The first Women in Travel Summit Online offered women around the world an opportunity to learn, network, and share insights during this challenging time for the travel industry. Here are some top takeaways from a participant and Wanderful member, Danielle Mondus of Rambling Companion.
We’ve all been riding a rollercoaster of emotions these past few months. For travel content creators, writing about travel has been difficult since the industry was turned upside down. It’s safe to say we’re all worried about how long it will be until it is safe to travel again.
So you can imagine the collective relief women travel creators felt to join the first Women in Travel Summit Online.
COVID-19 restrictions required the Kansas City Women in Travel Summit to be postponed, so the Wanderful team jumped into action to create a virtual event.
Just a month later, the first-ever WITS Online took place on the day we were all supposed to be together in Kansas City.
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Over 200 travel industry professionals and creators came together virtually for community, education, and inspiration.
It was exactly what we needed.
If you missed it, or just want to relive the magic, here is my review of the online travel conference.
Women in Travel Summit Online Overview
The first Women in Travel Summit Online took place on May 1st, the day we were all due to be in Kansas City together.
I worried I’d be out of place as a newbie content creator. But there were over 200 people on the conference call from all over the world. Incredibly, it was the first WITS travel conference for over half of us!
The chat room was busy the entire day with questions, advice, and gratitude from attendees and speakers alike. Wanderful community love radiated out of my computer.
It was such a joy to feel connected, uplifted, and supported from an online conference with over 200 strangers. The magic of WITS in person certainly carries over to WITS Online!
Key Takeaways from WITS Online
With such a variety of notable speakers representing various aspects of the travel industry, there were countless nuggets of wisdom and tips provided.
As a new content creator, I found the encouragement I need to refine my skillset. Recommendations to stay productive with small, measurable goals — plus the focus on collaboration — were my most significant takeaways.
→These impactful sessions highlighted the need to refine your voice and to lean into your creativity.
This was just what I needed for actionable ideas to get to work on building my business right now!
Creators: Get insights + tips to help you thrive.
Travel Was Never Your Focus
Travel writer, photographer, and teacher Lola Akinmade Åkerström dropped truth bomb after truth bomb, as always.
She asked us to think of our passion as a pot of water. Our pot of water will boil no matter which burner we put it on, but the biggest flame will make the water boil the fastest.
→This is what travel does for us. Travel is the medium through which we fuel our passions.
Lola reminded us that “the transitions of our life are opportunities” and asked us to adjust to stillness and use this time to reflect.
She immediately set the tone for WITS Online when she said, “This moment is not a race to see who pivots faster…this is giving us an opportunity to go back to that voice that we might have lost when we got into travel in the first place.”
Read next: Recap of WITS Riga 2019
Demonstrating Ingenuity and Resilience During a Crisis
Kate McCulley from Adventurous Kate, Gloria Atanmo from The Blog Abroad, and Leah Chandler from Discover Puerto Rico offered advice and insight based on how they’ve pivoted their respective businesses.
For destinations, having a crisis playbook that outlines scenarios helps you prepare for situations and pivot when necessary. She also pointed out that destinations are still marketing and still connecting with consumers.
→So, all you women travel creators, don’t be afraid to pitch destinations if you have a unique idea!
Meanwhile, Glo and Kate highlighted the opportunities from the creator side, reminding us to focus on our skills and to maintain consistency despite the chaos.
→For personality-driven blogs, this is the time to lean into our communities and to focus on how we make our audience feel as we provide content.
WITS Online Takeaway:
→Glo and Kate also shared their favorite business books as resources:
- Deep Work by Cal Newport
- Miracle Morning: The Not‑so‑obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform by Hal Elrod
- Blue Ocean Strategy by Renée Mauborgne and W. Chan Kim
- This is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn To See by Seth Godin
- Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable by Tim S. Grover
- Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
How Travel Content Creators Can Build a Lasting Business
Becky van Dijk from We are Travel Girls, Ciara Johnson from Hey Ciara, and Nina Zadeh from Sidewalker Daily shared tons of actionable ideas for creators to use right now in building a sustainable business.
→Here are the immediate actions that I took away from these insightful women to improve the sustainability of my creative business:
- Diversify platforms and income streams
- Improve SEO, including the technical side and website speed
- Refine your Pinterest strategy
- Build your email list and nurture your relationship with your followers
- Take courses to sharpen your skills and learn new ones
- Dive into the business side of the blog, such as filing for an LLC and reviewing expenses
- Collaborate with industry peers on Instagram lives and/or collaborative posts
- Explore your secondary or third niche by showing new sides of yourself (cooking, exercising, gardening, artwork, etc) to humanize you
- Use this as a time to test your influence with your audience through small group calls and surveys
- Check-in on business partners you’ve previously worked with to see how they are doing, not just as a business but as humans. Ask what they need. This will help warm up leads for when we can travel again.
More tips: Wow brands with this proposal
Final Takeaways from the Women in Travel Summit Online
The Women in Travel Summit Online was jam-packed with helpful tips and interesting insights.
Beyond my own key takeaways, we received valuable financial advice and got plenty of resources and tips for working from home productively.
We also heard from various professionals on the future of the travel industry and got advice for how to not sound tone-deaf as we talk about travel right now.
→As creators, we need to be able to bring all our expertise and knowledge to the table, in addition to our unique storytelling abilities.
As Gabby Beckford of Packs Light said, “Every closed door can be an open window if that’s what you perceive it as.”
After the Women in Travel Summit Online
As the final session closed, I didn’t want to click the “leave meeting” button. My heart was full and my creative juices were flowing.
Despite all the chaos in the world, suddenly I have drive, I have focus, and I have small, measurable goals.
Following WITS Online, I attended a virtual new member kickoff with Wanderful and I also messaged with other WITS Online attendees following the event.
I am so happy to have found a community full of education, support, and encouragement.
And, when it’s safe and we can all travel again, I can’t wait to meet all my new Wanderful friends in person at the Women in Travel Summit in Kansas City!