World Travel Market Advice for Bloggers

The first year I  attended World Travel Market (WTM) was an absolute disaster. I came totally unprepared, not knowing what I didn’t know.  I attended seminars, tried to meet with exhibitors and bloggers on an ad-hoc basis but  overall it was an unproductive week.  It resulted in zero business and left me feeling deflated. I even considered briefly quitting travel blogging. Not surprisingly really, given my lack of WTM know-how.

Flash forward a year later.  I learned from my mistakes and took an entirely different approach the second time I attended.  It was like attending a completely different conference.  I was productive, actually met with the people I wanted to meet and got quite a bit of business from it.

Here’s what I learned and how you can avoid making the same mistakes that I did.

1. Register as Press.  This is easy and it gives you access to the Press Centre (more on that later) and to WTM on Monday. You can register here.

2. Define your goals before you attend WTM.  What do you want to get out of  the conference?  Meet industry contacts? Increase your knowledge of a particular topic? What destinations are you interested in visiting within the next year?  Do you want to meet up with other travel bloggers? Once you define your goals, you can develop a plan and strategize on how best to spend your time to meet your goals.

3. Plan your week before you go.  The WTM Mobile App makes it really easy.  I first check the speaker schedule.  I then schedule the sessions that I want to attend and book appointments around them where possible.  Of particular interest to travel bloggers are the WTMTBU sessions organized by Travel Bloggers Unite (TBU).  I have the honor of representing the PTBA in two of the sessions.  There is also the Social Media stream. In addition there are different themes ranging from travel technology to responsible tourism. If one of these themes fits with your niche it may be a good idea to consider attending some of these sessions as well. The entire Event Programme can be found here.

4. Make appointments prior to WTM.  WTM is a really busy time for everyone.  You don’t want to leave it to chance that the person you want to speak with will be available when you are.  It’s really easy to make an appointment using MyWTM which lets you request appointments and correspond with exhibitors. If there’s a particular blogger, you want to meet up with, I would also recommend reaching out to them in advance as well.  WTM is so big that it’s entirely possible not to bump into the person you were hoping to see.  A great place for meeting up with other bloggers is the Press Centre.  It’s also a good place to chill and check your messages between appointments.  Typically the Wi-fi is better here than in other parts of the conference.

5. Plan to Attend the Unofficial WTM Events.  These are what many bloggers, myself included, love most about WTM.  Here are a list of the events that I’m aware of:

6. Finally, if you still need further info, check out the TBU Advice Clinics.  These are free of charge and are being offered online at various times leading up to WTM.

Laurel Robbins is on the PTBA Board of Directors.  She gave up a career in university management in Canada and moved to Germany three years ago.  Since then she’s been blogging her away around the world at Monkeys and Mountains. When not traveling you can find her hiking in the Alps.

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The views in the links represent those of the author and not necessarily those of the PTBA or its Board of Directors.

9 Responses to World Travel Market Advice for Bloggers

  1. October 23, 2013 at 8:52 pm #

    Thanks Laurel, after a couple of blogging conferences, I’ve now finally signed up for PTBA and am looking forward to WTM! Your tips are great and I hope we all have a fun & productive time at the conference. See you in London! – Nienke

  2. October 28, 2013 at 10:41 am #

    @thetraveltester. Glad to hear it! Hope you get a lot out of it. Glad that you found the tips useful. See you in London!

  3. November 1, 2013 at 8:20 am #

    I seem to have ticked all the boxes this year! Not to forget there are competing events on somenights too tho like this one for example… 🙂

  4. November 1, 2013 at 11:06 am #

    @Peter – You must be a pro by now! 🙂 Good point. Thanks for letting us know about this event.

  5. June 15, 2014 at 10:06 pm #

    When you say you got a lot of “business” from it, what exactly are you referring to? Are the people there more interested in supplying information to future customers or are they focused more on talking about promotion deals on blogs and other media outlets (campaigns, press assignments, etc)?

    I’ve been to one TBEX and one public travel show in the USA and had met a lot of companies at each that generated a lot of partnerships for our site. Although, I do have to admit that the public one was more of an uphill battle since it was designed as a sales place and not for content producers/marketers. Is WTM more marketing driven or more customer driven as a public trade show?

    I have a lot of miles in my frequent flier account and may be relocating to Europe in 2015, so attending a show there this year seems like it may be a good idea. I’m hoping to pick two between WTM, TBEX Athens, and the PTBA conference in Asia (pending airfare) since they are all relatively close together date-wise.

  6. June 16, 2014 at 3:36 pm #

    @livingthedreamrtw It’s a good idea to make appointments beforehand that way you know you are meeting with someone interested in working with bloggers in some form or another. In my meeting request I usually state how I could potentially work with them and then if they’re interested they’ll accept the meeting, if not, then no one has wasted anytime. I’ve gotten paid blog trips, an consulting opportunities from WTM, (the type of work that I’m interested in) but all through targeted meeting requests that I set up prior to the event.

    WTM is most effective if you go on the ‘Industry’ Days, which is when most bloggers go. Lots happening in October and November, it’s definitely tough to choose, but I really like WTM for making connections with industry.


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