Pure Michigan with travel bloggers and influencers at TravelCon 2018 (photo by Tourism Currents)

Speed networking between travel bloggers, influencers, and Pure Michigan DMO reps at TravelCon 2018 (photo by Sheila Scarborough for Tourism Currents)

Make media connections IRL (In Real Life.)

Have you wondered which travel blogger and influencer conferences can help you make the media connections that result in coverage for your destination, attraction, or hotel?

Here are some ideas to consider as you budget for events to attend …

Travel Media Showcase

This is a very straightforward, efficient “speed networking” event that has been around for many years. It is a series of timed, rotating sit-down meetings that match media people and destination representatives.

Media attendees are pre-screened.

There are two annual events: Travel Media Showcase and the more niche TMS Family Travel.

Women in Travel Summit (WITS)

This is a relatively new, but growing conference focused on women in travel.

There are speed networking sessions, but also a diverse array of panels and presentations, plus pre- and post-conference tours. Learn more here about the Women in Travel Summit.

Update Jan 2019 – there is now a Women in Travel Summit Europe as well.

TBEX (North America & Europe Conferences)

The first TBEX (originally called the Travel Blog Exchange) was in 2009; it is one of the longest-running and largest online travel media gatherings.

There are annual conferences in both North America and in Europe, and in the past there have been events held in Asia and the Middle East as well.

TBEX includes speed networking sessions, panels/presentations, and pre-/post-conference tours. Learn more here about TBEX.

Travel Journalism Associations
(SATW, NATJA, etc.)

Some of the world’s associations for travel writers and photographers were slow to accept bloggers and online publishers. Most have changed, but you may still find more print writers at their conferences.

In October 2018, an international travel journalism collaboration project was launched between the British Guild of Travel Writers (BGTW), the Australian Society of Travel Writers (ASTW), and the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW). It will be interesting to see if this results in a co-hosted conference at some point in the future.

Meanwhile, here’s the 2019 SATW conference, and info on the NATJA (North American Travel Journalists Association) 2019 annual conference (2020 will be in Puerto Rico.)

Here is the British Guild of Travel Writers, the Australian Society of Travel Writers, and the Travel Media Association of Canada.

TravelCon

This is a new event – the brainchild of well-known budget travel blogger and author Matt Kepnes (Nomadic Matt.) The 2019 edition was in Boston; 2020 TravelCon is in New Orleans. We attended the inaugural 2018 conference and it was very well-run, with over 600 attendees.

There are speed networking sessions, panels/presentations, informal meetups of content creators in similar niches, hands-on workshops, and pre-/post-conference tours.

Midwest Travel Network

This is also a new event, to connect travel bloggers and influencers in the U.S. Midwest region with Midwest CVBs and DMOs.

We spoke at the inaugural 2018 conference and were impressed by how many Midwest DMOs were there, and how many excellent opportunities there were for networking.

Some DMO sponsors at the first Midwest Travel Network conference in Clear Lake Iowa (photo by Sheila Scarborough for Tourism Currents)

Some DMO sponsors at the first Midwest Travel Network conference in Clear Lake, Iowa (photo by Sheila Scarborough for Tourism Currents)

The 2019 Midwest Travel Network Conference was in Medora, North Dakota. The 2020 conference will be held in St. Cloud, Minnesota.

Other Events

The international Trablin influencer conferences seek to connect influencers with brands.

Travel Massive has get-togethers around the world where travel enthusiasts can mingle.

There are travel blogging events on Meetup.

The Social Travel Summit is a small European event to bring together travel influencers and brands.

Update 18 Oct 2018 – our friend Kaitie with Discover Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania sent in a tip about a U.S. Mid-Atlantic states travel media event –

“For destinations in the Mid-Atlantic (PA, VA, WV, DE, MD), we have the Mid-Atlantic Tourism Public Relations Alliance (MATPRA). We’re a membership-based organization which makes us a bit different from those events listed above, but we do welcome any DMO within those five stats (as well as Washington DC) to join.

Annually, MATPRA hosts a Media Marketplace that typically features about 60 DMO representatives, between 50-60 travel journalists, and a handful of professional speakers (editors, freelancers, etc.) for panel discussions. Marketplace is a three-day event that is a mixture of an open media exchange, meals for networking, and FAM tours through the host destination that both DMOs and journalists participate in, allowing for networking to happen through the full three days.”

Did we miss a great event where CVBs and DMOs can meet online travel media? Let us know down in the comments….

—->>  Here are our tips for working with influencers in tourism, including a sample contract download.

 

At Tourism Currents, we help you and your tourism partners learn how to use social media and digital destination marketing to bring more visitors to town. Pick what works for you: our self-paced online course in social media for tourism, our coaching/consulting services, or our speaking and workshop services.

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Commenting area

  1. Traverse should be on your list. I went to it in Trento in June 2019, and I thought it was an excellent conference. They put on some other conferences each year as well.

  2. Thanks for visiting and for the tip, Jonathan; we’ll check it out.

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