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A fellow Travel Blogger and friend recently suggested I attend the New York Travel Fest as a place to both make connections and learn what’s new and learn from the experts in the field how they achieved success in the field. Thus, the show is primarily geared towards those in the Industry and Bloggers vs Consumers like most are. One of the unique things about the show was that aside from the seminars was the opportunity to have One-One sessions with experts in the field.

I started my day with back to back to back One on One sessions, the first with Patrick Bennett of Uncommon Caribbean. He was a wealth of information on Social Media in the Travel space and we had a great conversation on the importance of reach on your website vs hits on your SM sites, Analytics, and how to use different social media sites for different markets. Next up was Ashley Castle of Travels with Castle. We discussed how to live in NYC while traveling around the world, alternative ways to earn money, getting funded via sponsorships, relationships with PR firms, and credibility from working with known players in the space such as AFAR and Gogobot.

I then headed for my first round of Seminars.

Mike and Anne of  @honeytrek discussed Couples Travel around the world,the highs and lows, importance of communication and shared some stories on
eating pig, the same one for 5 days, helping to wash an elephant and how Travel really really puts into perspective real problems vs nonsense.

Franz Wisner the Author of Honeymoon with my Brother(after the wedding day didn’t go quite as planned) and How the World makes Love shared 9 & 1/2 keys to getting published, but started with how not to…

How not to…

No story
Writing un-good
Pitching it as a travel log
Pitch as Eat, Pray, Love
Nothing about story stands out
Sloppy long winded
Please ignore last manuscript
All you talk about is Marketing w/o a plan
Awful title

How to

Think …
Really think
Find universal themes
Find your voice
Be unique in opening paragraph
Find ideal Agent
Create a platform
SM, Partnerships,
Get Lucky

Travel+ Social Good from Pecha Kucha(means blah blah blah in Japanese). You present a theme with only 20 slides with only 20 seconds per slide. Being in Sales I found this fascinating and refreshing.

Reshma Patel – Impact Network – funds schools in under served areas in Zambia, Africa

Karen Uribe– T&Food Collective. Launched this year in SF and Brooklyn. Looks for Farm to Table, local goods

Pierre Dulaine‘s  Dancing Classrooms. Palestinian of British decent he traveled around the world as a performer on  cruise ships and then on Broadway. He started a Dance School for Elementary Schools in NYC and from there expanded globally. Recently involved with the movie Dancing in Jaffa(Opened at TriBeCa Film Fest. Inspiring story, especially when he shared the program he does with Jewish Israeli and Palestinian youth.

Yasser Ansari – Project Noah. You share your geo-tagged nature pics on the site. Global community of Nature Nerds. People are finding new species! You can create missions, etc This will be great for my Niece and Nephew. UrbanOrganism

After this round of seminars I went in search of food. I saw others with sandwiches and wraps but ended up eating cheese with toasted bread with Mezcal to wash it down until I headed out for a break after my next and final One on One with Elyse Pasquale– the Foodie International. We engaged in food talk, dueled verbally over Taco shops (I like Otto’s she Taqueria Diana) and discussed finding the right mix of SM for your target audience. I then headed to check out…

Travel 2.0 Start -Ups

Alternative Escapes – Socially conscious travel. Importance of Adventure in ones life
DR – Cross Fit,Amazon tribal quest,Bhutan,Spain,Bali

HITLIST– A new Mobile App to find the best avaiable deals for places you want to go to at any given moment. Geared towards those with flexibility wit theur travel schedule.

OutTrippen– Tailored content crafted to the individual traveler. Travel Writers /Experts compete to design trips based on their expertise on the location requested. A day to day trip plan is designed with links.

After finally heading out for some fresh air and some lunch I went to my final two seminars.
Learning to speak Food With Elyse Pasquale

She’s a Culinary Adventurer who was taken around the world by her parents as a young child where she created “Taste Memories”. She experiences the world through her taste buds…yet remains remarakly slim. She is at the forefront of Food Tourism(Eat, Pray, Love, Amazing Race and Anthony Bourdain really moved this forward) Her Hot Culinary Tour Destinations were Peru and Cambodia while Up and Coming spots included Georgia ( former USSR) Morocco, and Japan as a Local vs a Gaijin on an expense accounts. She does a lot of Pre-Trip research on Indigenous foods, artisanal, signatures, etc then asks Locals “What is the ultimate food adventure here”? Elyse’s Food Safari Big Five are

Food Tours
Cooking Classes
Local Markets
Street Food
Ask a Local

Last but not least was the Storytelling Workshop with Nathan Thornbourgh and Max Linsky where they discussed via an open Q&A forum Maximizing short pieces.In making a pitch. Why are you the best person to tell this story? The importance of Conflict and tension in any story, writing your experiences down while fresh in your mind. Heading out I enjoyed a couple of Pilsner Urquels while discussing with my Green Eyed Slovak Barmaid why Czech Beer is served with so much foam. I really enjoyed TravelFest and got everything I was looking for  out of it and more and would highly recommend it for those in the Travel Industry and fellow Bloggers. Of note, the pictures in this piece are from my travels for inspiration. I feel they tell a better story then people standing in front of screens…

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