYT Travel Show
Dates and Location: This conference has already passed but the 2019 dates are January 25 – 27, 2019 and it’s held at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City, USA.
Open to public: Yes, certain days. Bloggers are encouraged to apply as media and will have access to the entire conference.
Cost: $25 – $79
About: “The New York Times Travel Industry Conference offers a comprehensive education program designed for travel professionals. Develop your knowledge by attending over 23 Focus Conferences covering the latest products, services, destination information and trends from industry experts. Travel professionals will have the opportunity to attend these exclusive seminars as well as visit over 500 exhibitors in the largest travel trade exhibition in North America.”
Why you should go: Tourism Boards and travel brands from all over the world will be here. This is exactly the type of tradeshow you want to visit to get business cards and contacts. Plus they have tons of interesting panels – it’s the New York Times – you know it’s going to be A+.
2. Women In Travel Summit (WITS)
Dates and Location: Quebec City, Canada – May 4th through 6th, 2018.
Open to the public: Yes! Ticket prices range from $119 – $599. You can buy yours via our affiliate link here!
About: “The Women in Travel Summit is the premier event for women travel influencers and industry members, organized by Wanderful. Our goal is to provide our attendees with the tools, connections, and resources they need to become better travel bloggers and influencers and to equip great brands with partnerships that can help them enhance their digital presence and meet their business goals, all while growing our global sisterhood of dedicated women who travel. By creating an empowering, encouraging, and supportive environment for women to learn new skills and grow professional relationships, we hope to help more women find their voice in the online travel world.”
Why you should go: Our own co-founder, Nina Zadeh will be on a panel talking about the ROI of influencer marketing! If you’re a female travel influencer interested in learning more about the resources you need to become better in your field – you’ll love this blogger conference. This is definitely geared towards educating female bloggers.
3. World Travel Market
Dates and Locations:
- Latin America (São Paulo): April 3 – 5, 2018
- Africa (Cape Town): April 18 – 20, 2018
- Arabian Market (Dubai): April 22 – 25, 2018
- UK (London): November 5th – 7th, 2018
Open to the public: No – open to all those who are somehow involved in the travel industry. Bloggers and influencers can absolutely apply as media and are encouraged to do so.
About: “Through six annual, business to business events across four continents, and all year round content and digital tools, we create the best opportunities for travel industry professionals to connect, learn and do business.”
Why you should go: Since this is a mega industry event, with locations all around the world you’ll meet all types of people. From exhibitors with booths, to other media professionals, be prepared to be receiving an information overload. Definitely visit their website to learn about who attends!
Dates and Locations:
- Europe (Ostrava, Czech Republic): July 26-28, 2018
- North America (Finger Lakes Wine Country, New York): September 11 – 13, 2018
Cost: $177 (Travel Blogger exclusive rate) Travel Industry professional fees are $577.
About: “TBEX is the largest conference and networking event for travel bloggers, online travel journalists, new media content creators, travel brands and industry professionals. Each year, TBEX partners with fantastic host destinations in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific to bring the travel industry’s most creative minds together to learn, network and do business.”
Why you should go: TBEX clearly appreciates travel bloggers and influencers (as seen in their special blogger pricing). They’re one of the first conferences to truly embrace bloggers as part of media.
5. International Media Marketplace
Dates and Locations:
- Asia (Singapore): October, 16th 2018
- Australia (Sydney): It already has passed so stay tuned for 2019 dates.
- South America (São Paulo, Brazil): April 2nd, 2018
- France (Paris): September 24th, 2018
- Germany (Berlin): March, 6th 2018
- United Kingdom (London): March, 12th 2018
- USA: January 24th, 2019
Open to the public: No – open to all those who are somehow involved in the travel industry. Bloggers and influencers can absolutely apply as media.
About: “IMM is now established as the industry’s leading event for the media to meet travel and tourism brands. Exhibitors each enjoy a dedicated branded table where they can meet top travel journalists, editors and broadcasters to discuss their news, events and developments. As a single-day networking and relationship-building opportunity for journalists and travel & tourism brands, IMM is unrivaled.”
Why you should go: The best part of IMM (Travmedia) conference is that it’s a lot like speed dating between travel brands (hotels, tourism boards etc) and journalists and bloggers. It’s one day and straight to business networking. It’s usually hosted by a PR representative and someone on the brand side.
6. ITB Berlin
Dates and Locations:
- ITB Asia (Singapore): October 17-18, 2018
- ITB Berlin: March 6 – 10, 2019
- ITB China (Shanghai): May 16-18, 2018
Open to the public: Yes, there are trade days and days that it is open to the general public. Bloggers and influencers can absolutely apply as media.
About: “Experience the whole world of travel at ITB Berlin – all in one location: Countries, cities and regions, tour operators, online booking portals and hotels, and many other service providers from over 180 countries present their products and services.”
Why you should go: ITB has one of the best reputations in the world. It may be difficult to get accepted as a blogger or influencer, but once you’re in – you’ll be glad you are. Be prepared to meet the leaders in the industry, from brands to tourism boards, everyone who is everyone will most likely be there. Between us, ITB is considered A+ among travel PR firms and one of the best travel conferences in the world.
7. Womens Travel Fest
Dates and Locations: This event happened in March 2018. Stay tuned for 2019 dates and information.
Open to the public: Yes! This is a ticketed event that is open to everyone.
About: “We understand how different the travel experience is for women, and how important it is for more women to get out and live their dreams. We hear from women how they want to travel, but they’re afraid, or they don’t think they’re brave enough to go solo, or they’re intimidated by the prospect of being alone abroad. That’s why we’ve created this incredible annual event, to inspire, empower and celebrate travel.”
Why you should go: If you’re looking for a blogging event that is focused on all things women and travel, this event is for you! While there are bloggers on the panels, it is not a strict industry event and open to women of all working backgrounds to come together in sisterhood.
Dates and Location: September 20 – 22, 2018 in Austin, Texas, USA.
Open to the public: Yes – tickets are $299 for all three days.
About: “This three day conference will connect you with industry leaders, influencers, and celebrated writers through keynote speeches, small group writing and photography workshops, breakout tutorial sessions, and industry panels. You will learn what’s working in today’s competitive travel industry, timeless business practices, and the skills you need to succeed as a creator.”
Why you should go: Travelcon describes itself as the place to go to learn the business of travel media. Their goal is to create an environment where people can learn from experts inside and outside of the travel industry.
Here at Sidewalker Daily, we’re all about constantly growing, learning and never being too comfortable – because knowledge is power. We also know (from personal experience) how important making real-life connections in the industry and networking can be for the advancement of your career in the influencer industry. Trust us, invest in yourself – you’re worth it!