The Pro’s and Con’s of being a PTBA board member
So the first year of the PTBA as an official entity with real board members draws to a close, and a new board is in the process of being elected.
If you’re one of those who has been nominated, or maybe you are thinking of nominating yourself, I thought I’d take the opportunity to share what the last year has been like for me as a board member, to give you an idea of what to expect.
We’ll start with the negatives first, to get them out of the way.
- It’s work. Which is unpaid. Yes, there is quite a bit of work involved in being on the board, in the region of at least five hours a week, more if there’s something specific going on. Board members are divided up into areas of responsibility, and there’s a fortnightly hangout to catch up, as well as a private Facebook group to discuss ongoing projects.
- It can be a bit slow. When you’re used to running your own blog as a company of one or two, it’s a lot easier to get stuff done and make decisions. With a board of 14 people, all of whom have multiple other projects they are working on, taking major decisions about the direction of the association can take a bit longer than if you were on your own. It happens, but it takes time.
- Not everything works out. We have worked hard on a great many projects this year with potential industry partners, many of which have not worked out, and so never see the light of day. This can give the impression that we’re not moving very quickly, and I have to say, we could probably do a better job as a board of communicating this stuff to our members. It’s a fine line between pushing out updates that ultimately are of no consequence, and keeping you guys informed, and I’m not sure we’ve been hitting it perfectly so far.
Ok, so you’re probably about ready to throw in the towel already in terms of being on the board, right? Fear not, there are some really great reasons to be a part of the association in a more active role. Let’s go through them…
- The opportunity to shape the future of the travel blogging industry. Wow, big claim. The reality is, the PTBA is being taken seriously by the travel industry. We’ve spoken at trade shows from New York to Berlin to Dubai, sharing information about the benefits of working with travel bloggers, and how best to go about building positive, meaningful relationships that deliver real value. The travel industry is waking up to the benefits of working with travel bloggers, and the PTBA is helping shape the direction that that is going in.
- The opportunity to speak at events around the world – speaking of events, this year I’ve had the pleasure of representing the PTBA at the HostelWorld conference in Dublin, at TTI in Italy, and in May I’ll be attending the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai, where I’ll be speaking alongside other board members about the benefits of working with travel bloggers. Other board members have spoken at ITB, the New York Times Travel show, MATKA and WTM London.
- The option to raise your profile with the travel industry and your peers – The PTBA has over 250 active blogger members – some of the biggest names in our still fledgling business. Being a board member means that you are representing the interests of these members, and getting your name out there in front of some of the major players in the travel industry.
- Working alongside some fantastic folks – The PTBA board this year was made up of some wonderfully talented individuals from some of the best-known travel blogs out there. Having the opportunity to work with such a diverse and interesting group of people has been immensely rewarding, not to mention educational.
Personally I’m looking forward to another year of representing the association at a board level, and working with both new and current board members to take this association forward. I’ll hopefully see you taking part soon!
Laurence is one of the European board members for the PTBA, as well a writer and photographer. This year he has largely been responsible for managing the tech side of the PTBA, as well as representing the PTBA at various industry events. He also runs the travel & photography blog Finding the Universe, and is a part of the Lightmoves Creative photography collective.