Have you always wanted to be a Travel Blogger?
Many people ask me how to get started in travel writing. One of the best choices I made was to go to every conference I could find last year. I went to Travel Media Showcase in Grapevine, Texas in 2016 and was just in Cabarrus, North Carolina for the TMS 2017 conference.
Why should you attend Travel Media Showcase?
1. Travel to new places
Travel Media Showcase is in a different place each year. This year when I went to the conference it was my first visit to North Carolina. Our night at the Charlotte Motor Speedway included laps around the track in the pace car and time to talk to friends and network with destinations.
2. You will eat great FOOD! We explored the city on our local FAM (familiarization trip). I loved our day of ARTS ACCELERATED in Downtown Concord. Thank you to Gianni, Executive Chef Heather Stadler and the entire team at Gianni’s Trattoria for a fantastic Italian lunch. They definitely create art through their food. I loved all the beads and stories at The Bead Lady and Hive Concord but the best was when we all screamed for ICE CREAM at Cabarrus Creamery. I loved the biscuits and breakfast at Tupelo Honey Cafe.
Did you know #WhereRacingLives? I loved our day of ARTS ACCELERATED in Downtown Concord. Thank you to Gianni, Executive Chef Heather Stadler and the entire team @giannis_trattoria for a fantastic Italian lunch. They definitely create art through their food #YUM! I loved all the beads and stories @shopthebeadlady and @hiveconcord We all screamed for the best ice cream @Cabarrus_Creamery! What’s your favorite flavor? Thanks to @CabarrusArtsCouncil and @meltonartist for sketches, the phone exhibit and the 10th anniversary art exhibit! What a great day of #ART Thank you @visitcabarrus @tmshowcase #TMSCabarrus
3. Learn about new things!
We went to a former North Carolina prison which operated from 1929 until 2011 and has been turned into Southern Grace Distilleries, a craft-distilled small batch whiskey and bourbon that saves lives! The more you drink, the more they help the planet! A donation is made to local animal shelter for every bottle sold of Sun Dog 130. A $1 from every bottle sold of Zero Dark 130 is donated to a charity to benefit those who serve and their families. Sun Dog Pink Lemonade is Sun Dog 130 mixed with pink lemonade and a donation is made to breast cancer research for every bottle they sell. “Sun Dog Apple Dumplin’ won a silver medal in New Orleans at the American Whiskey and Bourbon Competition. Sun Dog Apple Dumplin is a 45 proof corn whiskey mixed with fruit juice. For every bottle we sell we make a contribution to Habitat for Humanity.” Thank you to Leanne Powell, founder and grand-daughter of a bootlegger, for an amazing start to a fantastic conference!
While in “jail” at WhiskeyPrison, I was honored to be recognized for my articles and video about #TMSGrapevine with this talented group of travel journalists. The winners: Howard Blount, Kelly Stilwell, Melody Pittman, Tammilee Tillison with Joanne Vero and Leigh Hurst Lyons (not pictured: Liz Mays) Thanks to Joanne Vero from #TravelMediaShowcase and Leigh Lyons for the grand prize award. Thank you to Carolann and Macrae from @onemoderncouple for the photo.
4. Network with other bloggers!
I loved seeing so many travel blogging friends. Last year, I was given several suggestions that I tried all year and this year we had a discussion about how to take those ideas to the next step. I really appreciate how everyone shares their successes and wants to see others do better. Thank you to Kelly Stilwell from Food, Fun & Faraway Places for her patience and persistence to help me understand PINTEREST! She even made this featured image for me to use! Now that is an AMAZING friend!
5. Meet with destinations
At this conference, you have one on one networking meetings with destinations. It is very well organized and planned out in advance. You can request meetings and so can the tourism boards. This is a great way to learn about new places and find stories to tell. I promised Colleen Hodson that I would go to my first Dude Ranch even though I am afraid of horses. Tanque Verde Ranch get ready! This would be part of my 50 things before I am 50 project which I started because of Tammilee Tillison and her project for her 40th birthday last year. Amazing things happen when we all come together! See my video for more of what happened and my meeting with Colleen!
VIDEO: What Happened at Travel Media Showcase 2017?
Travel Media Showcase is the conference run by J. Vero & Associates. TMS brings “together leading print and broadcast travel media to meet with representatives from the United States, Canada, and international destinations in a highly organized and business-like format involving pre-scheduled one-on-one appointments and fam tours.”
Who should attend? Editors, Staff Writers, Assignment Writers, Freelance Writers, Photographers, Bloggers, Video and Film producers for newspapers, magazines, television, broadcast/video/film, internet, travel guides, books.
- Meet one-on-one with public relations and communications practitioners from convention and visitors bureaus, state, regional, and international tourism offices, attractions and theme parks, major hotel chains and destination resort properties, airlines, cruise lines and gaming venues
- Gather new story ideas and background material on a broad range of tourism products
- Develop personal relationships with key travel information sources
- Network with other travel journalists and editors
- Schedule follow-up media visits to destinations of interest
- Sign up for participation in upcoming destination-sponsored familiarization trips”
Where will you stay?
This year our conference was held at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Concord Golf Resort & Spa. My corner room had plenty of space and light and I could even hula hoop in my living room. I went to the fitness center every day and I absolutely loved my hot stone massage. Not every Embassy Suites by Hilton has a spa so I was not sure what to expect from Spa Botanica which was a fantastic place for pampering on the first floor of Embassy Suites Charlotte-Concord Golf Resort & Spa. I felt relaxed, re-energized and ready for my meetings at Travel Media Showcase.
Thank you to Joanne Vero, Cabarrus County and the entire Go with Hub Team for a great conference!
Thank you to Herbster for my back stage tour at the Carolina Panthers Bank of America Stadium.
I loved seeing how the TV show came together.