The travel industry has grown so much in the last few years and continues to evolve, so much so that the opportunities available to bloggers and content creators are now virtually endless. This is one of the best ways to stay on top of industry trends, learn new skills, make connections and get to know tourism boards and brands. Here are the top travel conferences and networking opportunities for content creators and bloggers in 2020.
Women in Travel Summit (WITS)
The Women in Travel Summit, affectionately referred to as WITS, started in 2014 and has since become one of the best conferences for women, content creators, and others in the travel industry. Held in beautiful and underrated destinations across Canada and the U.S., WITS has expanded to Europe this year with an inaugural conference in Riga, Latvia.
Out of all the conferences I attended this year, I have to admit I truly enjoyed my time at WITS the most. There’s something unique about being at a conference with a community of 400 like-minded women.
The content and level of conversation is curated to appeal to topics women are dealing with within the travel industry, from starting a business, to growing and monetizing a blog, social media strategy, and negotiating contracts that are in line with what you’re worth.
During the conference, you’ll be able to meet with a great variety of sponsors, tour companies, blogging services, tourism boards and more.
In addition to one-on-one meetings, WITS even has a unique speed-dating-type networking event where content creators have a chance to stop by sponsor tables for a limited time and get answers to all their questions. The Media Marketplace power networking event has been such a hit in the past that it’s evolved into a full day in 2020 and now takes place ahead of the conference.
The 3-4 days leading up to the conference are usually filled with tours of the host city and events that are put on by the tourism board or sponsors. Post-conference, there are sponsored FAM trips that you can apply for.
All in all, in addition to making awesome connections, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to explore your host city and get a ton of content. Don’t forget to pack a fancy dress for the Bessie Awards taking place during the last night of the conference.
You’ll leave WITS feeling empowered and ready to take on the world!
Women in Travel Summit (WITS)
Dates: May 1-3, 2020 in Kansas City
Cost: $399 USD, advanced ticket $299 USD
Pangea Dreams Retreats
Attending a Pangea Dreams retreat is another valuable networking experience for bloggers and content creators. Held in amazing locations all over the world, the retreats are a great place to learn valuable skills required to jumpstart your career.
I attended the Tulum retreat in 2017 and it helped me connect with my voice in the industry as well as flush out my brand and my mission.
The retreats have themes, like learning photography and content touring in awesome destinations like Morocco and India. Learn the basics of content creation, blogging, search engine optimization, and social media at Signature retreats in Bali and Peru, or learn advanced blogging and content creation skills at the Advanced Mastermind Retreat in Tulum.
The best part of these retreats is the sisterhood. You’ll spend a week with a wonderful group of women that will not only become colleagues, but good friends.
I’ve re-connected with women from my retreat in Tulum while traveling all over the world. I’ve also had a chance to meet fellow alumni members through our Facebook group and Instagram. It makes all the difference in the world leaving a wonderful retreat and knowing that you have a great support system and resource to lean on as you grow your business.
TravelCon is the new kid on the block as far as travel conferences go, but still manages to make my list of the top travel conferences for 2020.
Started in 2018 by Nomadic Matt, one of the original travel bloggers in the industry, the conference attracts up to 800 bloggers, vloggers, travel writers, influencers and other industry heavyweights.
TravelCon takes place in North America and brings in top-notch speakers and industry experts from all over the world for attendees to learn from. The quality of the sessions is unrivalled, and it is the perfect place to soak up as much knowledge as possible from successful content creators that have shaped the industry into what it is today.
The 3-day conference also brings together a wide variety of sponsors and is amazing for networking with tourism boards and brands that you want to work with in the future.
In 2020, TravelCon will also start offering tours the day before the conference and FAM trips afterwards, and when you’re in a destination like New Orleans, they’re sure to be amazing.
One of the best parts about TravelCon is the virtual pass – it comes free with every ticket purchased or can be bought independently if you’re able to attend the conference in person. The virtual pass gives you online access to the 40+ sessions from the conference, so you can watch your favourite ones again, or catch up on the ones you missed.
Dates: May 8-10, 2020 in New Orleans
Cost: $449 USD
Traverse is a conference in Europe, held in awesome destinations all over the continent every spring. Known as an “anti-conference” and resembling a festival more so than a regular conference, it’s unlike any other event you’ve attended.
This past year, the conference was held in the beautiful region of Trentino, in northern Italy and it was absolutely beautiful. The gorgeous location contributed a lot to the overall quality of the conference.
Taking place over three days, Traverse also puts on a variety of local tours of the host city the week ramping up to the conference. It’s a great opportunity to mingle with attendees and make new friends before the event starts.
There are also sponsored tours you can apply for that take place after the conference and give you a chance to work with local sponsors and tour different areas of the nearby region.
Traverse tends to have fewer sponsors than Travelcon and WITS, but they’re hand-picked, popular European brands and tourism boards.
One of the things I liked most about Traverse was getting to know a different community. Since it takes place in Europe, Traverse attracts mostly European travel bloggers, influencers and bloggers, setting it apart from the other top travel conferences on my list. It’s a great way to expand your network and get to know like-minded people in Europe.
Dates: 2020 dates announced soon, it typically takes place between April and June
Cost: Starts at 90 Euros
Blog post written by Tulum Retreat 2017 Alumna Ioana. Find her on Instagram: @ioanasbucketlist
Ioana Stoica helps people fall in love with hidden corners of the world. Having recently left the corporate world, Ioana now freelances and authors The World Is My Playground, a culture and adventure travel blog that follows her adventures around the world.