Entries in ‘Conferences and courses’ Journal

6 Things I Learned at Women’s Travel Fest

Monday March 2, 2015 at 6:06 AM | 0 Comments

Now in its second year, Women’s Travel Fest attracts women (and some brave men) from the United States and Canada. This was my first time attending this annual event that empowers and inspires women’s travel. Last years inaugural debut took place in New York, while this years conference took place at the San Francisco Design Center in California. This multi-day event offered insights from many women in travel. Here are six things that I learned at Women’s Travel Fest.


Patricia Schultz, author

Patricia Schultz Author 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. Photo © 2015 Nancy D. Brown


I. Always stop for homemade pie
“Always stop for homemade pie,” laughs Patricia Schultz Author of 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. “Always stop for an authentic experience that lets you peek into the back door of the place you are going to.”

2.Solo Travel
“If it can go wrong, it probably will, so fix it now!” says Felicity Aston, the first woman to ski across Antarctica alone. She learned many things about herself during her travels, but said that the most important lesson learned was the power of perseverance. The hardest thing about her journey was not the blizzards, the crevasses or the frostbite, it was getting out of her tent every morning. Her life lesson take away, “if you chip away at something, you will eventually make progress. So keep getting out of the tent!”

Felicity Aston, solo travel

Felicity Aston on solo travel. Photo © 2015 Nancy D. Brown


3. Poshtels
Do you know about Poshtels? “When you are traveling and looking for a hotel deal, think about Poshtels,” notes Travel Expert Courtney Scott. They are posh hostels. It’s like staying in a boutique hotel, but at the price of a hostel. Generator is one of the best brands leading the charge with a new property opened in Paris, France.

Paula Froelich, Laura Ling

Paula Froelich of Yahoo! Travel and Laura Ling of E! Network; how to stay safe while traveling. Photo © 2015 Nancy D. Brown


4. Pack light
Whether you are a woman traveling solo or on a river cruise in Europe, packing light is an important key to travel. For safety reasons, you don’t want to be lugging multiple suitcases on your journey, as you don’t want to be perceived as a vulnerable target. Beth Whitman of Wanderlust and Lipstick says, “my big travel safety tip is to pack light. Most importantly, never carry more than two pairs of shoes no matter wear you are going.”

5. Safety travel tip
“Take your street smarts with you,” says California-based writer Marybeth Bond of Gutsy Traveler. “Trust your instincts, but don’t stay home!”

Mickela Mallozzi, Women's Travel Fest, San Francisco

Travel does not end when you have children. Photo © 2015 Nancy D. Brown


6. Traveling with kids
“Travel does not end when you have children,” said Mara Gorman author of The Family Travelers Handbook. “In fact, it can be the beginning of some of the best adventures you’ll ever have in your entire life. The best way to teach your children about the world and different cultures is to take them with you on the road.”
When’s the last time you attended a travel show? Next year, the Women’s Travel Fest will take place in New York. I hope to see you there! Thanks to Go! Girl Guides for inviting me to cover Women’s Travel Fest and Expedia for sponsoring the conference. I look forward to learning and speaking about travel with you.

If You Go:
Women’s Travel Fest www.womenstravelfest.com

Pitching Media and Bloggers in Five Steps

Tuesday October 30, 2012 at 5:05 AM | 3 Comments

"Ryan Vogelsong"

San Francisco Giants Pitcher Ryan Vogelsong shows us how to pitch.

We all know that we should be pitching the media, both print and online, our unique story angles. Yet finding travel bloggers and reaching out to them is often intimidating. 

I’ve put together an outline of five simple steps to contacting the media and bloggers.

I put this presentation together as a speaker for the CA Downtown Association Conference taking place in Sacramento, California. 
If you attended this session, I hope you will heed my call to action by introducing yourself in the comments section below.

5 steps to blogger outreach

Five simple steps to blogger outreach:

  1. Research
  2. Social Media
  3. Unique Selling Point
  4. Bloggers Are Different Than Print
  5. Think Outside The Block
1. Research
The most important thing to remember is to target your media. Take the time to read the blog before you send a pitch letter or introduce yourself; it shows us that you have done your homework.
2. Social Media
Connect with bloggers where we live; online. The easiest way to find bloggers is via social media outlets such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook to establish relationships with the media.
3. Unique Selling Point
Ask yourself  “What’s different about my destination?” and “Why should a blogger care?”
We receive plenty of e-mails asking us to write about your destination. Look at our blog and how we position ourselves. As a blogger, do we specialize in luxury travel, boomer travel, equestrian travel, accessible travel; what is our niche? Next, dial in and fine tune your pitch to the travel blogger.
4. Bloggers Are Different Than Print Journalists
Bloggers need different tools at their disposal than do traditional print media writers. To keep bloggers happy and productive during FAM or press trips, please schedule some down time into the itinerary for us to write at night.
If you would like us to tweet, use Facebook or post pictures to Pinterest and Instagram during the trip, you’ll need to provide us with free WiFi at the hotel. Ideally, provide a list of your client’s destinations, restaurants and shops on Twitter. We might start talking about your destination before we step out of the car or off the airplane.
"apple iPhone case"

Travel Bloggers need different tools than print journalists.

5. Think Outside The Block

Still not sure how to reach out to travel bloggers? Ask if you can guest post on a blog. Or if that doesn’t sound like something you want to do, just leave a comment on a blog. Try re-tweeting posts by bloggers so they can see that you’re interested in what they have to say. You can also promote useful or interesting blog posts on social media.
These are all easy and inexpensive steps for you to improve the travel blogger’s experience, which, in turn, should create better media coverage for you and/or your client.
What am I forgetting? Please share your insider tips on how to work with media and travel bloggers.
Related Post:
Ryan Vogelsong photo courtesy David Watson. Steps photo courtesy Flickr Carson Ting.

Mohonk Mountain House, upstate New York: Luxury and Victorian loveliness

Monday June 18, 2012 at 10:10 AM | 1 Comment

"Mohonk Mountain House"

The Mohonk Mountain House, perched above a brilliant blue lake in the Shawangunk Mountains about 90 miles north of New York City, has continued to thrive for more than a century. Named the No. 2 resort spa in the United States by Conde Nast Traveler, the hotel was built in 1869 to cater to the wealthy crowd escaping the bustle of Manhattan or looking for respite in the midst of natural beauty. These days Mohonk combines what made it successful during the Victorian era with modern day amenities. The result is luxury, relaxation and fun that evokes memories of your grandparents’ childhood.

Grab a favorite book and read

There are nooks for curling up with a good book, parlor tables for board games and enough to do to keep any age busy.  Each month there are different activities and events. For example, June has a photographer’s week followed by a music week.

Along with making its name as a conference center retreat, Mohonk is where people living in the Mid-Hudson Valley region of New York head for a special occasion. A meal or spa reservation or a grounds pass allows you to enjoy much of what the resort offers.

Playing tennis, taking in a carriage ride, or golfing are activities that cost money, but hiking is free. Trails run from easy to difficult. If you hike around the lake, stop at one of the historic gazebos to enjoy the property’s ambiance.  There are guided nature and bird walks for those who want company or help in identifying Mohonk’s wildlife.

Day and meal guests may also swim in the lake and rent a canoe or kayak.

If you do go, take time for the Barn Museum, one of the oldest and largest barns in northeastern United States. The museum has displays that chronicle aspects of American history dating back to 1880. The museum’s collection of 19th century horse-drawn vehicles includes: a water wagon, doctor buggies, and surreys. Hotel room at Mohonk Mountain House"Mohonk Mountain House"

Although the hotel isn’t open to day guests, feel free to visit the gift shop near the lobby. Those who are guests for meals can enjoy Mohonk’s sitting rooms, parlors and entertainment. The last time we were here, we went to a comedy act after dinner before heading home. Another time, we took advantage of the hiking trails and a dip in the lake.

A gazebo perch

Mohonk offers specials year round, so check the website before booking. In June, for example, there is a day spa and meal package.

Rooms range from standard ($340- $670 for single occupancy) to the Mountain View Suite ($2500-up to four guests). Room prices include all meals and most resort activities.  Each day tea and cookies are served in the afternoon.

Insider Tip: If you do go, make sure to read the displays about the history of Mohonk near the reception desk. One of the reasons why this part of New York is so pristine is because of the vision of the Smiley family who founded the resort. There are also displays about flora and fauna on the first floor. The hotel is truly a museum of sorts.

Mohonk Mountain House
1000 Mountain Rest Road
New Paltz, NY 12561

Reservations: 800.772.6646
Spa Information: 877.877.2664
General Information: 845.255.1000

Photos (except for photo of standard room) courtesy of Jamie Rhein. Standard room photo, courtesy of Mohonk Mountain House.