Last weekend I attended the Traverse travel blogging conference in London, held in a fantastic location at Ravensbourne next door to the O2 and sponsored by some big travel brands, Jet2holidays, Cheapflights and Cathay Pacific to name just a few. The two-day event consisted of sessions, workshops and pro bars with an opportunity to book a one on one appointment with the speakers, plus plenty of networking with other bloggers and travel brands. In between chatting to the various travel brands and tourist boards I also picked up some great freebies, who doesn’t love a freebie?! I attended the first Traverse event back in 2013 and although I’d been before I was a little apprehensive about going alone. I needn’t have been though, I Tweeted a few days before to find out who else was attending and got a ton of responses from others going alone. From that Tweet I met and bumped into pretty much all the people I spoke to, it just goes to show the power of social media. If you are going alone don’t be nervous get chatting to people online, you will meet plenty of new bloggers and everyone is so friendly.
There were so many interesting sessions and workshops I struggled to choose which ones to attend. I finally settled on the ones below, click on the links to see the slides and presentation notes. For the talks you can’t make, a good plan is to swap notes with other bloggers who attended different sessions. The speakers will often provide their notes afterwards on their blog as well or keep an eye out on Twitter or Traverse Events. This year the #Traverse17 hashtag has been used for all things Traverse related, so take a look for information and updates from the weekend and from those who attended. It was also used to order booze during the closing panel, a genius tradition that has been going since the first conference!
Sessions I attended:
PR yourself and your blog – How to stand out through content and connections – Susan Schwartz and Alexandra Delf
How to gain followers on Instagram without loosing yourself – Nicola Easterby
Work with Spain – Brand session
How to work with brands and negotiate – Kylie Bawden
How to create successful professional partnerships based on the written word – Abi King
The other thing I should mention is that Traverse isn’t just about sessions and workshops, the social side is absolutely awesome! The opening party was held at Altitude London’s Skyloft bar in partnership with Jet2holidays, stunning views of the city accompanied by complimentary alcohol and canapés made for a fantastic first evening. Saturday night was hosted by City Cruises and sponsored by Cheapflights. We boarded our boat for the evening at Greenwich Pier and cruised all the way along the Thames passing plenty of famous landmarks such as the Tower of London, London Eye and the highlight was passing under London Bridge. The sparkling wine was flowing and the evening was a pretty magical one! Finishing off at Westminster it was time for one last sneaky drink at St Stephen’s Tavern opposite the Houses of Parliament before bed. Sunday’s conference was rounded off with a closing panel and party at Iberica in Canary Wharf for more drinks and food. Lunch was also provided over the two days, so you definitely won’t go hungry!
What to wear:
This was a big question mark for me, I couldn’t decide between smart or casual, boots or flip-flops, I’m so indecisive! I struggled with my packing especially as the Saturday conference was followed by the boat trip, what would I wear?! I eventually settled on a smart casual look and definitely packed more than I needed for the weekend! From trainers to heels and dresses to jeans, the answer is dress how you feel comfortable as everyone certainly did at the event.
What to take:
I wasn’t sure if I should take my laptop to make notes on, in the end I opted for good old-fashioned pen and paper, which gave me the perfect excuse to buy a new notebook. Take business cards with you and hand them out at every opportunity, especially when chatting to the travel brands, you never know where it could lead. I took a copy of the timetable with the weekends talks on too so I could keep an eye on the different sessions going on and work out what to attend.
What I’ve learnt:
I learnt so much from the weekend but the main things I have taken away with me include the fact that your blog needs to have a niche. It’s not enough to simply say you are a travel and lifestyle blogger you need to delve further! So my niche is: I’m travel and lifestyle blogger with a passion for road trips, surfing and outdoor adventures; as a first time Mum family travel is a focus too. There we go, I now have a niche…or a few! Being yourself goes along way too and putting personality into your blog will make it a more interesting and personal read. Less is more: this is definitely something I am taking on board when writing, don’t ramble just get to the point!
I met so many lovely people, it was great to talk travel with fellow travel bloggers and brands. Shout out to Kerry from 9 – 5 Girl Escapes for the selfies and to Nicole from Lost In This Whole World, Claire from Saltwater, Gemma from Little Miss Gem Travels and Neil the Barefoot Backpacker. #Traverse18 is being held in Rotterdam and I’m looking forward to it already! Huge thanks to Paul and Michael from Traverse Events for putting together another awesome conference!
If you are new to blogging and attending travel events for the first time fight those nerves and just go for it. Learn, network, but most of all don’t forget to have fun, I certainly did!