(C) Picture: Messe Berlin
/// Updated version for ITB 2015 ///
ITB 2014 is coming up – from 4.3. to 8.3. 2015 one more time Berlin is the center of the travel world. ITB has a lot to offer for travel bloggers – for example the Travel Massive, tweet ups, blogger bars as well as panels and workshops. This blog post is dedicated to newbies – Bloggers who attend the ITB for the first time and don’t know the insights nor how to deal with potential partners and other bloggers.
Tip 1: Start planning NOW
Who do you want to meet? To which meetings do you want to go? How do you get to Berlin and where do you sleep? Now is the time to find answers to these questions. Take speed dating as an example, which the ITB organizes: The registration is already closed!
Which brings us to the next tip:
Tip 2: Set up Appointments NOW
Arrange appointments well in advance for ITB. The trade visitor days at the ITB are from Wednesday to Friday – after that, it is very likely that important managers leave. So all your important business meetings should be held within the first 2.5 days. The challenge here: most managers – responsible for blogger relations – work in the corporate communications department of the company. As most press conference are being held on the first two days of ITB, availability to meet with a responsible manager is shortened automatically.
Therefore: to get a spontaneous and unannounced appointment at the ITB with the right person “by chance “ is very unlikely. Neither does it look professional. So pre-ITB research is your friend – call the companies that you are interested in, find out who is responsible for bloggers and if there is any interest in a cooperation or a conversation. The next step is to make a short half-hour appointment with that person. You should also check which PR agencies as they might be of interest to speak to and set an appointment. To find out who’s going to be at the ITB, register for the Virtual Market Place of ITB. Also check if possible partners are registered and contact them directly there. If signing up for Virtual Market place, make sure to create a convincing profile, thus you can be found and you can interest partners in contacting you.
Tip 3: It’s all about networking
Last year, the dates for bloggers were bountiful. It started at Travel Massive on the eve of the ITB, went beyond the Tweet Up on Wednesday and run almost the entire trade days.
You can registrate for this years Travel Massive here. (You need a Travel Massive profile to do so)
There are only few spots left for the iambassador and traveldudes Tweet Up on Wednesday. You can registrate here.
You can also find interesting events for bloggers on the ITB Berlin page.
Tip 4: Prepare NOW
Now is the time to create a media kit, which you should update shortly before the ITB with your latest blog and social media channels statistics. Think about whether your blog needs a new fancy design and order business cards – naturally matching your blog design. Professional working bloggers are more likely to be taken seriously. Think about a possible cooperation, which you want to offer to companies and do some research in advance, whether that company is generally open for working with bloggers or not.
Tip 5: Elevator Pitch it
If you have done your homework, then you should be able to formulate your concerns so you can pitch in 30 or 60 seconds (It’s called the Elevator Pitch). This is precisely the time that your counterpart at the show really pays attention to you. If you have that attention you go can further into details of your ideas. A little practice in pitching can’t hurt. What is the niche of your blog? What is your USP?
Tip 6: Go into detail – but don’t spend too much time walking
The exhibition ground is huge. Calculate long ways to meet your appointments. If you need to walk from Hall 21 to Hall 12, then you might need up to 20 minutes for your way, when the ITB is packed (which is the case at the trade days) – so plan your schedule accordingly. Even consider calls in between. Take advantage of the shuttle bus if possible. Less is more. Select your appointments and events consciously. (Many official press events / conferences are not very interesting for bloggers). This gives you time to use spontaneous opportunities.
You should also definitely download the ITB app onto your phone that bundles all the information (Exhibition schedule, event schedule, list of exhibitors, etc.).
Tip 7: Dress up bitch, it’s the ITB!
To be frank: yes, you defend your individuality on your blog. Everyone should know that you are hardcore backpacker and like to crawl through the jungles of this world. But the ITB is the ITB, business is business and there is a place for everything. Dress in a smart business outfit. It does not need to be boring and should match your personality, but it should not scare your business counterpart. You are here to talk and any manager should take you seriously.
About the author: Angelika worked ten years as a spokeswoman for airlines and this year celebrates her 12th ITB anniversary.