ITB Berlin Files: The business of travel

ITB Berlin 2013 - Photography by Lola Akinmade Åkerström

“If you’re not doing some things that are crazy, then you’re doing the wrong things.”…quote from a PhoCusWright presentation.

I just got back from the “world’s largest travel trade show” called ITB Berlin. And yes, I can independently verify that it probably is the world’s largest trade show. Floors upon floors of convention space and halls which take no less than 60-90 minutes to walk straight through from end-to-end. Without stopping at booths.

By the next day, I had to switch my heels (well, wedges) for more comfortable (well, sensible) shoes I borrowed off my gracious friend Nicole Blake of Nicole Is The New Black who I also happened to be staying with in Berlin.

The catalogue of speakers, talks, events, activities, speeches, keynotes…was mind-boggling and frankly, dizzying. Where would one start?

I did come with a schedule of talks (more like four talks) I wanted to listen to; starting off with the widely popular PhoCusWright conference that focuses on the future of travel and its current technological travel landscape. Having just launched a start-up site focused on Stockholm (much more on that later), it was interesting to see some of the charts coming out of PhoCusWright in terms of investment dollars and where they go when it comes to funding start-up companies. Loads of pondering to do.

ITB Berlin 2013 - Photography by Lola Akinmade Åkerström

After working with Ross for 5-6 years at Matador Network without ever meeting in person, it felt great to give him a hug and go listen to his keynote about working with DMOs. I was a fly on the wall in Michael Hodson’s presentation on the newly launched Professional Travel Bloggers Association (PTBA), and popped in briefly to listen to my friend Melvin Boecher of Traveldudes.org talk about measuring return on investment (ROI) when working with bloggers.

The nights were spent mingling with so many old and new friends plus others at two events – Travel Massive and ITB Travel Tweet-Up.

I’d been looking forward to ITB Berlin for awhile. Not necessarily to comb through country booths (more on that later), but to meet up with friends I’d known online for years, and above all, to spend time with Nicole who I admire.

In terms of goals for the convention, they were pretty simple – come back with a bullet-list of ideas and action items.

And I did.

Next year, I’d love to go back to ITB Berlin and give a talk or two based on those ideas and action items.

I’ll be sharing some of my more memorable experiences from the convention through photo essays.

Up next -> Portraits from ITB Berlin, culture hopping from country to country, and luxury at the Waldorf Astoria.

  • http://www.lolaakinmade.com Lola

    @Andi – It was nothing short of overwhelming!

    @Adam – Yes! In due time. In due time. Will write more about it soon.

  • http://travelsofadam.com Adam

    Slow Travel Stockholm, eh? VERY interested to hear more!

  • http://www.mybeautifuladventures.com Andi of My Beautiful Adventures

    While these shows are not for me, I find them to be WAY too overwhelming, I love reading posts about them from bloggers who have attended.