Well, what a year I have to say. Who knew that by the end of the World Travel Market 2013, I would be enthusiastically signing up to the 2014 event while you compare my feelings and my ‘ranty post’ at the end of the World Travel Market in 2012 when I simply was disgusted and bored of the event claiming I wouldn’t be coming back except for the social events?
Shaken to the core that I felt unfit to be a successful travel blogger after the disappointment of chaotic seminars of the Social Travel Market, the brutal rejections from each stand on the trade floor and the awkward meetings of ‘top’ travel bloggers who dismissed me without a thought leaving a bitter taste in my mouth, I was comforted slightly by meeting a lot of travel bloggers on my level that I met at different social events particularly the HostelBookers Party.
I had just come back from a Round the World Trip involving SE Asia, Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific and I felt confident enough to dip a toe into the travel blogging market and see what it may involve. Could I make this a career? How would I know? Enter the World Travel Market 2012. At the end,I left disappointed and jaded.
However, a year later in November 2013, I gritted my teeth and gave the World Travel Market a second chance. Perhaps it was very convenient as I was living in London at the time working for MyDestination as their intern for the last three months. But this year, I felt a load more confident, assured that I knew what everyone would be talking about, knew what to expect and not let that overwhelming feeling hit you by the grandness of the Excel Venue and most of all, went in with no high expectations at all. I was happy by then to have done my own thing in the last year, I mean, I travelled in South America, partied at the Rio Carnaval, worked part-time back home, massive improved my following through social networks, embraced my photography skills, re-launched my website in a professional magazine look, met a billion networkers in the travel community, travelled in Spain particularly in Andalucia where I visited the Alhambra, family holidayed in Portugal, visited a travel friend in Germany, and settling in London over the summer and Autumn being involved with an eclectic group of travel bloggers known as the ‘travellads’. Then before I knew it, it was time for the World Travel Market 2013. A whole year had gone by.
Now, I want to do a comparison of the two events. The first where it ended me at my lowest ebb of my travel blogging career and the second, where I couldn’t wait to bring my ideas to fruition with my overbrimming confidence. Here it is:
Gaining Contacts with the Travel Boards/Companies
Absolutely no joy whatsoever gaining contacts. It would so awkward and the traders would have no clue what a travel blogger really is.
I’ve got 209 business cards. The sheer confidence I had to explain how I could help them armed with a presentation on my laptop really did work wonders.
Did I get a Press Trip?
Nada. Squat. The only press trip was the the trip to get free coffee in the Press Room…
Although I got a load of free coffee, I managed to land several press trips. California? Greece? Belgium? And a few more? They came to ME!
The Travel Seminars
Highly critically of the Social Travel Market (STM), I left without gaining any knowledge or I didn’t really understand what they were talking about.
I heard that STM was dead in the water by 2013. Instead two travel organisations took over:
1) Travel Perspective who gave very informative and comprehensive studies especially in the seminars of ‘Keynote: Facebook and Targeting: Finding the People that Matter to You’ (I really loved this fresh talk revealing ideas) and ‘WTM Fresh: elevator pitch session for trip planning start-ups’. The seminars were very well planned, detailed to the point and allowed a lot of interaction with everyone in the room. A stark contrast to the STM.
2) Travel Bloggers Unite (TBU) – A Conference body I’ve still yet to go to, they took over some sessions at the World Travel Market. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the results of a survey being debated in the seminar ‘Creating the Content Travellers want to Read’ that gave me some fresh ideas. However, the other seminar I attended, involving TBU, – ‘Reveal the Digital Raconteur in You!’ I didn’t quite gain anything much from it. I think it was to do with the quality of the questions being given to a brilliant panel of travel minds. For example – ‘What’s a digital Storyteller?’ was debated for a good ten minutes, we all know what a digital storyteller is! However, I did follow what was being spoken about rather than getting lost in jargon, politics and findings the seminars would give.
The Social Events
I was invited only to the HostelBookers Party. This was the best highlght for me and allowed me to meet many travel bloggers that I had only conversed with over twitter.
Oh dear. I think there wasn’t any night I wasn’t found to be at a social event! 7 social events I attended including the Traverse Mingle in the Cumberland Hotel, The TTG Tweet Up and The Professional Travel Bloggers Association Party. All proved to be so successful and I consolidated my travel blogger friendships and of course, made completely new ones. I blame them all for my ‘weary’ state in the morning!
Was the Event Deaf-Friendly?
I really struggled trying to hear the traders speak to me which probably led to more awkwardness. The seminars were slightly chaotic and I didn’t know who was speaking. Plus panels would be sat down along with everyone else at the same level and you couldn’t really see them properly. The HostelBookers Party was great but it was in a very small venue with loud music blaring out.
Even thought the World Travel Market saw an increase in visitors from last year, I found the trade floor to be quite quiet and a perfect deaf environment for networking opportunities. This probably why I got so many contacts! The seminars had sorted out their sound system yet they still had the panels at the same level at us so I couldn’t really lip read them properly.
Some social events were deaf friendly. I absolutely adored being at the Traverse Mingle, TTG Tweet Up and PBTA Reception as they were spacious and didn’t play music. However, there were some events that were too much for me to handle such as the Budget Travellers Night In where we were all crammed into one small room. Granted there were more room given but no one seemed to go into the other room, so I left early.
So there you have it! I can safely say that I’ve really thoroughly enjoyed the World Travel Market this time round and you know what? I’ll be back again.
To sign up for the 2014 World Travel Market – click here to go to their website.