women in travel summit by wanderful

If someone told you 15 years ago that partnering with bloggers is essential for your marketing, you probably would have thought they were crazy.

Today, blogs are the #1 resource that Millennials are using to make purchasing decisions. That means consumers in their 20s and early 30s are turning to blogs even before their friends and family for purchasing advice!

That may still seem a little crazy, but think about all the content and distractions we have to process every day. Especially with Millennials spending so much time online, it is no surprise that the personalized recommendations of bloggers are more influential and trustworthy to them.

So what does all this mean for your brand… and where do you begin? If you’re reading this, you are already in the right place. From the companies who are already experts at working with bloggers, to those who have never tried it, we have consistently seen so many strong partnerships built through the Women in Travel Summit. With the below guidelines and best practices you can make your marketing dollars work for you at this year’s WITS!

Determine How You Want to Work With Bloggers

Are you trying to increase brand awareness, build social media engagement, raise your sales? Are you trying to build relationships with travel bloggers so that you can use them later, or are you just looking for a social media spike now? What is your timeline and what are key performance indicators for you? Going into the summit knowing your goals and how you want to work with bloggers can help you be even more successful before, during, and after WITS happens.

Networking Hour

WITS ’15 Networking Hour! Photo courtesy of Marissa Sutera.

Set Up Meetings Before WITS

Last year, 78% of our bloggers shared an interest in meeting with our sponsors. Though the 30 minute segments between sessions will keep you busy, you’ll find that the times when sessions are taking place can get very quiet. Use this opportunity to schedule meetings with those bloggers you really want to sit down with. That way you’ll have face-to-face time before things get too crazy.

Help Bloggers Take Action

The bloggers coming to WITS are all warm leads — they’re jazzed about meeting you, excited to explore partnership opportunities, and feeling the buzz of the summit activity around them. If you have an exhibitor table, encourage bloggers to hang around for a while with a fun activity. Remind bloggers to tweet, blog, Instagram, use your hashtag, etc. during the summit, and give them a reason to connect with you afterward. A little encouragement can go a long way!

women in travel summit by wanderful

Destination Irvine talking with attendees at WITS ’15. Photo courtesy of Kayti Burt/Women in Travel Summit by Wanderful.

Remember that standing or sitting behind a table can feel awkward at first, because there is a division between you and your prospect. Consider standing in front of or next to your table, pass out candy, or engage attendees in a conversation. Many of our bloggers are excited to approach you, but don’t quite know how — so take it upon yourself to start the conversation!

Don’t Skip the Networking Events

It’s tempting after a long conference day to crash, and skip the evening networking events. But you could be missing out on valuable interactions that could lead to long-term business relationships (or friendships!) that tend to flow a easier in the more laid back atmosphere. In fact, we’ve been told that the parties at WITS are more energizing than exhausting!

women in travel summit by wanderful

Grabbing food to kick off the WITS 2015 opening party! Photo courtesy of Kayti Burt/Women in Travel Summit by Wanderful.

This post was written by WITS ’16 Planning Team Member Marissa Sutera.