Every year, with the arrival of the first warm rays of spring sunshine, Berlin is host to the world’s largest travel trade show: ITB Berlin. It is a harbour of creativity, alive with the smiles and warmth of peoples from all over the world coming to network, learn, communicate and share. “Granny, ITB is likely as big as the city you live in”, I recall explaining a few weeks ago while talking about my travels to Berlin. You need at least half an hour to cross the entire exhibition grounds, if not more: Over 20 large halls display the international travel trade show on several floors! The key to success at this “ITB marathon”? Having a plan. Knowing your priorities. Good shoes. And lots of business cards.
(Travel)Bloggers are the new digital media stars at ITB Berlin. They communicate, network and host a number of talks. The international travel world is impressed …
… and by long already working with and responding to our network of digital media experts. More than 200 national and international bloggers have been accredited for ITB Berlin in 2014. What makes professional travel bloggers? Among others, a certain market reach, measured by key numbers and (Social Media) statistics. I am happy to note that my own website “Creativelena.com” has already neared 100.000 page views since its early beginnings, now averaging some good 2.500 unique readers a month – media statistics that continue to rise thanks to the growing influence of Social Media interactions. And the best thing about it is the following formula: 1+1=3! Bloggers and online travel writers like us share thoughts with interested tourism companies through professional, so-called “Blogger-Speeddatings“, meet each other at ITB media centre, gather for “iambassador-Travel Tweet-ups” or host a number of other, different networking events. The result? Interest as well as numbers & Social Media figures are on the rise. A virtual buzz, if you wish: Sharing related content via the use of #hashtags (Social Media keywords) cause a real wave to ripple through the online community. It certainly is exciting enough.
Now how am I going to explain all that to my granny? 🙂
But it does not stop there. Now the UNWTO World Tourism Organization is impressed with us travel writers & Social Media experts, too.
At the end of his ITB talk, leading creative tourism analyst Greg Richards even goes as far as saying, “Elena, you should know more about this than I do, since you are the one actually travelling around the world (and reporting about it)!”
So what is happening here? Even myself, I am often too stunned to believe it all, though I am right in the centre of this fast-moving, spinning world of online society. Back in 2004, I have first travelled to ITB Berlin as a young student – at a time where Facebook and the power of bloggers as digital opinion leaders was not even heard of. How was I to know that ten years later, I would be coming back as a professional travel blogger / online travel writer? On my ITB badge in 2014, it is written “Elena Paschinger. Austria. Blogger”. It certainly is cool!
Back in 2005, I have been on an internship with the United Nations World Tourism Organization in Madrid. Now, it is me who is talking to my former colleagues here at ITB about the likes of creative cultural tourism research as well as effective communication through blogs & Social Media. Wow. Happy as can be, I walk away from my inspirational one-hour talk with them, only to be welcomed to another promising travel blogger event. A world we live in …
Last but not least, I am actually using ITB Berlin “predominantly” as a research facility for my next round the world trip and book project.
Yes guys. I could, but I do not have to. Travelling around the world once more. Writing a book. Now you know this much, dear readers. But who of you, living with the travel bug, would not be tempted to seize this incredibly exciting opportunity? Next to my friends & family, you are now officially the first ones to know. These upcoming travel plans are going to be the basis for a long desired project of mine: Writing my very first book. A life dream for me, the very thought making me feel giddy and happy on the inside! Also, or especially, when you have already written almost 400 travel articles as an online travel writer at www.Creativelena.com. ITB is centre stage in all of this right now. Here, I have come to research creative destinations all over the world, from Vanuatu to the Philippines, from Santa Fe to Madagascar. The first talks already prove to offer a lot of emotions, adventure and beautiful experiences on the way ahead. Travelling the creative way, in sync with the local populations on this planet Earth is simply who and how I am – and this is what I intend to share with you in my book. As a practical and useful travel handbook for travellers worldwide. I AM SO MUCH LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS! All my emotions, then, go into the ITB press conference talking about our national association Creative Tourism Austria. I have a feeling it all falls into place: Quality, reliability, a creative vision spiced with humour and the eternal trust that life is good and full of exciting, fulfilling opportunities. Bring it on, then, I say!