Sheryl Sandberg coined an entire book about “sitting at the table” and when it comes to tapping into the pulse of your industry, I’ve always been a huge fan of that advice.
Since making my leap into the travel blogging world 6 months ago (woah, it’s been 6 months?!), I’ve been learning every single day and completely overwhelmed at how supportive and engaging the travel community is. With little exception, in such a saturated and seemingly competitive market, my experiences with the open support and guidance from the travel “experts” have been nothing short of amazing.
Whether your goal is to have a personal creative outlet, to inspire others or to create a full-time business working with advertisers and brands, here are 12 valuable networking groups I’ve found so far that every travel blogger should know:
TBEX is the world’s largest gathering of travel bloggers, writers, new media content creators and social media savvy travel industry professionals. They’re having FOUR conferences around the world this year including one at sea, so it’s a great opportunity to tap into your local market’s network (or just use it as an excuse for a trip).
Travel Massive is a network of travel industry insiders around the world with local chapters that host monthly events. I’ve been to three so far and met an exciting range of writers, bloggers, brands, apps, travel startups, agents, communities and more.
The World’s Leading Travel Trade Show. The Berlin show just passed in March, but now it’s on your radar for next year and even if you can’t attend you can follow along on Twitter at #ITBBerlin to connect with the community. ITB Asia is coming up October 21-23 in Singapore, just a few days after TBEX’s Bangkok event.
SXSW is a creative festival split into three parts: Interactive, Film + Music. Dozens of smaller subsidiaries have developed over the years also, such as South Bites (food), SXStyle and this year even some events labeled SXTravel.
The networking, education, creativity sparking and overall experience at SXSW Interactive is consistently lightyears beyond any of the 40+ other conferences I’ve ever attended. If you’re into digital, there’s no better place to connect with the heavy hitters.
Headed back to NYC next year, Women’s Travel Fest is a 3-day conference, networking and workshop event. It was the first industry event I attended after 5 months out on the road as “currently exploring” and I am in contact with the people I met there on an almost daily basis today.
With around 500 members, the PTBA requires that you have been blogging actively for at least 9 months and present a Google analytics screenshot of more then 3k monthly page views. It has it’s own Facebook group also and gives you access and inclusion to the database of members fully searchable by their industry partners.
Travel Blog Success is a community I have continued to be stunned by the support of. A pay-to-play networking community, Travel Blog Success has dozens of online courses ranging from how to start a blog from scratch to professional videography, an active Facebook group, Opportunity Board, discounts on other conferences and even a book club. Conversations in the group have been as open as “here is a graph breakdown of my last year’s earnings” and “so how many followers did you lose in the Instagram bot massacre?”
The list of heavy hitters that grace the forums with their presence and insights could be it’s own blog post. If you only choose to do one thing on this list, it should be this.
Note: If you use this link or the one above I will receive a small commission off your membership fee at no extra cost to you. Yahoo!
Annually in London, World Travel market is another leading global travel industry business to business event for senior travel professionals, governments and international press.
Not completely travel-related, #BlogHer15 is an educational blogger conference coming up in NYC July 16-18. Happening since 2005, BlogHer is one of the longest-running blogger conferences, and an established place to dip your toes if you’re new to the blogosphere.
Similar in format to Travel Massive, YTP has monthly or more often events locally, connecting hospitality industry professionals, media and more.
At the most basic level, travel-related meetups! Tapping into Meetup, Couchsurfing and other local options in your area (and on the road) is a great way to tap into the local community to uncover their interests, trends and needs. These are the most open, but at the least you’ll meet other like-minded individuals to spark a conversation with!
Facebook Groups + More More More!
Many bloggers have set up their own Facebook groups creating communities of readers and people similar to them. Finding one in your niche can be a great way to connect with bloggers around the world (and a constant stream of motivation in your Facebook notifications!).
For more events, check out this list by the Professional Travel Bloggers Association.
Many of you emailed me about Women in Travel Summit — the first and only travel blogging summit by and for women!
Hosted by Wanderful, WITS brings together travelers, bloggers and entrepreneurs to network with inspired travel companies, grow their blogging expertise in blogging and foster a more connected global sisterhood. The next WITS is set March 18-20, 2016 in Irvine, California with registration at witsummit.com.
Thanks for the heads up!