Making Connections with Travel Bloggers and Brands at TravelCon and TBEX

Making Connections with Travel Bloggers and Brands at TravelCon and TBEX

Everyone wants to do something they love. This leads some to leave their more traditional career paths and venture into the unknown. Travel bloggers are free from the 9 to 5 schedule and get to spend their time doing what they love - traveling the world. That being said, to be successful, they must turn their hobby blog into a genuine source of revenue. An entrepreneurial spirit is key for this transition. At GetYourGuide we want to help travel bloggers become entrepreneurs.

Denisa Kostolanyiova, Business Development Manager, spends her time building partnerships with bloggers to create affiliate marketing programs - one way to monetize blogging. In today’s post, she discusses the upcoming travel marketing conferences she will be attending, TBEX and TravelCon, where she will connect with travel bloggers from all over the US.  She will also preview her TBEX presentation, “How to Build Successful Affiliate Partnerships in the Online Travel Industry.”

What events will you be attending in the next month?

I will be attending TravelCon and TBEX. These conferences are an exciting opportunity to learn more about the US market. The American market is much more established, can have more of a family travel focus, and has more blogs focused on traveling locally. These events will give the GetYourGuide brand more visibility which is beneficial for us and the bloggers since we are really looking to build up our network of content creators in the US. Both events also provide a chance for us to connect with other travel brands.

TravelCon is a new conference founded by a blogging giant in the travel landscape, Matt Kepnes, better known as Nomadic Matt. The focus of this conference is to help both experienced and budding travel bloggers build their business sense, find out how to be successful in the different realms of travel blogging, and network with travel brands and partners. Even though this is its first iteration, I am sure TravelCon will be a big hit given Nomadic Matt’s own expertise, the list of speakers, and the workshop offerings.

TBEX is a very established conference for travel bloggers around the world. It currently has two annual events - one in North America and one in Europe.  We’ve attended the European event before, but are incredibly excited to attend and sponsor both the European and North American events this year. It will take place in the New York Finger Lakes and is an opportunity for travel bloggers, online travel journalists, content creators, and travel brands to learn and make connections. I’m particularly excited for TBEX this year because I will be presenting.

What is the topic of your presentation?

The topic of my presentation is “How to Build Successful Affiliate Partnerships in the Online Travel Industry”.  Many of the attending bloggers are passionate about travel, but might not know how they can turn their blog into a legitimate revenue stream. In my presentation, I share some best practices on how to build your blog as a business through affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing takes some work but is a surefire way to become more financially secure with your blog.

How do you prepare for these events?

For these two events, I will proactively reach out to bloggers who are attending and request meetings.  There are about 500-600 attendees per conference, so I need to do my research and make sure I’m connecting with those who meet our needs and who would also be interested in what we have to offer. I also respond to meeting requests from bloggers who have proactively reached out to talk about future collaboration.

What topics are you excited to learn more about?

I’ve attended many of these types of events, and the talks that always appeal to me the most are SEO-related. For my role, it’s important to understand all the nuances of SEO so I can find blogs and specific posts that are most beneficial for the blogger and for GetYourGuide. As a blogger myself, it’s also a chance for me to educate myself on how I can strengthen the ranking of my own blog.  

Given your experience working with bloggers, what are the biggest pitfalls you see for new bloggers looking to build an affiliate marketing program?

There are a few different things to keep in mind when you start with affiliate marketing:

First: Affiliate marketing takes work on the front-end, but will pay off on the back-end.

You need to take the time to figure out what posts are going to be successful with affiliate marketing by finding posts with a consistently strong readership, a good ranking in Google, and a format for commercial appeal. You then want to think about how you can convert this audience into a group that will actually purchase a product. A good rule of thumb is for every 1 out of 10 posts, think conversion. Remember, this is an opportunity for you to inspire your audience to take action and to try something new!

Second: Don’t give up.

Affiliate marketing takes work and even once you have some affiliate links, you still need to work for it to bring you a consistent revenue stream.  After about 3 months, make sure to optimize the post. By then, you should be getting enough traffic to see which links people click on and make changes from there.  

Third: Pick the right partners.

A lot of bloggers try too many things at once and build partnerships with companies that don’t fit their brand identity nor their audience.  Look at your archives and learn what people are actually coming to your blog for. Then, only partner with companies who align with your audience.

For the rest of my tips, you’ll have to attend my presentation at TBEX!


Thank you, Denisa, for giving your tips and providing an overview of TBEX and TravelCon. Interested in joining the BD team and attending similar conferences? Check out our open positions.

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