The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) is building upon the success of its THETRAVELBLOGGERSHOW, held last year in Orlando, with a new line-up and a new destination--Las Vegas. The expanded event, unique to the travel industry, will be held in conjunction with ASTA’s Travel Retailing & Destination Expo (Sept. 11-13), and will feature presentations from noted travel bloggers and offer participants the chance to hone their skills, ASTA says. The event will take place on Sept. 11 in the Las Vegas Convention Center and is sponsored in part by the social travel network, Tripatini.com.
“THETRAVELBLOGGERSHOW is unlike anything else in the travel meetings marketplace. Travel agents are clamoring for innovative ways to reach new markets, while bloggers are always on the hunt for the next great posting. ASTA saw a way to pull these two groups together for everyone’s benefit,” said Tony Gonchar, ASTA CEO.
“We recognize the fact that to be successful, a blogger needs to do more than just post their thoughts. They need to attract a following, and getting a blog to stand out among the thousands of other travel blogs is no easy feat—just ask anyone who’s tried. That's where THETRAVELBLOGGERSHOW comes in. This event will teach attendees the in’s and out’s of keeping their blog exciting, how to market their blog and even, how to make a little extra cash doing something they love," Gonchar said.
The event will feature a full day of seminars, including the following:
"Beyond Guest Posting: Broadening Your Audience through Increasing Brand Awareness." In this benchmarking opportunity presented by Ben Reed, agents can learn simple, proven strategies to build your content on their sites and bring them to new audiences off their sites. They can discover where to engage in online and offline communities, and ultimately transform their blogs' reputation from a casual visit to a trusted resource.
"Making Your Blog Pop: Five Steps to a Killer Travel Blog." Presented by Beth Whitman, this seminar will provide proven techniques and insider tricks-of-the-trade to make your blog, a killer blog.
"Marketing and Publicizing Your Blog: How to take it viral and spread your content across the globe." Presented by George Hobica, this fast-paced session will get travel agents up to speed on demonstrated techniques for promoting their blogs across the globe.
"Monetizing Your Blog: How to turn your blog into a money machine." Presented by Wil Klass. Whether a travel agent dreams of turning his or her hobby into a profession or is just looking for a way to pay for his or her travel habit, this engaging session will provide agents with the essential do’s and don’ts.
"Search Engine Optimization: Optimize your blog, maximize your reach." Presented by George Oberle. Getting your blog to rank high in search engine results is a constant battle, and one that must be fought on multiple fronts. This interactive session will provide tried and true strategies to unlock the mysteries of SEO and maximize your audience.
"Where to Next? Surviving in the fast-evolving world of blogging." Panelists: George Hobica, Wil Klass, Ben Reed, Beth Whitman, George Oberle. This panel discussion will bring together some of the industry’s top travel bloggers for an informative sneak peak at what the world of blogging has in store.
About the presenters:
George Hobica, named by Money Magazine as the "best online travel expert" in its annual Money 100 survey, is the founder and president of Airfarewatchdog.com, an airfare alert and advice website now owned by Expedia. His writing and blog posts on air and other aspects of travel are syndicated by USAToday.com, Yahoo news, Frommers.com and other websites, and he spends a good part of each day interacting with his 170,000 Twitter followers. A graduate of the Universitiy of Pennsylvania and Oxford, he resides in New York City.
Wil Klass is the founder of Page 17 Media and the executive editor of its flagship website, Spot Cool Stuff. His 20 years of producing travel content has included working as a travel writer for US News & World Report and as the editorial director for The Travel Channel. He is the co-author of the cult hit travel guidebook Asia Overland. He has explored more than 100 countries and once drove across the state of Ohio using only his knees.
George Oberle. George Oberle is the force behind www.TravelBlogProject.com, which guided 225 travel agents through a 100-day online marketing effort encompassing SEO, social media and blogging. Oberle, a second-generation travel industry veteran, has owned and operated two travel agencies over a 20-year period, each with successful vacation and corporate travel departments. Currently, he works for a large regional agency as a webmaster and SEO specialist. He also operates www.ReviewResorts.com, a user-generated resort and cruise review site that welcomes travel agents to post reviews and travel deals free.
Ben Reed is an Orlando-based travel blogger who will try almost anything once. His travel blog, adventureswithben.com, encourages readers to do the same as they learn how to plan, explore and enjoy some of the world’s top destinations. Reed also hosts a weekly podcast about Florida travel and tourism called Florida Travel Cocktail - available for download on iTunes and floridatravelcocktail.com. His travel expertise has been highlighted in FoxNews.com, FareCompare.com and VISIT Florida - Florida’s official tourism portal. He also writes a monthly travel column for an Orlando-area newspaper and in 2009 was selected as one of five winners in a social media travel competition sponsored by the Tourism Authority of Thailand. In addition to his writing, he launched the Central Florida Chapter of Travel Blog Exchange (TBEX) and operates an online travel store.
Beth Whitman is the founder and editor of Wanderlust and Lipstick. For more than 22 years, she has been traveling the globe as a contemporary wanderer, combining her love for travel with volunteer work, adventure trips, travel writing and business. After teaching travel-related workshops in the Seattle area for nearly 15 years, she started her own publishing company (Dispatch Travels) and began writing the Wanderlust and Lipstick guidebooks for women travelers (now including The Essential Guide for Women Traveling Solo, For Women Traveling to India and is the publisher of Traveling with Kids). In addition to her work with WanderlustAndLipstick.com, Whitman is the women’s travel columnist for Transitions Abroad and occasionally writes for Perceptive Travel.
The $75 registration fee to attend THETRAVELBLOGGERSHOW covers blogger sessions and special THETRAVELBLOGGERSHOW functions, as well as access to THETRADESHOW (Las Vegas, Sept. 11-13) and all-delegate events.