Quickest travel blog conference write-up in the world, maybe

This is a very brief post in response to a tweet from Mark of @101holidays asking about #TBUMBR on twitter. It will probably change or be superceded later this week!

Quick background – I’m @PeterParkorr, I started this blog Nov/Dec 2011 and this was my first travel blogging event of any sort – I havent even managed a #TTOT, #TNI or tweetup beforehand.

#TBUnite #TBUMBR organised by Oli Gradwell was in Umbria, Italy, as you probably know.

Friday 20th April was a day of 5 hour photo and video workshops for anyone interested who could arrive in time. 4 workshops ran concurrently and went either to Assisi or Perugia near to the conference centre http://www.vallediassisi.com/index.html

I attended a in-front-of and behind-the-cam video workshop by Rachelle Lucas aka @TravelBlggr – it was good! Very useful grounding for people new to these techniques, and she’s a pro obviously. Info on the other 3 workshops found by searching online, pal   :).

Day 1 was

The schedule!! (viva technologia!)

As a very new travel blogger – I actually only just managed to get my travel site  (half) online a day before the conf, without much content etc over at www.travelfree.li – I found almost everything useful, new, relevant, and was also impressed by how easy it was networking with everyone who attended. I may gush a lot about it all, so thats why!

The conference packed a lot into a short space of time and so everyone is feeling tired now – but I’m sure tonight will be a good last stand in case we dont see each other in a long while again.

The conference opened with a key note speech from Jeff Jung @careerbreaksecrets in which he spoke about the need for all of us to take ourselves seriously, and to think like the ‘travel experts’ we are, not down-playing our talents simply as bloggers.

This was followed with a panel of speakers, some of the better known travel bloggers in attendance gave their own recap of the good / bad of the last year and where they thought things were going next. Good information from all including, Melvin of @traveldudes, Kash from @budgettraveller, Debbie from @fourBGB, and a rep from intrepid travel (no name, sorry!). Oliver also talked at various points and introduced a couple of new changes to the industry he saw coming – such as the need for our own ad-network, jobs board and more.

Now I will run down the talks I attended, just throwing out the choicest cuts of my notes.

Day 1 – 1. How to get google to love you, from @Calibre based up in Edinburgh, Scotland – they know what they’re doing. Very up to date information for beginners on how to be SEO friendly with the most ease to ourselves, esp. concerning upcoming google changes they expect, being treated as a real person using Authorship, lots more stuff. Some attendees had a LOT of questions but we got through all the material in the end and for the rest of the weekend Calibre basically helped a lot of people for free whenever they were spare. Cheers guys – brilliant!

Day 1 – 2. Take PR and marketing to the next level, by Debbie from FourBGB. I love Debbie! She’s a great speaker, easy to listen to, very good at handling questions and giving the right info. Despite talks being labelled Beginner / Intermediate / Advanced, most speakers waited to see who turned up, asked a few questions and then pitched as they saw fit. It worked well. Covered what you should expect from sponsorships/partnerships, what they should expect, the need for good media packs, results from their own market research, and many other ways to make your business easier to interact with for PR peeps.

Day 1 – 3. How not to implode wordpress, from @theaussienomad. Chris has ~12 years experience with computing, and 2.5 years of his own blogging and WP. So he doesnt claim to be an uber expert, but knows a vast amount for how long he has been in the game. His new site @RTWlabs is looking really good. Basically covered practical tips on WP Core, Plugins, and Themes with his own recommendations. Great stuff, just what I needed.

Day 1 – evening – a great meal in Perugia, see my twitter and everyone elses for snaps, and a talk from various Umbria tourist board folk, and best of all a chat with Steve McCurry about his photography and opinions on photography. A belter of a bonus! Fun shinanigans in the hotel afterwards for some bloggers/PR, I’m sure evidences will surface soon    😀

[I got home at 3.30 to a venue outside of the resort by 3km on a borrowed bike – interesting. Would recommend you stay in resort in future for ease!!! Took a video I wanted to post and struggled with it / vimeo / net connection til 6am before giving up, grabbing 2 hrs sleep and heading back into the conf]

Day 2 – 1. How to get big brands sponsorship – from @theplanetd Dave and deb. These guys had so much to say, it was really crammed in there, I could listen to them a lot longer!! They are obviously doing well because of their hard work and experience, they really hit all the important aspects of marketing, branding, professionalism, working practices, industry expectations, where the industry is now, where it should be if we all want to do well – loads of stuff!!  See some of my tweets for the best tip from each sessions I went to. www.twitter.com/PeterParkorr

Day 2 – 2. Beth Whitman @wanderlusting on revenue streams. Beth covered 13 different income streams that are easy enough to use, and I think she used 11 herself but focussing on less now, to concentrate on the most effective ones. Good advice on pitfalls to avoid, whether you should even consider text links and banners, more branding, advice on good blogging, a lot of feedback on her personal experience of working in the insdustry and how much work is needed, and as with all the other talks, a very useful Q&A at the end.

Day 2 – 3. Spicing up your travel writing, by Abi King @insidetravellab – I had spoken to Abi quite a bit before her talk and was looking forward to it. She comes from several useful and unique (to travel blogging certainly) backgrounds and knows a lot about writing. She is also a top class speaker! [I have had corporate jobs in the past, have studied quite a bit academically, very interested in business, so not new to the world, I know a well prepared, concise, targeted talk when I see one]. She hit the nail on the head for anyone interested in improving the quality of their words, even people who already write well.

Day 2 – 4. I did some networking, and missed out on hearing Keith from @velvetescapes and Janice @solotraveller, as well as missing Mike Sowdon speak in an earlier session (and more, WildePR, Andy Hayes, more?). This speed networking was useful – I already knew everyone I chatted to quite well but it was ideal to be able to concentrate only on shop and see if we were actually useful to each other. I’m very interested to go to Finland this summer myself for a few months after chatting to Virpi from @visitfinland, and Berlin after speaking to Diana from @visitberlin   🙂

The last part of the conference was the biggest event for my mind. Oliver recapped some things from the industry, and left the floor for Jodi from @legalnomads to give her speech. I can say it was at least 90% new revelations in the bare facts to most attendees. On Jodi – she was a complete natural! Very relaxed as a speaker, she surprised most people with her humour and the crowd loved her for the exact point she was trying to make – dont just be a travel megaphone on twitter – be a real person. We heard about her love of space and geekiness, and how she has been shat on by 13 birds and 1 bat in her travels so far – all examples of bizarre parts of her life that her twitter audience related to. I really hope her speech is made available online – there was so much more she talked about worth listening too. She also mentioned 4/5 apps I had never heard of, and I can list about 40 twitter related apps that I have played with in the last 5 months of trying to get to grips with every bit of social media (more posts I have been meaning to write for weeks coming soon…   altho Jodi may well have just made them all obselete).

The apps were StrawberryJ.am, news.me, Percolate, and ManageFlitter (I knew that one) and the similar SocialBro Chrome extension, and Followerwonk.com. There were ZERO questions for Jodi at the end of her speech. My theory? People were a little in shock as to how well Jodi knew the twitter/socialmedia field, and how much we have to go away and learn. Some stuff simple – some complex. My opinion is that she has made her own life harder now as a lot of people will want more direction from her! Which she may or may not enjoy   🙂    Well done Jodi, made the conference.

Afterwards a final panel of Melvin, Janice, Debbie, Debs from theplanetD, and intrepids rep lady (I will find out her name asap) walked us through a tete a tete they had all had the evening before, about how travel bloggers and PR co’s can reduce each of their respective headaches from each other. This was also a conference highlight for me – a few others such as Angie from tbc who is a blogger and PR lady, Amy from @jetsettergypsy, Ken Kaminesky, Jeff Jung  and a few others, voicing their ideas of the industries best direction for working together smoothly (bloggers and PR firms/money spenders), which I hope to be continued somewhere accessible online.

That is all I have to report for now! There was tonnes more I could mention but I want to get on my bike back to the hotel and hang out with everyone again instead. And pack for the bloggers-only post conference tours tomorrow (I’ve bagged a white water rafting, zip lining, nature and adventure tour with 19 others).

I apologise for the poor standard of my reporting, and especially for details and people I have forgotten. Anyway, maybe a useful first idea of what went on here. I look forward to being part of this passionate and talented community in the future, near and far (gush gush gush).

Thanks to Oliver and all his (growing) team for arranging it, all the speakers and contributors, and the sponsors.



and @SenorSunset specifically for #travel and #photography purposes.



8 comments on “Quickest travel blog conference write-up in the world, maybe

  1. Good to meet you there, sir. Although of course I’m mortally, *mortally* wounded that you missed my talk. Sniff. 😉

    (I am however producing a PDF handout of what I said, hopefully ready in a couple of weeks, so *everyone* can marvel how dreadful it was).

    I agree, though – way too much travel blogging talent there for one weekend and I seemed to only get about 20 seconds hanging out with everyone, including your good self. It really was over in the blink of an eye…

    • Sorry Mike… 😛 Great to meet you in the end anyway, shame it wasn’t earlier in the conf! Yes, get that pdf together, I have drafted a post trying to link to all the notes from each speaker so the more the merrier – and I’d be interested to have a read myself. I’m not sure about future conferences yet from a bloggers point of view – but for a whirlwind of making friends and enjoying myself, sign me up! lol

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