20 Lessons Learned at the 2016 Women in Travel Summit

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Women from all over the world gathered in Irvine, California last weekend to share their passion and knowledge on travel, blogging, and being awesome.

Seriously. These ladies know how to be awesome.

The Women in Travel Summit was an incredibly inspiring three days, full of keynotes, networking, panels, and of course, parties. But the fun didn’t end on Sunday.

If you were at WITS, you’ve probably spent the last week attempting to organize and activate all of the things you learned and the ideas you came up while listening to so many incredible women share their advice. These conferences are always motivating, but the most important part is applying that motivation to your blog and your business, once you leave.

It’s crucial to connect with those contacts, continue to foster those relationships, and work hard on maintaining the motivation and inspiration that filled the WITS weekend.

So we’ve scoured our notes and Twitter to find some of the lessons we want to focus on. Wether you were at the 2016 Women in Travel Summit or not, here are some points that all travel bloggers, writers, and entrepreneurs should remember.

women in travel summit


“Brand fit is more important than reach.” – Melissa DaSilva of Contiki Vacations

During a panel titled “Brands and Bloggers Working Together”, Melissa DaSilva emphasized that although brands want to see analytics when you pitch them, a perfect brand fit is more important than big numbers. Followers can be purchased, but a brand takes real work to establish.

Show a brand how your audience aligns with theirs, and you’ll have a much better shot at convincing them of your worth.




“When pitching sponsored travel, ask “how” they work with bloggers, not “if” they work with bloggers.” – Wendy Haase of Destination Irvine

“We all work with bloggers,” said Wendy. As a DMO representative who frequently fields pitches for sponsored travel, Wendy recommends asking detailed questions and giving detailed answers.

By starting with the question “how” instead of “if” when reaching out to a tourism board, you’re demonstrating knowledge of the industry and an openness to suggestions, based on how they’ve worked with bloggers in the past.





“Don’t overlook your hometown.” – Ellen Bell of OC Day Tripper

Ellen blogs about her hometown, Orange County, at OCDaytripper.com. After 30 years of living in OC, Ellen can demonstrate plenty of insider knowledge and passion for the area — something that travel readers are always looking for!





“Creators make the money.” – Brooke Roberts of Yoga Travel Tree

Brooke’s talk on How to Monetize Your Blog (Without Feeling Scammy) compared two types of monetization strategies — the best and the worst. “The best” included selling products that you produce yourself, like e-books and consulting. Creating your own products to monetize is what furthers your relationship with your readers, and keeps them on your site.

“The worst” list included affiliate marketing, because it leads your reader elsewhere. (Although she did say that affiliate marketing can work, if you have a big enough audience.)




“Make a list of websites that fit your location and interests. Do they have a blog? Find one that does, but they suck at it.” – Gabi Logan, Travel Writer

If you’re trying to break out of your blog and into freelancing, writing for other blogs can be a great money maker. Every brand needs a blog these days, so find one that will pay you.

Gabi suggested digging deep into Google for sites that match up with your expertise. (The top results probably don’t need your help, so dig deeper!) Shoot them an email, include some statistics on how blogging helps businesses, and tell them how you can help!




“If you’re not willing to be seen, you’re not willing to make sales.” – Catrice M. Jackson of Boss Lady Branding

You are the face of your brand. Catrice drove that point home in her talk on Magnetic Marketing Tips. She encouraged the audience to ALWAYS be thinking about your brand, and to get out there and make that brand known.

Talk to your readers, be honest and authentic with how you communicate, and create a genuine brand that is a reflection of you.




“As soon as it feels too crowded, it’s time to innovate.” – Evita Robinson of Nomadness 

Evita started a small community that turned into a global movement of urban travelers, so she knows a thing or two about innovation and staying relevant. With so many bloggers, writers, and entrepreneurs trying to be unique in this space, you have to be willing to go above and beyond. Always strive to try new things and stand out above the crowd.



A big thank you to the Women in Travel Summit team for organizing an amazing event, and to everyone who dropped by our table to say hello. We’ve selected a winner from those who entered our drawing for a free Travel Blog Success membership — congratulations to Jenna Cowan!

If you didn’t win, not to worry. You can take advantage of our big Spring Sale, going on now!

All TBS courses are 35% until 11 pm EST, March 25. We hope you’ll join us


The 2017 Women in Travel Summit will take place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin! Will we see you there? Let us know on Twitter!

Recent Comments

  • Thanks for covering this!! So glad to have you guys with us!!

  • Thank you for the recap! It was a good refresher. I have been busy applying what I learned at WITS. It was great meeting you there as well. It was a fabulous event!

  • Hi, thank you for this great post. WITS was quite beneficial for all.