Last Updated on July 13, 2023 by Christine Kaaloa
I’m packing my bags to Memphis as I’ve been invited to speak at TravelCon 2022! Woot! Use the Code: CHRISTINE for $50 off your ticket!
Attending conferences can sound boring when you think of seminars and workshops and business professionals networking at the coffee table. But when you’re a travel blogger, YouTuber, or influencer, attending a travel conference feels like a delightful shortcut to networking with peers and learning industry tips to refine your business practice. There are many reasons to attend a travel conference, but I will share the main ones.
7 Benefits of Attending Travel Conferences
Networking is a big reason to attend travel conferences- this is where community connections happen on a deeper level and you will feel it. It is where you meet and mingle with your industry, its key players, creators you follow because they are in your niche and sponsors who want to work with you.
Networking at travel conferences are a way to meet other brands and tourism boards too. My first conference – Digital Innovation Asia– had speed dating sessions where you meet a bevy of interested brands and chat about how you can work with them in the future. I cover a lot of Asia/Southeast Asia destinations so this conference was ideal for me. My second conference was TBEX . You requested to meet with brands and they’d pencil you into their schedule if they were interested. I didn’t get many offers, so I had to improvise to meet sponsors! (Read my networking tips below ). My third conference –WTM London – was a tourism trade show. They had a speed dating session but I also went up to sponsor booths to introduce myself and show my interest. It was there that I learned that some trade shows are seeking influencers from specific countries and London was looking for U.K. influencers. But it was a learning experience and I made friends along the way!
2. Learning about Innovations & New Ideas
Should you be building your travel brand on TikTok, Instagram or Facebook? How do you get more traffic to your blog? How do you make money on YouTube if you are a small channel? How do you pitch a sponsor? .. These are all common pain point questions creators will have.
Attending a travel conference, you learn about the latest interests on the creator business forefront, career advice, new tools, resources, and solutions that refine your process. Being a content creator or influencer is not a straightforward career with roadmaps, but a journey of algorithms, creating non-stop engaging content, and self-promoting. You have to wear many hats and most creators start it as a hobby or side-hustle they want to grow into a profession and lifestyle. Conferences are a great place to ask questions from experts and peers in your industry who have been doing it longer than you.
Networking online is one thing, but at travel conferences, networking in person and face-to-face creates deepened bonds. You gain friends to reach out to and who will support you in the future. Travel conferences are where you meet peers to build collaborative relationships and share tips.
Opportunities come through friendships and your community network. I have gotten my brand mentioned in many top blogger lists and even got referrals to destination campaigns, due to my community knowing me and the niche I serve.
I have been guilty of *not* attending enough travel conferences. I have only been to four… no, five (which is not much for a blog span of ten years)! AND I always feel my support system suffers a bit when I see how travel conference peers are broadening their network and clicking with each other at conferences.
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4. Latest industry knowledge.
A benefit of attending travel conferences is attending workshops and speaker sessions to learn the latest insights and tips are around travel and tourism, destination marketing, and how it pertains to your business. You won’t find only travel bloggers, vloggers, and Instagrammers here. There are also flipside sessions for destination marketers who want to work with travel content creators but do not know-how.
5. Add it to your CV experience
Being an attendee of a travel conference is something to be proud of because you’re making the effort to refine your practices and treat your brand as a business. Being a speaker at a travel conference means you are recognized in your field and this can grow authority and opportunity for your business. It is definitely noteworthy.
I’ve been invited to speak at TEDx events and other conferences and the timing never worked out for me. When I was invited to speak at TravelCon 2022, I nearly fell over with excitement. Peer recognition is a huge honor and a rite of passage- it means your brand is on the map.
6. Exotic travel and with business purpose
Many conferences take place in exotic countries and cities! How perfect to travel there for work and easily write it off as a business expense. It also legitimizes what I do to myself. Conferences validate me as a professional and It’s my one chance to pass out business cards and meet people who recognize I do is work. Yes, I have business cards! “Head traveler,” “CEO Content Creator,” “Travel Writer,” “YouTuber”… we travel creators put thought into the first impression we’ll make when we hand that card out to a potential partner.
7. FAM trips
FAM tours or familiarization tours are guided tours a destination and its local operators put on for conference attendees. They used to be solely for journalists of magazine publications, but online content are the new promotional magazine of our age. It’s a chance for them to welcome guests and show off their destination. Some tours are all-inclusive three-day trips to explore the conference destination, while others might be a 3-hour local food tour. My very first FAM trip was a 3-day tour of Kanchanaburi, Thailand, I stayed at the most amazing hotels with first-class Thai hospitality, food and adventures. It was the perfect opportunity to blog, photograph and film everything I could!
For travel content creators, these are opportunities that help us make our content! How do we afford travel? This is one way and it certainly is a job.
It is also a chance to mix, mingle and network with conference peers on a personal and less socially awkward level. We also have the best parties!
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What are the best travel conferences to attend?
There are travel shows, travel fairs, and travel industry conferences. Some are made for networking while others may are for commercial crowds or trade industry. My first travel conference was Digital Innovation Asia.
Other popular travel conferences for travel content creators are: TravelCon, TBEX, Social Travel Summit, WTM- World Travel Mart, ITB Berlin & Asia, Travel & Adventure Show, Women in Travel Summit (WITS)
What are your reasons for attending travel conferences?
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