Top Three Conferences for DMOs Looking to Connect with Travel Journalists

April 28, 2014

As a PR professional, your job is dependent on the strength of your network and relationships scrabblewith journalists.

Just like the game of Pictionary—your success is dependent on your team (not to mention artistic expertise). My best game of Pictionary started with the clue of “animal,” my partner drew a line, and I guessed “snake.” Not surprisingly, we won the game! Successful teams need good synergy, adaptability and clear communication.

But where do you meet great partners or media contacts to build an effective team? Conferences are your key to building quality relationships and new editorial contacts.

Here are my three favorites:

  1. The “Risk” of Travel Conferences

    Like adventure travel, Risk is a competitive game where players must travel around the map, taking over continents, protecting their ports and attacking adjacent territories.

    Adventure Travel Trade Association’s Adventure Travel World Summit

    Killarney, Ireland: October 6 – 9, 2014

    While it’s not a traditional journalist association per say, the conference attracts 40–50 top tier media such as representatives from National Geographic Traveler, Outside Magazine and USA Today. The relaxed feel of the conference makes it easy to network.  Industry Partner Membership Fee: $1,000; Conference Fee $1,150 (members); $1,550 (non-members)

  1. The “Scrabble” of Travel Conferences

    Scrabble is a game for writers. Players need to quickly craft words using only seven letters and the board game. The better the word, the more points you receive.

    Society of American Travel Writers Annual Convention

    Iceland: September 15 – 20, 2014

    This conference is definitely worth going through the lengthy accreditation process for associate members as it’s North America’s premier gathering of travel content creators. Annual Dues $300, Associate Conference Fee $2,150. Must be SATW members to attend.

  2. The “Trivial Pursuit” of Travel Conferences

    Not only was this game invented in Montreal, but it’s very popular in Canada.

    Travel Media Association of Canada Annual Conference/AGM

    Pittsburgh, PA:  May 28 – 31, 2014

    Canada’s leading travel journalist association’s annual gathering offers PR folks a great way to engage with content decision makers and creators that reach Canadian consumers. The media marketplace offers one-on-one appointments and there is also plenty of networking time.  Only association members can attend. Industry membership fee CA$157.50. Industry conference Fee: US$1092.52.

Oh – and don’t forget to attend the PRSA Travel & Tourism Conference in Tampa, Fla. June 8 – 11. Many great media will be in attendance there too. Register by May 17 and save $100. (Full disclosure – I am on the section board.)

Download this list of North America Journalist conferences compiled by DCI. Did we miss any? Let us know!

Written by Malcolm Griffiths

Malcolm is Vice President in Development Counsellors International’s Tourism Practice. Since joining DCI from Tourism Australia in 2003, he has developed creative marketing and public relations campaigns to communicate travel experiences for destinations spanning the globe, from California to Sweden, Miami to Tasmania.

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