04 Mar Getting Ready for Women in Travel Summit 2014
It’s 10 days until the first Women in Travel Summit, hosted by the Go Girl Travel Network. It will be in the Palmer House Hotel in the heart of Chicago. This Summit will bring together women involved in travel, whether they love exploring, are bloggers, or have a business. I love both this Network, and the Summit because they’re all about empowering women, and they also allow women to come together to support each other not only in travel, but in all ways.
How I’m Getting There
I’m taking Amtrak to Chicago. I haven’t been on a train in the U.S. since I was really little. I found a really good price, cheaper than a flight would be, and I’m really looking forward to the romance of train travel. And while the trip from Buffalo is pretty long, I’m hopefully I’ll get some sleep and plenty of writing done!
Where I’m Staying
While the Palmer House Hotel will be a wonderful venue, both for the conference, and for sleeping, but I’m staying at the Hostel International Chicago, just a few blocks away. I found a great price for the weekend and know a few other WITS attendees who are also staying there.
What I’m Looking Forward To In the City
The Go Girl Travel Network, along with DK Eyewitness Travel Guides posted a helpful guide of things to do in Chicago over the weekend. There are also a few things I have on my own list. I want to see the Art Institute, Hemingway’s birthplace in Oak Hills, and of course, try all of the great Chicago style food.
Speakers/ Panels I’ll Go To
While there are so many great speakers and panels, I, of course, can’t go to them all, though I wish I could. These speakers and panels have been broken up into three categories: Blogger, Entrepreneur, and Traveler. I’ll mostly be going to the Entrepreneur sessions, but there are some great ones for the Traveler and Blogger categories, like Budget Travel Tips, Being an Ethical Traveler, and Beating Writer’s Block. These are the the speakers I’m going to:
- 9:45 am: No One Makes a Full Time Income from Blogging: Creating a Diversified Income Portfolio– like the name implies, Gillian Duffy of One Giant Step will give advice on other ways to make money as a traveler and blogger.
- 11:00 am: Panel: How To Be Your Own Everything: The New, New Media Professional- This panel of Kelly Ferro, Mickela Mallozzi, Courtney Scott, and Gariné Tcholakian will give advice on being more than just a blogger, and also being a host, writer, editor, graphic designer, publicist, and more.
- 2:00 pm: Finding a Job In the Travel Industry (Or Make Your Own)- Anna Labat of Greenheart Travel will tell us the ins and outs of using travel experience and blogging to get a job in the travel industry and beyond.
- 3:15 pm: How to Be a Rock Star- the Founder and CEO of Yoga Tree Travel, Brooke Roberts, will gives tips on how to break out of the pack of other bloggers and learn how to be successful while building a career.
- 9:15 am: How to Score Great Press Trips- Jan Ross of Wanderlust Wonder will give tips on how to score press trips.
- 10:30 am: Monetization 101: Simple ways to start making money with your blog- Quia Querisma, of My Jet Set Style, will help bloggers monetize their blogs in various ways.
Special Features of the Summit
Besides meeting other travelers and bloggers, learning new things from more accomplished bloggers, and interacting with companies sponsoring the event, the WIT Summit is having early morning yoga at the Palmer House, a mentor program for new bloggers, tour specials for attendees, and plenty of meet ups for everyone involved.
They are also having an electronic schedule from Sched to save paper, and to allow personalization of your own schedule. Even though I usually choose a hard copy over an electronic one (don’t get me started on ebooks!) I really like this option. I’ll have to carry less during the weekend, and I can mark which sessions I’ll attend to arrange my own schedule, find details about the Summit and the different sessions, and find out who else is going to the sessions. Attendees can create a profile with a photo, links to their blogs or social media sites, and a bio, so we will be ready to meet each other when we’re there.
How I’ll Prepare
Before going to any conference it’s important to prepare. Even if you’re confident with your brand or blog, it’s good to freshen up what you’re going to say, or think of specific points to talk about with certain brands or fellow bloggers. Here are a few things I’m doing to prepare:
- Make an “Elevator Speech”- This is a few lines that will let people know what my blog is about. Having something memorized will keep you from stumbling over your words. And, this will make you think about exactly what your blog is about, so when the time comes, you will have a short, to the point speech that describes what you’re doing.
- Have Business Cards- this is just a great way to keep your information out to people quickly and easily. And it also looks really professional.
- Contact Brands, Companies, or Bloggers I’d like to Work With- There are plenty of great people coming to the Summit, and I definitely want to get involved with them. By contacting them early, either with an email or quick note saying how excited I am to meet them, or actually pitching an idea, it’s good to do this before the Summit because it will make them aware of you, and get them thinking before you actually meet. Besides, there are a lot of people to meet at the Summit, so any head start is worth it.
- Get Ready to Talk!- This is pretty obvious, but being really shy, and pretty timid, I kind of have to gear myself up to talk to new people. And because this is more than just a casual meeting, the pressure seems even heavier. So just telling myself I’ll have to talk, and thinking of things to say so I’m not super awkward, I will be more ready to talk to all of the great people who will be there!
- And Finally: Pack- See what I’ll be bringing to the Summit and find if there is anything you haven’t thought of to pack!
Want to join WIT Summit? Sign up here!
Who else is going to WITS? What are you doing to prepare?