Traverse 2015 was the third instalment of Traverse-events’ now well-respected travel blogging conference. This year it took place in the historic town of Kingston Upon Thames – just a stone’s throw from the city of London. The aim of Traverse is to bring together travel bloggers, PR’s, tourist boards and travel companies in a welcoming environment that fosters learning, networking and, of course, fun.
Some of the team from Four bgb attended this year’s conference which kicked off with a networking event at the beautiful All Saints Church in the town centre, where the first Kings of England were anointed and crowned. The first night of a conference is always the most nerve wracking – there are never enough familiar faces and everyone gravitates towards their friends and colleagues. This feeling, however, does not last long and when the conversation inevitably turns to travel (what else?) people find themselves huddled in a corner with someone they’ve only just met, scrolling through photos from their latest trips, oohing and aahing.
The format of the conference itself is based on workshops – with each one being hosted by an experienced PR expert, blogger, or travel company representative. The audiences are made up of a similar mix with varying levels of experience which is essential to stimulating debate and discussions (in all the sessions attendees are encouraged to ask and answer questions themselves). This year’s schedule included sessions on SEO, travel writing, building relationships with brands and PR agencies, transitioning from being a blogger to a ‘brand ambassador’, as well as more practical sessions for bloggers such as accounting and WordPress for beginners. The conference culminated in a Q&A panel discussion, which everyone attended. Four bgb’s Kylie Jenkins was the only PR expert present on the panel which consisted of four bloggers – ensuring a balanced and insightful debate on topics such as monetisation, blogger ethics and corporate relationships.
The diversity of session topics and the variety of attendees are the most crucial aspects of any blogging conference. It allows for growth and learning for the bloggers, brands and PR experts in attendance – everyone gets an opportunity to learn and understand how others work, and the best way to develop relationships with each other.
It is for this reason then, that events such as Traverse are so important - they create a forum which isn’t just for the PRs and brands, or just for the bloggers. It is for all of them, so that they can continue to learn how to work together. That’s not saying that the golden formula has been found – it’s so often difficult to balance the editorial integrity of a blogger with the corporate wants and needs of a brand – but conferences like these are a step in the right direction.
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Photo shows Stephanie Buck, Kylie Jenkins and Julie Giraud attending Traverse 15 with Rob Hughes of Air France-KLM. Photo by Macca Sherifi