Traverse 2014: it’s all about travel bloggers

Traverse 2014: it’s all about travel bloggers

Image: Macca Sherifi

More than 165 travel bloggers gathered in Newcastle/Gateshead at the weekend in the year’s first UK gathering, allowing observers (including me) to test the waters of the blogging world.

I was among 12 speakers, in my case there to talk on ‘Keeping it Legal,’ covering the new Defamation Act and photo copyright, among other related subjects. That’s me on the right, with Kash Bhattacharya (see notes on my presentation on Slideshare).

But I was also able to talk to bloggers in a Pro-Bar, 10-minute chats with individuals, while having 36 hours in the north’s party capital to socialise and chat. It was, as all conferences are, a useful exercise to catch up on what’s what.

My main impression was how many new travel bloggers are still coming into the market. While organisers Traverse Events could not provide details, it appeared one-third were newbies.

They included snowboard coach Ocean Belcher, a Kiwi trying to break into the European ski market; Teresa, who has set up Independent Travel Help for woman travellers aged 35+ and student Amy Woodyatt, who is still working out her niche.

The next third were the emerging bloggers, like Backpacker Becki, who is – as she moves on – trying to find a new name for her blog, and Ed Rex, who is balancing blogging and his deaf traveller ambassadorial role with a new job at lowcostholidays.com.

And there were the professionals, like Kash, who is launching a festival blogging project in 2014 and – this week – Twitter chats with Lonely Planet. And Keith Jenkins, one half of iAmbassadors, who is running the first Social Travel Summit in 2014 (in Germany) as well as a myriad of blog trip projects.

Travel blogging is evolving and thriving and Traverse reflects that ethos, “of doing events that are beneficial to, and don’t take advantage of, bloggers.” There are a number of collaborative blogging projects under way (it was pleasing to see 15 Dutch travel bloggers, part of a new consortium which represents 160+ bloggers in The Netherlands). And the industry – there were nine main sponsors of Traverse – is very much onboard.

Traverse will be staging a second, festival-type conference – Blogstock – in Hertfordshire on August 8-9, which will include other blogger disciplines such as fashion and lifestyle. Travel blogging is also reaching out to other subjects.

Good for them. The early days of travel blogging, just five years ago, now look cutely naive. Onwards and upwards – there’s a long way to go with this game.

More coverage from the event: > You can read the Twitter feed for #traverse14 here > The Traverse 14 story on Storify from Newcastle/Gateshead > Blog from Jen Lowthrop, She Gets Around – Tips and Teachings from Traverse 14

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Steve Keenan has been a travel journalist for 25 years. He started at a Reed paper, news editing at Travel News in London - now Travel Weekly - having spent a decade reporting general news in the UK and abroad. He also taught English in Peru, delivered cars in the USA, ran the Sydney desk at AAP and took the train home from Hong Kong. He left Travel News in 1990 to freelance for several publications, including The Times of London, which he later joined as deputy travel editor. In December 2004, he became the first national digital travel editor in the UK, running the combined travel website of The Times and Sunday Times. The introduction of a paywall at the papers in 2010 persuaded him that the connected world might continue outside of Wapping and he left to co-found Travel Perspective. The company runs the social media seminars at World Travel Market London, and works with Reed Expos and others in helping the travel and tourism industry best communicate stories in all forms of publishing.

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