Since about 10 years, I find myself regularly attending the world largest travel trade show ITB in Berlin. But one thing has really caught me by surprise this year: “Even at the beginning of the fair, I hardly have any more time slots for travels available this year …!” Since our early beginnings at the start of this decade, the travel blogging world has clearly become a lot more professional: Starting with book projects back at ITB 2014, moderating a panel discussion for the World Tourism Organization at ITB 2015, and now book presentations, EU-projects & more international travel projects in 2016. Taking from what my equally successful colleagues such as Janett Schindler, Gudrun Krinzinger, Gerhard Liebenberger, Christine Neder or Yvonne Zagermann have to say, it’s clear I’m not the only one. Almost all of us, who have invested years and years into building our network, carefully selecting who to work with as well as where to go & how to cooperate, are now faced with the same “challenge”, albeit not new:
Good people are simply in demand.
“Elena, nice to meet you, how are you?! Actually, I am looking for someone regarding a social media & blog campaign …” Robert Kropf, of the Austrian digital publishing house Insiderei, starts talking to me after a “chance” meeting at the ITB media centre. I haven’t seen Robert in two years, but him and I both remember our first networking meeting and all of our successful developments ever since. And this is how it goes … “Send us an offer, will you … Let me see what we can do. … Do you still have any time available this summer, actually?!”
And this is me “just wanting” to spend “two hours in Canada” on the first day of the fair, because that’s where I’m actually headed this year: 10 weeks in Canada. Completely creative, on an individually designed & supported journey.
But what would be the largest travel trade show in the world without its most famous sentence: “Good to see you again!” Especially among bloggers …
… things get naturally creative anyway: Learning how to do your own “blogger’s chocolate” at the fair, for instance. Tasting cherry beer. Celebrating birthdays, successes, meetings in general. Tweeting & posting about it immediately. More than ever, taking care to negotiate with partners on a respectful, eye-to-eye level. My dear book, “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”, is a great help in this sense, supporting my career as a published author for all negotiations on end. I just love to pass on individual copies to trusted bloggers, colleagues and networking partners around ITB Berlin.
On another level, “cultural tourism in Europe” is clearly progressing, too. We have come to introduce our new EU project EUROPETOUR, Creative Tourism Austria as well as this year’s cultural tourism study analysis.
Did you know that an average day spent at ITB Berlin adds up to a good 10 kilometres on foot? No wonder I’ve changed from my ballerinas to the much more comfortable jogging shoes by the end of Day 3. Tickling toes pay off though, especially in the light of truly successful events: Some 20 media representatives have gathered for our press lunch at ITB’s restaurant Brandenburg, including a presentation of the “Deutsche Reiseanalyse” (German travel research), the European Union project “EuropeTour“ about cultural tourism in rural areas as well as Creative Tourism Austria, celebrating five years of existence this year.
More & more, it is all about sharpening your own profile. I am paying tribute to this trend with my recent blog relaunch as well as the continuous presentation of my book, “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”.
After my first book presentation as part of the London World Travel Market last year, speaking at the Second Congress of the Brazilian bloggers in the city of Porto, my first reading & round the world trip presentation in Krems and many more presentations ever since, the ITB Berlin means another opportunity for introducing my “Creative Traveler’s Handbook”. Right now, I have even been asked to submit a contribution for an Indian Journal on creative tourism, with this year entirely following in this trend. It has once more been a great pleasure to receive support from my national partner, the Austrian National Tourist Board in Berlin for hosting this book presentation at ITB Berlin.
Thank you all for coming !!! 😀
So all that’s left is to share one or two more words about Berlin. Where to sleep in style. And which food market clearly is a hot tip for your next visit to the city …!
Every time my dear friend Monika and I talk about where we stay this time round, the look on people’s faces goes from astonishment to concern: “Well yes, we are staying at the Cube Berlin Mitte … Those are some kind of container lodges, centrally heated and right in the middle of Berlin, close to the S-Bahn ‘Nordbahnhof’. The bathrooms, too, are in separate, centrally heated and ultra-modern ‘Cubes’, really nothing to complain about … special indeed, I have to say. In summer, it must be awesome to stay in style right next to the large beach volleyball ground attached ..!”
Nicole & Pacelli, my expat friends from Brazil living in Berlin now for some six years, also take it on to show me “their Berlin”. We start with a stroll around Berlin Moabit and our visit to the Arminiusmarkthalle, a district and its food market I have NEVER even heard of before but now cannot recommend highly enough. Close to Berlin Mitte and our Cube Lodges, be sure to visit both them and Moabit district when in Berlin!
Check out my Flickr photo album for even more impressions about ITB Berlin 2016:
Disclaimer: We have been invited by Cube Lodges Berlin Mitte during our stay in Berlin. All opinions are my own.