I don’t have to tell you that New York is a dynamic city where there is always something going on or festivals where you can meet people, learn something new and network/do business. Out of all the events and networkings that I like to attend, some of my favorites are the ones related to tourism and travel. These are the types of events where you are surrounded by travelers who want to share their stories, meet other travelers and exchange knowledge and experiences. We’ve been to the NY Times Travel Show in the past, but this was the first time we attended the NY Travel Festival in Brooklyn.
We had a very positive experience at the NY Travel Festival. While it was a smaller event, we had a great opportunity to meet interesting new people and attend lots of great talks. Over the four days of the event, they had organized different activities, workshops and talks. The first two days are more of a chance to get to know each other, as well as the city of New York and then the main events were held over the weekend. We arrived early on Saturday morning at St. Francis College, a beautiful university in Brooklyn Heights where the festival was based.
The first of the talks that we attended was at the top of the schedule for Saturday and it was moderated by Amanda Bourne of “The Bourne Explorer”, an expert traveler who led a passionate talk with two women entrepreneurs who had made the leap to open up their own restaurants. Listening to them was really exciting, since you could see that they had overcome difficulties and through lots of effort they were now living their dream. These are the kind of people who are worth listening to because they give you a burst of energy to follow your own dreams.
The second conference we attended was called “Innovation in Travel” and it was moderated by Mike Coletta, an old friend who we met in New York at several different meet ups. It was a round table with four successful entrepreneurs and directors in the world of travel and technology who shared their opinion about where to find real innovation in the travel sector and the opportunities that they see for the future. This was great for us to learn a little bit more about the sector and also so that we could think about where our path is headed as a business as well as a blog.
After the first two intense sessions we went to one more talk before lunch where two lesser known European countries gave presentations: The Czech Republic and Hungary. Lunch was also an interesting experience where they entertained us with dances, different exhibits and a chance to network with the other people attending the NY Travel Festival. The biggest surprise was seeing an old friend of ours from Spain who we didn’t expect to see there: Ana Pícola. It was such a happy surprise that it made the day even better.
In the afternoon we attended two more talks. The first was a debate among five different social media and blogging personalities (Jessica Festa, Nicolette Orlemans, Rob Holms, Jennifer O’Brien and Maria Ruso). They commented on their opinions about the present and future of the different social media networks and the way that they are using them to optimize results. The last talk was one of my favorites of the day, not because it was more interesting (all the talks were great), but because the presenter, Nathan Yates (co-founder of WeRoam) really knew how to lead the talk in an interesting and entertaining way. He had contests and prizes included so we were participating the whole time. He spoke about something that was very relevant to us: How to work remotely while traveling.
But do you really think that the day ended after the conferences? Of course not! Now it was time for the best part! A private party at the Aloft Hotel in Brooklyn. There we made some fantastic contacts, enjoyed the ambiance and we put the cherry on top of what had already been a very full day.
On Sunday, the second day we attended, we were just as busy. We started off with a walk through the beautiful neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights on a spectacular spring morning. Our guide was Liz Borod, an instagrammer for the BBC and an excellent professional with years of experience. She was also really nice and taught us some insider secrets for success on Instagram. Everyone on the walk had a good time getting to know each other on a more personal level and sharing photo tricks.
The rest of the day was filled with more interesting talks. Of course, this was just our personal experience, but there were multiple talks and workshops to attend. There were options for everyone (here you can see some more detailed information). We would definitely say that our first experience at the NY Travel Festival was fantastic and we’re planning to come back next year. For everyone from travel professionals to brand new bloggers to people who are passionate about travel, this festival has something for everyone. We’ll see you in Brooklyn at the NY Travel Festival 2017!