I attended the Women in Travel Summit in Boston in March 2015, and have compiled a few tips and things to keep in mind if you plan on attending any of the upcoming conferences.
Attending a conference by yourself can be daunting for a first-timer or an introvert, and after attending the Boston Women in Travel Summit (WITS15) on my own I want to share a few things to keep in mind and some tips to help you create an experience that is fulfilling for you.
About the Women in Travel Summit
The Women in Travel Summit (WITS) is the conference of Wanderful, a global community of travellers and creators. Billed as 'the premier event for travel's top marketing talent', WITS began in 2014 and was created by Wanderful founder Beth Santos in direct response to the lack of gender diversity in the industry.
The conference is a two-day event jam-packed with educational sessions, networking opportunities and fun.
Who should attend?
If you are a travel blogger or writer this conference is for you! It doesn't matter if you are a beginner blogger or have been at it for some time, there are tons of learning opportunities, time to meet the sponsors & create relationships, and meet other travel bloggers.
Here are some of my top tips for getting the most out of your time at WITS:
- Read all of the emails and communication that come your way from the organizing team for the most up-to-date information on recommended accommodations, the schedule with session details, attending sponsors, parties & networking events and pre-conference excursions.
- Join the Facebook group to connect with other attendees, find someone to share accommodations, or get local information which is especially great if it's your first time visiting the city.
- Attend some pre-conference tours. These short city-specific tours are free for conference attendees and take place in the day or two before WITS starts led by local guides - historical walks, food tours and local highlights. Not only do you get to experience local culture, you'll meet some great people before the conference even starts. I didn't take advantage of these tours and definitely would do it the next time!
- Try not to compare your travel experience with those that you meet. There will be established bloggers with large followings, full-time travel writers, travel industry professionals and beginner bloggers. Everyone is on their own journey.
- Go to the happy hour and networking events, even if it means stepping out of your comfort zone. This was challenging for me as an introverted first-timer, but everyone attending were friendly, welcoming and many people were also attending alone.
What to expect
- You will meet a lot of people at the conference! Take advantage of the opportunity to meet fellow bloggers and travel writers, practice your elevator pitch, meet the event sponsors and build your own relationships for partnerships.
- Fun swag. Make sure you have room in your luggage for the great sponsor swag and goodies. Don't forget to share your favourites on social media and tag the sponsor - foster those relationships.
- Lots of delicious food. The conference includes breakfast, snacks at break time and lunch so you definitely won't go hungry.
- There will always be people gathering to go out for dinner or drinks after the conference ends for the day. If you need some time to chill and re-energize, get some recommendations for a local restaurant and head out to enjoy the city.
The best piece of advice I can give: do the things you want to do, attend the sessions that make sense for you and most of all have fun!