I was invited to the ICTT (International Conference on Travel Technology) India which was held in Trivandrum.
It was a first of its kind of travel and technology conference in India by ATTOI (Association of Travel Trade Organizations, India). I have shared the program’s link in an earlier post.
A two day conference with 17 speakers from all over the world, it was a huge success. The chief minister of Kerala inaugurated the function. My favourite among the guest speakers was Shashi Tharoor who simply stole the show with his short yet powerful speech.
Shashi Tharoor has a huge no. of fan followers on Twitter.
The stage is set for 2 days’ brain storming sessions.
The conference was to help all those who were looking to understand how the travel technology trend is going to take shape in future. It turned out to be a very enriching experience for all the delegates & attendees. The topics ranged from Disaster management to Analytics for better ROI to different tools to be used, and so on …
Here I’ll talk about only those major points and learnings from the conference which are useful to us, that is travel bloggers. These are words by experts; I prefer & value them more than any SEO guy who approaches me everyday.
1) Don’t be everywhere – Don’t copy others said Chad Wiebesick. Just because someone else is on a particular social media platform (e.g. Instagram, Google+ etc), doesn’t mean you have to be there too. There is absolutely no need to be on a social media platform if YOUR audience is not there. Also, don’t be on too many platforms if you can’t handle them all.
2) Listen – The famous social media speaker Sheila Scarborough iterated the art of listening. Listening is more important than speaking. Remember we have two ears and only one mouth, so listen twice the amount you speak. Don’t always open your mouth to get attention. Listen to others as well.
I have seen many bloggers who always boast and talk of something or the other; some leave their blog links at every possible opportunity. It’s time for them to change.
3) Cement relationships – Listening also means connecting with your readers. Reply to comments. Your readers have taken time out from their schedule to comment on your blog. If you don’t have time to communicate, how else do you think your blog will survive in the long run? Add value and contribute to discussions. Make your fans Hero.
4) Don’t be a sucker – As one of the speakers said, if you have BOUGHT fans & followers on any platform then you are a big sucker! And I so agree with him. No matter how big is your number of fans & followers, it’s all about how many of them really engage in conversation with you. Dummy fans will never retweet, like or strike a conversation. So, those of you, who have bought followers, you are a sucker.
5) Decide – Decide what your main objective is. Travelling, writing, day job, business, blogging etc. What is it? Go in introspection mode, spend sometime and decide. Please remember, there are hundreds of them like you out there. Concentrate on what you cannot do without, and make THAT your objective. It could be as weird as boasting. 😀
For example, if you have a day job which you cannot leave, is it worth competing with those who are pursuing blogging career fulltime and getting jealous or panicked over things not happening for you?
6) Alone doesn’t mean lonely – If possible, create a niche. I have been telling it for many years, I am glad that the experts also have the same view. If you feel you are alone in your path, be it. You will be considered an expert there. Be different from the herd. I know of people who have created a niche for themselves and are more successful than those who want to be everywhere. I can actually take a long session on this topic alone. 😛
7) Content & frequency – I spoke about this in last year’s conference also. Pay attention to your content and frequency. There’s no need to blog everyday if you don’t have anything worth sharing with others. Respect your readers’ valuable time. Decide on a frequency which suits YOU and stick to it. Chad gave an example about a blogger who writes a contentful short post (50-100 words) everyday. He is equally popular as the one who writes one big post once in a month!
8 ) Visuals are important – Use visuals for telling your story. A survey says, as much as 75% of FB statuses are clicked or liked if they have photo in it. 3/4th of people post photos on Facebook after their vacations or travels. You may not have a DSLR; a smartphone is good enough to show people where you had been to.
There are many other smaller yet important points which I wanted to share but this post is quite long now. You can see more photos of the conference on my Facebook page.
Feel free to shoot any query. I’ll be more than happy to discuss them. 🙂
On the other note, one of the speakers and now a friend Adam Franklin from Australia has shared a wonderful analysis of top 20 Tweeters at ICTT India and yours truly is at 14th position, just behind him. I didn’t expect it because I couldn’t tweet much for two reasons. One, I was too busy listening to the presentations. Two, the wi-fi issue.
Thanks to the organizing committee and the entire ICTT team for doing an excellent job.
If you want to travel places with me, I suggest you to join me on my Facebook travel page.
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I don’t know what Shashi Tharoor had to say about travel, but he looks as smart as ever 🙂
The conference was about Travel Technology…. how digital media and tools can boost the business of travel & tourism.
If you know, Shashi Tharoor has a huge fan following on Twitter and spoke about how he’s making use of this media to reach out people. 🙂
Sounds like it must have been an interesting experience, Nisha. would love to read more about it
Appreciate you for sharing the essence of the conference on blogging. I too was there, its a nice recap!
Nice article which covers a lot things.
Liked the way you mention many things about ICTT Conference.
Good to see your contribution. Do add some more photos. Hope you had good vacation.
That’s a great summary of a fantastic conference, Nisha. For those attendees interested, my two presentations from the #ICTT2013 conference can be found online at: http://www.slideshare.net/cwiebesick
Good article on the Event … As Mr Shailesh as suggested, pls add some more pics..
Yes, it was very enriching experience. 🙂
We can discuss it when we meet next time.
Thank you very much.
Oh, so did we meet each other there?
Thank you very much.
Nice to see you here. 🙂
Thanks a lot.
Yes, we had lots of fun post tour also.
I’ve created an album on Facebook and given a link here on the post. Will add more photos at both places.
Thanks again for everything.
Thank you very much.
I am sure readers here will be benefited by your presentation . 🙂
Thanks a lot.
As I mentioned above, I’ve created an album on Facebook and given a link here on the post. Will add more photos there and also here.
Wait for some more articles on Kerala including our adventures on the road. 😀
Thanks again for everything.
Thanks for writing this Nisha, I was waiting for your summary! I wish I had been there, was just finishing up with TBEX over here in Toronto, and met Sheila Scarborough who attended both conferences. I am so excited that the India travel & tourism industry is now beginning to get on board and understand the value of being online’ and taking the time to find out how to do it right. Hope to see you next time I am in India, and hope all is well. Cheers!
It’s good to see that something good is happening on the latest travel trends, in India too. I hope other state govts. are as proactive as Kerala to promote their states as travel destinations. I am sure Shashi Tharoor is an excellent speaker, it was a good idea getting him here. Looking forward to participate in an event like this, if it comes to Chennai! 🙂
Thanks for your comment.
The conference was quite enriching. And yes, it was high time since tourism industry has started to act towards it. Kudos to Kerala Tourism to take the initiative. I am sure now, many other states will join hands too.
I want to see it happen at national level.
This was the second time I met Sheila. 🙂
And looking forward to see you here. 🙂
Thanks Nisha, for sharing these valuable learning with everyone. Well, I can co-relate to few of them or in fact many of them and every other discussion I have over a cup of coffee with one or the other point about DoW, directly or indirectly they do relate here. A lot of people come and ask me how they can create a fan base in less time, they say they have gone and checked schemes!! And I always tell them, if you wanna spend money do some charity bro, help some himalayan life, the money you will be sending for those fake likes and tweets will not let u a penny. It has been 3 yrs since I started the blog, the numbers have not even gone to 3K and yet people love bcoz all those who are there, are because of some interest they wanna share.
Again regarding being everywhere learning, I hardly find time among job, family and blog and of course now comunity, that I be everywhere. I cannot handle, it is simple learning yet some of the bloggers I know do it so often, compromising the content they share with readers in lieu of being everywhere 😀 … Again a simple yet very effective point to be learned!!
Well, discussion can be very long here. So, in the end again, thanks alot for sharing and penning it down these points here for us 🙂
That’s a great wrap up & it was lovely to meet you.
I’ve just posted my Top 15 lessons from #ICTT2013 which readers can access here:
All the best,
Thanks for your valuable comment.
I so agree with you on spending money wisely. But I know of a few so called ‘famous’ travel bloggers who have bought fans either on Twitter or Facebook, and if I tell you the names you’ll not only be surprised but shocked. 😀
Believe me, whenever I speak about creating a niche, your name comes first on my mind. Keep it up. 😀
Yes, discussions can be long and these days people are competing to be in top bloggers list and boasting about it. Thank God I’ve graduated from these lists. 🙂
इस कान्फ्रेंस में आपके अनुभवों को जानने की इच्छा थी जो आज पूरी हुई। बेहद उपयोगी पोस्ट हम सभी यात्रा लेखकों के लिए।
I am glad that the post could be of any help to bloggers.
As I mentioned, there are many other points which can also be incorporated. We’ll discuss it when we meet next time. 🙂
It was lovely meeting you too ! And the time we spent post conference was fabulous. Will relish those moments for long. 🙂
Interesting, Nisha. Thanks for summarizing it here for all of us. 🙂
Thanks alot Nisha. I feel whatever little success DoW has got in traveling to Himalayas, especially Ladakh, is primarily for the reason that I try my best to write for the user than just for getting some award or the followers count 😉 …
But, I serious admire the efforts of your blog and couple of more, just the prime reason that you have graduated from those lists 😉 … Sometimes, it feels appealing to get listed in some Top 10 list BUT what actually is the criteria and cost of behind it, is what one shall weigh. I respect that people take time to read any of our article should really get some value addition out of it unless explicitly mentioned right at the top so that they can opt to avoid it 😀 … Simple but basic learning I learnt over a period of time and getting feedback over phone/coffee/beer meets with loads of readers of my blog 🙂
Just started a community as well dedicated to Himalayas, I hope it proves more useful than my blog to the travellers of Himalayas… Praying !!
You are going places Dheeraj. 😀
Kudos to you & your team again.
Welcome here. At last I got time to reply to comments here.
I also hope that other states learn from this event and start doing something for the tourism.
You are welcome. 🙂
You are welcome. 🙂
This is a really detailed post Nisha! All the points are relevant. Between 2013 to 2015, I wonder if there would be a few more additional points as well…
The points will get added/deleted every year but there would be some points that are evergreen. 🙂
Everyone has own way to express things, sometimes people like it, some people don’t like it. What I feel is, for a traveler, first thing is to enjoy life through traveling. These days, people travel first to write blogs.It is better to create own niche. Making money through simple writing blogs is pretty tough, it is better to enjoy traveling and do some blogging to enhance your creativity. Later on, if it comes with a dividend, very well, else who cares. The point is, there shouldn’t be any impulsive or compulsive decision to do things, for livelihood there must be a steady income source.
Nice way to compile things here. I like the sucker part.
Absolutely right. People, these days, create a blog only to earn thru it… be it money, kind or some free trips.