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In November 2017, World Travel Market (WTM) once again came to London offering Travel Bloggers the opportunity to attend the event prior to its opening to the public, as a Media Guest. “World Travel Market enables the growth and development of the global travel industry” but, is it a worthwhile event for Travel Bloggers to attend or is it purely B2B focused? We followed up with several of the ladies from the Female Travel Bloggers community to find out about their expectations of, preparations for, and experiences from WTM. We also asked them what advice they would pass on to fellow bloggers considering heading to WTM (or any similar event).

Anisa from Two Traveling Texans

What did you expect, or hope, to get out of attending WTM?

I registered a bit late for World Travel Market because I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to go, so I didn’t have high expectations for the conference. I was too late to register for the speed networking and I was only able to get a handful of meetings confirmed. Not only was I late to the game, but I had some technical issues with the website.

Two Traveling Texans assessing the enormity of WTM!

Two Traveling Texans assessing the enormity of WTM at the end of a busy day!

How did you prepare for WTM?

To prepare the conference I went through the list of companies that would be there and made a note of ones that I was interested in working with. I also tried to research the company so that I would be prepared for any discussions.  Lastly, I updated my media kit and rate card. I printed hard copies to bring along just in case. I think the preparation I did was helpful and gave me confidence in my meetings. Most meetings were very short though so I never got into too much detail.

What advice would you offer to fellow Travel Bloggers planning to attend WTM?

WTM was better than I expected. I was able to talk to companies that I wasn’t able to schedule meetings with. Plus, I was able to meet a lot of bloggers in person, which I don’t get the chance to do very often. My piece of advice would be to just talk to as many people as possible, you never know what can come out of it. Just don’t take any rejections personally.

You can follow Anisa’s adventures on her website and YouTube

Becky from Becky The Traveller

What did you expect, or hope, to get out of attending WTM or similar events?

Attending World Travel Market was a last minute decision for me. Having started blogging full time I had a whirlwind of ideas but little focus! I asked a question on the Female Travel Bloggers group which led to a suggestion to attend WTM in London. I had never even heard of the event but on good advice (and it was free) I registered for my Press pass.

Becky at World Travel Market

Becky at World Travel Market, London

How did you prepare for WTM?

It wasn’t until a few days later I received my confirmation that I started researching the event. I spent numerous hours on their website. But there were so many companies registered and lots of different events I didn’t know where to start. Over 50,000 people attended in 2016 so I knew I needed to be more prepared.

In the end, I went back to FTB group and found a thread with a few useful blogs posts from people that had attended previously. The main preparation I did prior to the trip was ensuring my ‘Media Kit’ was up to date. I attached this to 20+ draft emails so I could share with people I met. This worked well at the event and stopped the need for handing out lots of pieces of paper that could potentially end up lost.

I read about the Speed Networking events. But I was a bit late to the party so missed out there. If I went again I’d want to join one of these events. Armed with plenty of business cards of course!

A few other things that I would have liked to have done in advance were more around my website and ensuring that it was more up to date. If businesses are looking at your page you want it to showcase your business as best you can. I still don’t have a static home page and my ‘About me’ and ‘Work with me’ pages were pretty non-existent. Since returning I’ve now updated both and I feel this will help any prospective clients know more about me. Feel free to check out my ‘About me’ page.

What advice would you offer to fellow Travel Bloggers planning to attend WTM?

If I was going to give one piece of advice to someone before attending I would say be brave on day one. Start sitting down with prospective clients, introduce yourself and your brand. Explain what travel bloggers can do and how they can help individual businesses. So many weren’t really sure what travel bloggers did and I felt I did a good job explaining that at least! Each meeting/conversation I learned so much and I tweaked how I pitched each time. By the end of WTM, I felt I had made some good contacts, both fellow travel bloggers, and companies. So definitely worth attending if you have the chance!

Some of the stands are very impressive! This is the Costa Rica stand at WTM, London

Some of the stands are very impressive! This is the Costa Rica stand at WTM, London

You can follow Becky on her Facebook page here

Steph Edwards from The Mediterranean Traveller

What did you expect, or hope, to get out of attending WTM or similar events?

As a new blogger and first-time WTM attendee, I went with a curious mind and the objective of learning more about how DMOs work, as well as making connections in specific destinations ahead of trips next year (missions accomplished)

How did you prepare for WTM?

I spent a day beforehand going through the schedule and list of exhibitors, prioritizing and adding everything to my calendar. This prep definitely helped with the information overwhelm.

Thanks to a tip in one of the FTB threads before the event, I ‘starred’ exhibitors relevant to my niche in the WTM portal. This actually sends them a meeting request. I also had a few PR agencies contact me through the portal so make sure your profile includes your finest elevator pitch. However, some of my most fruitful conversations were the result of chance meetings.

What advice would you offer to fellow Travel Bloggers planning to attend WTM?

Don’t discount attending if you’re a newbie or not specifically pitching for work. Engaging in so many conversations generated some great insights for me.

Expect mixed reactions when introducing yourself as a blogger. Don’t take it personally! Take snacks, and count on being overwhelmed on the first day and exhausted by the last.

You can follow Steph on her website or Twitter

Lottie from Princess In A Caravan

What did you expect, or hope, to get out of attending WTM or similar events?

I only decided at the very last minute that I was going to attend World Travel Market (despite having had the window to apply for a Media Pass open in my browser for weeks!) Having never been to an event like this as a Blogger before, I wasn’t totally sure what to expect. From a non-blogging perspective, I hoped to get contacts for content writing for companies and tour operators based in countries I have traveled to. As a Blogger, I wanted to find out more about how companies perceive bloggers, about influencer outreach and I also wanted to network with other FTB ladies!

World Travel Market, London Africa section

Each region of the world had their own section to make it easy to find contacts.

How did you prepare for WTM?

I spent some time on the website trying to work out what talks and events were being held when however I didn’t find the WTM website very easy to navigate. I found this much easier to do once I had picked up a copy of the Events brochure when I arrived at WTM although that does mean minimal time for planning! I went knowing that I was less prepared than I could have been and took that as part of the learning experience.

What advice would you offer to someone planning to attend WTM or similar events?

I would suggest thinking about what you want to get out of your time at the event, prior to going but not to get too hung up on this, especially if it’s your first event! Going armed with business cards, an elevator pitch and an idea of who you might want to work with and what you can offer them is a solid starting point. After that, give yourself time to mingle, network and go with the flow!

You can follow Lottie on her website or Facebook.

Daniela from Ipanema Travels To

What advice would you offer to someone planning to attend WTM or similar events?

Before heading to London, check out the exhibitors from the countries/regions in which you are interested. Make a list of companies/hotels/tourism boards you would like to work with. This way you will be more effective during the short time of the fair – you will have a plan of which stands to visit. Here are my tips:

  • Try to arrange some meetings in advance
  • Have a clear idea of what you are going to pitch to your potential partners. Pitch ideas, a whole story, rather than just giving your regular elevator pitch with the usual exchange of business cards
  • Spend some time improvising – stop by a stand and start chatting about their destination, the products they offer, and just like that you might have this inspiration to pitch a project that you’ve just had come up with
  • Do not forget to have some time off each day. Preferably, find a buddy and just go from stand to stand and try the free food, take photos, chat with people. It’s not only about working, it’s also about having some fun.

Would you suggest going to WTM as a Travel Blogger? Why?

WTM is a business event where you make contacts with potential partners. Pitching a tourism board face to face is far more efficient than cold pitching via e-mail. So, especially if you are a new blogger, I think attending WTM is a must.

You can follow Daniela on her website and Facebook Page

Susanna from Wandering Chocobo

What did you expect, or hope, to get out of attending WTM?

I also jumped on the bandwagon a bit late in the game. I sense a theme here, haha. So I was a bit unsure of what to expect. I went wearing two hats. As an admin for Female Travel Bloggers I wanted to find products and companies willing to partner with FTB on a long-term basis. On a personal level, I wanted to get to know my local (Germany and Europe) tourism boards and get the names and contact of who I could reach out to in the future. Additionally, as a sustainable and responsible blogger, this year’s focus was on sustainable travel and I was curious to attend some of the lectures and learn more about the tourism industry’s shift to a more responsible path.

How did you prepare for WTM?

Preparing for World Travel Market was a bit of a pain, I found their website to be cumbersome and not sorted well, so it was quite tough, to be honest. I did a quick look through to find some companies and destinations that were focusing on sustainable and responsible travel and stared them and made a note to stop by and talk to them. I wrote a press release for Female Travel Bloggers and printed that out, with our media kit and business card and had that ready to hand out, as needed. I also had a media kit and personal business card ready to hand out. This proved very beneficial as I found myself in a situation where a candid conversation turned into a talk of business deals. I also made sure to connect with other bloggers, so when we met in the media room, I could put names to faces to blogs. It really helped to have buddies for encouragement and motivation.

What advice would you offer to fellow Travel Bloggers planning to attend WTM?

“Go to the lectures! I found a lot of bloggers only went to certain lectures they thought would help them, like the ones on social media, but after attending multiple sustainable lectures,  business trends and entrepreneur workshops I was surprised at how many key trends, phrases, and themes I was able to take away. An example, I went to a lecture on UNESCO and learned what they want to focus on in 2018. Now, if I pitch to UNESCO or a destination with a UNESCO site I have key phrases and a theme to pitch that will give me a foot above other bloggers.

World Travel Market WTM London 2017

The lectures and workshops were very beneficial and gave insight into trends.

Secondly, use the first day to your advantage. Day one is the Media Day, it’s less busy and people are excited and willing to talk to the media. I used the first day to gather courage and was going to go in ready to tackle everything the second day. I arrived only to find twice as many people and no free persons to talk.

Third, use World Travel Market to meet other travel bloggers. The media room became our hang out. It was great to meet and network with other bloggers and that alone was worth it.

Female Travel Bloggers meet up World Travel Market

Female Travel Bloggers had a meet up before to calm our nerves. Join our group for more meetups!

Fourth, find your elevator pitch and niche and match that with similar companies that you’ve researched. Anyone can be a blogger, but DMOs and companies are looking for someone with a special niche that fits their business model. If you just walk up and say, “Hi I am a blogger, can you sponsor me?” You’re going to get nasty looks. If you go up to a destination trying to push sustainable travel and say, “Hi I am a blogger who focuses on sustainable travel. I noticed you’re trying to encourage people to visit your bee farms and try local honey, I would love to work with you to feature this on my blog.” you might get a much better response.”

You can follow Susanna’s adventures on her website and Twitter

Have you attended World Travel Market London, or a WTM somewhere else in the world? Or are there any other events you would suggest for Travel Bloggers? Let us know in the comments!

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