I went to the ITB in Berlin, so am I a professional travel blogger?

Victoria Ade-Genschow - The British Berliner - At Travel Massive; Travel Massive; travel;
Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – At Travel Massive – 2015.

Last week, I told you that I would be revealing where I’ll be travelling to in the next few months. I can’t tell you exactly when for security reasons, but you’ll be the first to know next week LOL!

But first:

WHAT IS THE ITB BERLIN?

Learning stuff at the ITB Berlin.
Learning stuff at the ITB Berlin.

The ITB Berlin is the world’s leading travel industry think tank in which the convention trade fair establishes itself as the industry’s main knowledge platform.

As the leading Travel Trade Show, ITB Berlin is the foremost business platform for global tourism business. This year, we had participants from:

  • 5 Continents.
  • 180 Countries.
  • 600 Qualified Top Buyers.
  • 10,000 Exhibitors.
  •  20,000 Convention Visitors.
  •  50,000 Private Visitors.
  • 110,000 Trade Visitors.
  • Bloggers from all over the world.
  • 160,000 Square meters.
  • Over 5 days within 4th March – 8th March, 2015.
  • Bringing in a €6 billion turnover to Germany.
Mongolia at the ITB Berlin.
Mongolia at the ITB Berlin.

The ITB Berlin is a big deal and the partner country for 2015 was Mongolia with the motto: Nomadic by Nature.

Wow!

This is the first time that I have participated as an accredited blogger and with travel blogs becoming popular, interest in them has begun to grow within the tourism industry. I mean, last year was the first time that I had even heard of Twitter! As such, ITB Berlin went all out and organised a platform in which international contacts could meet up with bloggers, and bloggers could network with each other and industry, via discussions and presentations.

In 2014, I did not go to the ITB as an accredited blogger as by then, my blog was roughly only four (4) months old and I gate-crashed networking events! However, the ITB ladies were amazing and sent me a VIP ticket to encourage and motivate me.

Myself with the photographers. Courtesy of Pascale Scerbo Sarro
Myself with the photographers.
Courtesy of Pascale Scerbo Sarro

I’ve improved a lot since then. In fact, I’d even go as far as saying that I’m a professional blogger.

Wooooooh there missy!

This topic is a controversial one and begets no real solution.

Last year, I met one of the biggest bloggers in the German market, I approached this person for advice and was dismissed because according to them “I was only a hobby blogger!”

Exxxxxxxxxcuse me!

I have to confess that I was upset and annoyed but most importantly, I refuse to take that comment lying down.

Celebrating diversity at the British Embassy.
Celebrating diversity at the British Embassy.

WHAT’S A PROFESSIONAL TRAVEL BLOGGER ANYWAY?

According to the Professional Travel Bloggers Association, The association consists of travel bloggers from various career paths who come together for the purpose of furthering the profession of travel blogging, aim to legitimize travel blogging as a business, and facilitate business relationships within the industry, with emphasis on the following goals:

  • Accuracy.
  • Accountability.
  • To not plagiarise or knowingly accept plagiarism.
  • Being polite, upholding the freedom of speech and refraining from personal attacks and hate speech.
  • Being professional in the way the blogger works. Upholding all applicable laws, regulations, and rules concerning the prevention of unfair, deceptive or misleading advertising and marketing practices. Disclosing financially benefits or discounts and not abusing the position as travel bloggers.
  • Not pressuring travel companies into working with bloggers, or discounting services.

REQUIREMENTS TO JOIN THE ASSOCIATION:

A minimum of nine months blogging and more than 3,000 page views in the last thirty days, and an annual fee of $75.

On the red carpet at the Internationale Filmfestspiele, Berlin or at the International Film Festival, Berlin.
On the red carpet at the Internationale Filmfestspiele, Berlin or at the International Film Festival, Berlin.

According to MIke Snowden. A professional travel blogger is:

According to TBEX (the Travel Blog Exchange), you are not a blogger unless you are:

  • A talented story-teller (regardless of whether your stories are told via print, audio, or video).
  • Constantly trying to improve your craft and provide value to your sponsors and readers.
  • Have entered an agreement with a client or a sponsor, and that agreement includes the expectation that you will act like a professional for the duration of that relationship.
  • A professional blogger who looks for mentors and teachers from whom they can learn.
  • A blogger who networks with their peers, copy their successes, and tries to avoid the mistake of others.
Me. Myself & I. Summer In Berlin.
Me. Myself & I.
Summer In Berlin.

According to Matt Kepnes, otherwise known as Nomadic Matt, the tips he gave on the real business of travel blogging were simple:

  • Be an expert.
  • Find your niche.
  • Don’t dismiss traditional writers. Learn from them, as they are people who really know how to write, and write well.

According to Dave & Deb from The Planet D:

  • Put in long hours.
  • Love what you do.
  • Do research on respective destinations.
  • Take countless photographs.
Asian girls having lunch together.
Asian girls having lunch together.

According to Kate McCulley otherwise known as Adventurous Kate, her professional advice can be read on her piece –  The reality of being a professional travel blogger and includes:

  • Travel blogging requires a tremendous amount of work.
  • It also requires a hell of a lot of investment in time and effort, before any benefits can be seen.

According to Liz Carlson otherwise known as the Young Adventuress in her piece  – So you want to be a travel blogger, do you? Professional travel blogging is all about:

  • Having a passion.
  • Having a purpose.
  • Becoming an authority.
  • Not giving up.
  • Setting goals and building your audience.
  • Owning social media.
  • Knowing your own value.
  • Being ethical.
  • Producing good content.
  • Joining other professional bloggers associations and groups, in order to get mentoring, advice, and support.
Fresh fish that we caught. Bones and all, although they chopped off the head on the boat!
Fresh fish that we caught. Bones and all, although they chopped off the head on the boat!

As much as travel blogging has become the new brain child, not everyone is convinced or think it’s worth a second of your time, and so I enclose a piece from Theodora Sutcliffe also known as the Escape Artistes. She wrote a scathing piece on Why I’ll never be a Professional Travel Blogger.

So back to my original question, am I a professional blogger?

Well, let’s see.

I am professional in the way I work and when I meet clients and travel industry. I also qualify to be a member of the Professional Travel Bloggers association. I make presentations and talk about everything. I write stories and constantly strive to improve my craft by going to seminars, lectures and workshops, and learning from my blogging peers.

If only you could read my thoughts. Oh, you can!
If only you could read my thoughts. Oh, you can!

I love my traditional job of being a corporate teacher and trainer. I love imparting knowledge and leading and advising entrepreneurs. I also get a hefty salary and a respectable position for doing so.

That’s not going to change anytime soon.

I went to 10 countries in 2014, if that’s not working as a professional travel blogger, I don’t know what is.

My niche is Europe and believe you me, I put in more hours than I can ever recommend. I have a corporate job, a husband, a child, a Masters dissertation to write and yet, I still spend 38 hours a week working on my blog in some form. 38 hours! I refuse to let anyone say that blogging for me is a hobby.

It isn’t.

I have a passion for what I do, and as I told you earlier in the year, not a single dollar has been exchanged but I perform, as if it has. I have a purpose: lifestyle expat travel blogging, and I enjoy and love what I do.

I am a professional travel blogger.

In Vietnam.
In Vietnam.

This article is not sponsored and all opinions are my very own!

I have so much to share with you.

Next week, I’ll be giving you more details about the International Travel Trade Fair – ITB, what I did there and whom I met, as well as the next travel destination!

As usual, you can also follow me via daily tweets and pictures on Twitter & FB!

If you’re not in Berlin in March, you’ve made a mistake!

March is going to be excellent.

Watch this space!

In Kurdistan at the ITB 2015.
In Kurdistan at the ITB 2015.

What do you think? Are you a professional travel blogger. Do you want to be a professional travel blogger, or do you think travel blogging is over-hyped?

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or if you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

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52 Comments on “I went to the ITB in Berlin, so am I a professional travel blogger?

  1. I love this post..like you I put in a lot of time and monetary investment in my blog in the hope that it will bear fruit or grow wings and finally take off! And like you I have lots of people try to talk me out of what I’m doing which they view as a “very expensive hobby”, the other half of people feel that since I’m ‘throwing money about’, I should give them some so I get a couple of invites to donate to one cause or other from fb friends..sigh

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Aficanagirl! This is such a controversial topic within the blogsphere and thankfully, nobody has asked me for money except for spammers who want me to write weird posts. They are promptly deleted. Yikes!
      From your blog, I see that you’re doing a marvellous job of advising women of colour who want to travel. Good on yer & carry on what you’re doing! Don’t let anyone dissuade you from your goals and objectives. Good Luck! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is the post that I have been looking for for a long time Victoria… an overview of what a professional travel blogger is. Thanks for all the information and I definitely would consider you a professional! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t think I’m a professional blogger, though I certainly put in a lot of hours and effort! Hope you had fun at ITB – I can’t believe how rude that other blogger was!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You sure do put in a lot of time and effort. Just look at your old Latvia website. I still go back from time to time as it’s so distrurbing and yet, enormously funny LOL! You were getting millions of hits Linda. Millions! And now I’m going to visit in the nearest future and you’re not even there. I mean, I thought we were friends n’ all that. Go back now! Also, I need tips of places to go and to eat, etc. The Latvia Ministry even used your expertise for their national commercial. Oh yeah baby. You’re a professional in anybody’s eyes. With horns and a spike! 🙂 🙂
      Yes, ITB was great. Thankfully, that particular blogger wasn’t there. At least. I didn’t see them. See how I keep leaving the sex out. I’m a professional blogger now you see!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much Rachel. Oh do come! It was a lot of fun. The ITB is my first real blogging thing and one of the reasons that I was so desperate to attend was because it was on my doorstep living in Berlin n’ all. Last year, I had never ever met a blogger ever until I came to the ITB! How insane was that? I was so scared and really out of my depth, and I had absolutely no idea what I was even doing there! Everyone was lovely though. The ITB team were grand and the bloggers that I met were so nice except for that blogger, and here I am today.
      I’m going to TBEX in Spain for the first time this year and indeed, I’m as frightened as hell. But that’s OK. 🙂 Where are you based?

      Like

  4. Great post! I too spend more hours than I would like to admit on a combination of my site and social media (don’t even get me started on Pinterest). I don’t know if I would use the term Professional Travel Blogger (although I am a current member of the PBTA) because I do not necessarily consider it my profession, although I work at it like it is. I just use the term travel blogger, and the methods in which I work with companies and maintain my site can be seen as professional 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Chanel! You’re undoubtedly a pro. I see your handwork everywhere. You’re amazing and I have no idea how you can be everywhere at once LOL! At the end of the day, I believe that we are all, who we want to be no matter what some silly person said in one of my most vulnerable states. And I should know better as a British person and a lover of classical literature that “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose. By any other name would smell as sweet.”

      Like

  5. Thank you so much for sharing this article! I was so curious what ITB Berlin was because everyone in the travel blogosphere was going nuts about it and asking me if I was going! haha ^_^

    As for the whole “professional travel blogger” thing…I can’t believe someone would insult you or try to put you down just because they’ve managed to turn blogging into a source of income. That is crazy to me. So just because they are now able to make money off of what started off as their hobby they’re suddenly entitled to an attitude? Yuck. Honestly, as someone who has a Journalism degree, works full time as a marketing coordinator, AND has a (professional depending on who’s opinion it is?) blog… I just don’t get it. Sometimes it all seems like a numbers game to me (hits, followers, unique visitors, etc) but just because you reach a large audience doesn’t make you a professional person or skilled or educated person, does it? I totally believe in being a SUCCESSFUL blogger, but until there is some formal standard of what that means or a degree attached, I think a professional is someone who carries themselves professionally and works hard at what they do to create good content, whatever that may mean to them. The standards simply aren’t clear enough for it to mean much more than that. Just my opinion!

    Like

    • Thank you for reading @OneGirl:OneWorld! The ITB was amazing. You have got to come one day. It was so much fun. 🙂 And thank you for your kind words. I’m not one to normally take these things to heart but at the time, I was totally new, I knew no-one, had never met a blogger in real life, and was looking for re-assurance that I was on the right path. I mean, I hadn’t even heard of Twitter before last years’ ITB!!! I quickly went to that workshop I can tell you LOL! At the time it was upsetting as that particular blogger was in my region of Germany but I met so many other nice and supportive people who helped me and steered me in the right direction and then 1 month later, I met real star bloggers. The American and British ones. They came to Berlin and contacted me in particular to meet up. They were humble and awesome and extremely helpful. They still are!
      P.S: You sound very professional LOL!

      Like

    • Hey Nin! Thanks so much for making a comment! Being a travel blogger isn’t difficult. Anyone can travel and blog. The issue of contention is being a professional travel blogger. That’s the elephant in the room. Some people say it has somethng to do with whether all your income is from travel blogging or something similar. I disagree. You’re a professional travel blogger when you act in a professional manner on your blog and with those you meet (in the name of blogging), along the way. In my book, it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been on the scene or where you obtain your income.
      P.S. I’ve just had a peek at your website: I love your photographs especially of the English countryside or lifestyle scenes. Makes me feel homesick. 🙂
      To your question, are you a travel blogger? What do YOU call yourself?

      Like

  6. Professional is a state of mind – I think just by going to ITB and similar events and promoting what you do automatically elevates a blog beyond a hobby! Your breakdown of the definition is fantastic to get so many viewpoints, as I think being ‘professional’ is as much a state of mind and about how you present yourself to others. My favourite travel blogger of all time (Geraldine DeRuiter aka The Everywhereist) never accepts payments for pieces or does press trips, makes no money from her blog and yet is still super successful and what I would call a ‘professional’ blogger through regular, high quality posts. I think professional blogging is what you make it, and you madam, are definitely making it! We can all make our own professional paths – I love my job, but love the creative outlet of my blog, so why not be professional at both?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much Carly! You’re awfully kind and what you say is true. Let’s all be professional at everything we do! 🙂 It was lovely meeting you at the ITB. You’re a scream. As is your blog LOL! ‘Hope to see you in Spain perhaps or somewhere on this pleasant Earth. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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  8. I don’t think I can add to that extensive definition 🙂 Thanks for the insight. I hope I’m a travel blogger, but I need to asses myself first.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Mumun! I’m sure you are but at the end of the day, only you can answer that question! Whatever the case, make sure you’re having fun! 🙂

      Like

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  27. Hi. This post is very detailed and that is why I like it. Can you please tell me how long did it take to get your accreditation as a blogger at ITB? How much time did it pass between your application and their answer?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks very much Corina!

      It doesn’t really take long, and ITB are quite prompt in their response, but then again it depends on the volume of applicants. This year, it took a week! If there’s anything I can help you with, please don’t hesitate to ask. 😉

      Like

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