After returning from ITB Berlin I needed some time to digest my experiences. Moreover I had to look after guests and address various social events.
I have a couple of observations. Some of them will result in separate posts.
- Tuesday March 4, 2008:Berlin’s more than 531 hotels were almost sold out. Consequently getting a hotel was difficult. I have reported already about my experiences. I will give a review of the hotel I actually slept in in a separate post. I was able to leave The Hague around 16.30 hr (4.30 hr PM) and drove the 700 km in 8 hours including traffic jams because of the snow that lasted until half way Hannover. I arrived at 24.30 in my hotel.
- Wednesday March 5, 2008, morning session:My main goal was to meet a couple of fellow Travel Bloggers who would attend the Bloggers Summit that was organized by PhoCusWright together with three Bloggers. In that respect the summit was a success. In a separate post I will introduce the Bloggers to the readers.
There was a strike going on in Berlin and many people had troubles finding their way to Berlin Messe.
Finding your way inside the Berlin Messe is even more cumbersome if you are a first time visitor. It has 26 or more different numbered halls while various halls are subdivided. They are draped around a square with the Messe Tower. Some halls are interconnected. Some are not. Their system of road signs is simply horrible. There is no clear map. In that respect WTM at London Excel, maybe not as huge as ITB, is much more compact and has several strategically located information points where you can tie exhibitors’ names, boot numbers and boot locations together.
As a result most Bloggers didn’t show up at the anticipated time, or not at all (but that was for other reasons).
In addition there was the opportunity for Bloggers to get in contact with various new and/or interesting players in the field. So the major part of the morning session was, after a short introduction by the Bloggers of themselves, filled with short introductions by various people.
All in all there was very limited time left to get to know the colleagues a little bit better, which I regret.
- Wednesday March 5, 2008, Afternoon Sessions:
In two sessions two subjects were covered. The first session was more or less an introduction to travel Blogging for the uninitiated. The second session’s subject was Journalists vs Bloggers:
- Organize yourself: Be (like) a real Journalist
It happened to be the subject of an afternoon session, but organizing yourself for such an event is a hassle in itself. I had two bags, one with my camera and lenses and one with my laptop with me. My laptop is so old and bulky, it didn’t fit in my backpack, also because it is in constant dire need of a wall outlet, as it has a short battery life.
During the morning session it was difficult to connect with the Wifi access point. The same happened the next day, which made Kevin of Travolution Blog make the assumption that Google was down,
Furthermore I had forgotten my card reader. So I wasn’t able to put photos on my laptop nor upload them on the fly. When I returned home, I found out that I had run out of space on my computer HDD and had to address that problem as well….
As to the discussion itself I would like to refer to an excellent article of John Glaser on the subject that I found through Joe Buhlers Blog . In the “Talk Back” part of the session I would have liked one or two journalists to ask questions rather than only Bloggers giving their opinion. Claude had the best observation: Bloggers usually have other jobs and don’t blog full time.
- The March 6 PhoCusWright@ITB BERLIN seminarIt was the first time I attended one of their seminars. They do an amazing and very professional job. Every session starts and ends in time. Speakers are well introduced. Sometimes the speeches are followed by a “Talk Back”. Then one or to three panelists ask questions. The people who are at the panel are extremely well connected. During the speeches, the presentations are on one or two giant screens while sometimes one of the screens is used. There was a nice mix of old know it alls an new startups. I will devote one or two separate posts to the various subjects.
One small note is that the sessions follow each other at such pace over a whole day that at the end of the day I had the feeling I had an information overload. Hardly time to regroup your thoughts. Hardly time to mull over the presentations with other attendants.
I found out that I am not able to divide my attention between paying attention to what is going on and at the same time blogging on the fly. In that sense I am not a journalist and I admire Kevin who was extremely productive during the various sessions. Look at Travolution Blog for more detailed coverage of the Bloggers Summit and the PhoCusWright@ITB BERLIN seminar
- Bloggers Summit Final Gathering
Thursday March 6, Anhalter Bar MÃ¶venpick Hotel, Berlin: 8:30 p.m. – ??
Again I was one of the first to arrive at the bar. Traveling by car proved to be one of my best decisions. I was totally worn out from the information overload. I stepped into the MÃ¶venpick Restaurant to have a quick bite before the drinks. When the others arrived, they were as hungry as I was a few moments earlier and they decided to step outside for a quick bite, only to return past 10.15 pm, when others had left already. In the meantime I had a chance to have some chats with the ones who stayed. I kindly suggest for the next summit the seminar to end earlier, or the get together to be planned directly after the seminar at or close to the premises of the seminar rather than in Berlin center. Then everybody could have hit the restaurants for a bite at around 9.00 pm. My 2 cents.
Friday I had to return to look after our hotel guests. This was a bit unfortunate, as I had hoped to be able to look around a bit more at ITB and in Berlin, but alas, no time left.
The next time I’ll need to have a smaller format laptop with me with and a card reader and I also have to re instate my UMTS card for mobile internet connection in case the local Wifi doesn’t work or is overloaded.
All in all I don’t regret having attended the Bloggers summit at ITB Berlin. A Big “Thank You” to all organizing people.