The New York Times Travel Show Recap

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From Friday January 23 to Sunday January 25, The New York Times Travel Show came to the Javits Center in New York City. Friday was the Travel Industry Conference Day and featured a number of seminars and panels directed at professionals in the travel industry, from travel agents, marketers, and tourism boards to travel journalists, filmmakers, and bloggers. Industry professionals were also allowed first access to the Exhibition Hall, which was filled with tables and displays from tourism boards from around the world. All the seminars on Trade Day provided interesting ideas on the current state of travel and what the future may hold. In the keynote panel (pictured above), David Pavelko of Google said that the growth of video would continue to be a major influence online—good news for Tripfilms!

I attended the Focus on Travel Media seminars and the Focus on Travel Bloggers seminar led by Michael Hodson (Trippy Award winner goseewrite on Tripfilms). What follows are just some notes from the presentations, but I think there are some gems in there that may be helpful to those hoping to gain insights shared by some of these leaders in the travel industry. Feel free to email me, connect on Twitter, or leave a comment below if you have any thoughts of your own to share on these topics!


What’s New and Relevant in Social Media
Sree Sreenivasan – chief digital officer, Metropolitan Museum of Art

See Sree’s slides here: 

It’s not how many or who follows you, it’s who follows who follows you.

Twiangulate – to find most influential followers
Crowdbooster – to find most loyal followers

Audiences are overstimulated, hyper-connected, overcommitted, culturally promiscuous, cynical, self-focused…but curious.
Social media’s dirty little secret: Almost everyone will miss almost everything you do on social media. Until you make a mistake.
@EricaAmerica: “If you are good in real life you can be great on Twitter.”

It takes effort. Everyone wants a peek behind the scenes. Mobile is more important than you think. Aim for useful, simple, delightful.

You have to help your audiences to understand, participate, and share. Use Timehop to help with #tbt

Use Twitter and Facebook widgets on your site so that it is updated every day.

Try to have a hashtag, photo, and mention in every tweet. Be generous.

“If you come to the Met, my kids eat.” Come to the Met. “What we’re really in is a battle for attention, and you gave me an hour.”

The Power of Influencers
Adrien Glover – deputy digital editor, Travel+Leisure

Instagram is emerging as an important influencer for travel.

Extreme travel instagrammers.

“Influence” varies from platform to platform. Who follows your followers? Micro-influencers. Travel + Leisure posts an average of 140 posts per day. “It is a lot of work but the results are huge.”

Johnny Jet – travel expert, editor in chief,

Johnny’s stories and experiences.

Use hashtags, mentions. Follow up, participate in Twitter chats, offer contests.

Paula Froelich – editor in chief, Yahoo Travel

You have to know who you are. Can you explain it in two sentences? Yahoo’s goal is to find the escapist in all of us. Over 70% of women are planning on taking a solo trip. You have to know the zeitgeist. It’s quality, not quantity of readers, followers. Go to people you respect and admire. At the end of the day, we are more powerful together than we are alone. Solo travel is small travel.

Facebook and Pinterest may be better at driving traffic. Add a photo, a video.. Video—it can be annoying if I have to spend 8 hours trying to research it.

Reinventing Travel Media
Jeremy Saum – executive editor, AFAR Media.

AFAR magazine: AFAR aims to be the voice of experiential travel. Inspire, guide, and enable travelers to have a deeper, richer experience. Their audience shares a mindset, not a particular demographic. The print magazine is the flagship. The meaning of travel. Not where you go but why you go. AFAR Custom, AFAR Collection, AFAR Experiences to connect offline too.

Monica Drake – travel editor, The New York Times

The New York Times has a long history covering travel, all the way back to a story in 1852 about a journey from NYC to Cincinnati. In the 1930s Travel got its own section in the The New York Times. Now it is a weekly section and lives online as well. There are four elements of the Travel section: 1) Beautiful narratives that inspire you to travel, 2) Service, which are informational pieces to assist travelers plan their travels, 3) News, and 4) Community. She used a piece by a fiction writer traveling in Norway as an example. 36 Hours.

See slides at

Simon Leslie – founder, Ink

Airline inflight magazines, Ink. 80% of passengers read the inflight magazine. Passengers also spent about 20 minutes on average reading inflight magazines.


michael hodson

How to Find and Work with Travel Bloggers
Michael Hodson – past president, Professional Travel Bloggers Association (PTBA)

Advantages of working with bloggers:

– Dedicated followers
– Live in social media
– Evangelists, not just content sources
– Timing/duration of content
– Can also be content creators
– Co-marketing campaign possibilities
– Developing relationships with bloggers as a future knowledge resource.
Other: – niche, language, target audience, style of content, content types

Qualitative Analysis of a Blog: design, self-hosted, niche, age of site, frequency of posting, appropriate content, photo v. video v. text, informational v. narrative, comments and interaction with readers

Numbers alone are NOT the key.

What social media platforms does a blogger use? Who are their followers? Are they contributing regularly? Are people interacting or just broadcasting?

Provide Google Analytics (industry standard) stats. If you want to work with travel bloggers, ask for stats, references, previous posts.

The PBTA –

Consult: what’s your niche? The more narrow, the better.

Good example: Facebook page

Try a contest or a giveaway to get people to sign up for newsletter.

Shoutout to Tripfilms!

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