Socializing in the travel industry has been the single most beneficial action I have taken to enhance both my career and my personal life since moving to New York City last year. It has not only helped me grow my blog readership and strengthen my social media networks, but has also led to the formation of new (offline) friendships, opportunities to travel, job interviews, and the chance to engage with and learn from industry leaders I wouldn't have otherwise gained access to. Sure, I still spend a decent amount of my time at home (or in neighborhood cafes) writing posts, editing photos, pitching stories and planning new trips. I also work hard to balance this with time spent out in the world gathering content, finding inspiration, and most importantly, networking. If you’re based in New York City and are curious about starting a career in the travel industry, or, already work in the industry and looking for different ways to engage with like-minded peers, here are six events to join now:
Frequency: 2015 Academy Day + Annual Summit
The crowd: Industry veterans, bloggers/writers, editors, PR agencies, social media influencers, start-up founders
You are: Interested in a career in the travel industry, a travel industry veteran and need to refresh your skill set, a content creator looking to grow your network and learn/share best practices
Travel +SocialGood was launched in 2013 in partnership with the UN Foundation's +SocialGood network. T+SG's mission is “to propel the travel industry to meet its potential for global positive impact” which is becoming increasingly more important now that international tourist arrivals are expected to reach 1.8 billion by 2030 (UNWTO). This year’s T+SG Academy Day is comprised of classes that will offer practical, how-to insights on career development, entrepreneurship, community building, content creation, and more. At workshops like this, it’s important to study the RSVP list in advance (in this case, on Bizzabo) in order to plan who is most important to "bump into" in-between sessions.
Cost: $$ (Tickets for the T+SG Academy Day on Oct. 23 can be purchased here. Use the promo code "ONECARRYON" to receive 20% off your purchase ticket price.)
The crowd: Bloggers/writers, editors, PR agencies, hospitality professionals, social media influencers, start-up founders
You are: Working in the travel industry and moved to a new city, interested in meeting editors to later pitch stories to, a content creator looking to grow your network
Travel Massive launched in 2011 and has grown into a global community of over 12,000 travel professionals from 113 countries. The organization aims to be "open to all the travel industry, to be free to attend, and to encourage people to connect and share globally”. After attending the Durban chapter launch earlier this year, it was really cool to feel like I'm welcome at any Travel Massive event no matter where I go. Applying on the Travel Massive website is also the only way you can RSVP for a Travel Massive event. New York City Travel Massive events draw around 100 to 200 participants of varying backgrounds and there is often a long waitlist, so it’s best to RSVP immediately when you receive an email. I recently participated in New York’s first ever Travel Massive Mini event, which was a smaller workshop held at Quinn PR to discuss press trips and best practices. Keep your eye out for more mini-missives in the future.
Cost: Free (drinks included, plus the opportunity to win a sponsored prize)
The crowd: Travel agents, hospitality professionals, bloggers/writers
You are: Interested in a career in the travel industry, looking to switch jobs in the travel industry, looking for sales connections in the travel industry
At Young Travel Professionals, the conversation is more likely to be about who you work for and less about your latest trip or next adventure. This crowd has a more polished and professional feel, so get ready to trade business cards. For those who are serious about networking in order to make a career change or work at a hotel or travel agency, this is a great event to start with.
Cost: Free (drinks not included)
The crowd: Industry veterans, bloggers/writers, social media influencers, destination management companies, PR agencies, travel agents
You are: Interested in travel trends and a big picture overview, a content creator looking to grow your network, investor looking for industry insight
Skift is one of the largest online travel news outlets and an influential marketing platform for travel businesses. Their annual Global Forum is designed to be a creative business forum where thought and business leaders gather in one room for a series of live interviews and forums over the course of two days. I find there is a greater emphasis on technology and start-ups at Skift events.
The crowd: Bloggers/writers, social media influencers, destination management companies, tourism bureaus, PR agencies, travel agents
You are: Interested in a career in the travel industry, a content creator looking to grow your network, are curious about starting a blog or a business
NY TravFest combines workshops, lectures, panels with enough free time to meet with tourism boards, other content creators and influencers.. Because the event draws a wide range of levels of writers and photographers, it’s perfect for someone who has just started a blog or is curious about starting one. The opportunity to speak with experienced writers and social media influencers in real life can be a great confidence booster.
Frequency: Annually (January 8-10, 2016)
The crowd: Industry veterans, tour operators, estination management companies, tourism bureaus, PR agencies, travel agents, bloggers/writers, social media influencers
You are: Interested in consumer travel trends, a content creator looking to grow your network, a travel agent interested in seminars dedicated to your travel niche
I have been attending the New York Times Travel Show since I was studying tourism in college. It’s one of the largest travel trade and consumer events in the U.S. and is a great way to gain a big-picture overview of what’s going on in consumer travel this year. The trade day workshops are broken down by travel niche and interest. On the weekend, when the event is open to the public, there are presentations by industry veterans and influencers. As a creative freelancer, this event provides a great opportunity to make a face to face connection with a tourism board.
Cost: $ (2016 tickets)
Have you been to a great travel industry networking event recently? Leave a comment below and tell me about it.