While there are a couple of options for travel publisher (bloggers/writers/etc.) conferences in North America, at the moment there is one strong European standout option for travel bloggers: Travel Bloggers Unite (TBU). The conference, run by Oliver Gradwell, focuses on bringing both PR and travel bloggers together in one space to share experiences and learn a bit more about each other. While the conference is still fledgling, things seem to be on track and the first event in Manchester got rave reviews.
I was very excited to be sponsored by Iberia and Visit Austria to fly over and attend the second TBU, held in Innsbruck. I hadn’t been to Innsbruck in years, so it was nice to revisit some of those cake shops and cafes I enjoyed so long ago. Not much has changed, and I hope it stays that way.
TBU’s content this year was very strong. Some of the pertinent takeaways:
- PR’s message to bloggers was: we want to hear from you. PRs said they want feedback on their press releases and emails. And I’d agree, I’ve always said communications between PR, destinations and bloggers is key. (We want to hear from PR folks too!)
- Speaking of communications, it was suggested several times that bloggers have a robust media kit. I couldn’t agree more – and I’m biased, but think our media kit is awesome.
- Bloggers talked a lot about travelers vs tourists vs bloggers vs writers vs journalist. At the end of the day, though, I think everyone agreed the name is less important than knowing what you want to do (or be perceived) and then doing just that, every day.
I was a TBU speaker and spent one of the two mornings giving a series of presentations on email marketing. My big tips?
- Have a plan. Don’t just send emails when you feel like it.
- Know the law, because email marketing is regulated in most countries.
- Provide value – a newsletter that’s just a sales brochure is a wasted effort.
Our team knows a lot about email marketing and other online sales channels so don’t hesitate to give us a shout if you want some help!
A Value Luxury Surprise
At the end of the trip, all of the bloggers had an opportunity to choose one of the post-FAM trips, which were themed – “adventure,” “relax,” etc. I took the relax option and was so glad I did, because I fell in love with the charming town of Seefeld, up in the mountains near Innsbruck, halfway between Innsbruck and the German city of Munich.
Seefeld (pronounced say-feld) has some wonderful hotels, incredible spas, and lots of outdoor hiking/fitness options, perfect for a day of fresh air followed by beer, wine, and hearty meals in the evenings. Although Seefeld has made its fame from association with the Olympics, I wasn’t as familiar, and definitely put it into the value luxury category.
Next Stop: TBU 2012
I hope to see you in 2012 for the TBU Umbria event, where I’ll be speaking about PR/blogger relationships, email marketing (yes – again – it’s a popular topic!), and I’ll also be doing a session for bloggers about affiliate marketing. That sounds like a lot, but it’s a long trip, so I like to make the most of it. See you there?