I recently attended “Blog at the Beach” with Icelolly holidays, which is travel bloggers’ festival in Leeds. This was a great opportunity to get to know this well-known travel brand and discover what they have to offer. It was so nice to meet lots of other friendly and inspiring bloggers. Icelolly holidays brought in some great speakers and together we all had the chance to up our game in travel writing and promotion.
In case you’re wondering, this kind of event is pretty rare. Businesses don’t often organise blogger promotional events which include conference-style professional development and learning. It is an innovative idea from Icelolly and it gave us a chance to meet some of the real people behind the website. Here are 27 things I picked up from the day, including a few tips and insights.
1. Icelolly holidays are actually a holiday comparison site. They help you find and purchase holidays from well-known holiday brands. They themselves are well connected with tourist information boards and know many destinations well through these links.
2. Icelolly holidays have an articulated lorry with their name, logo, slogan and colours. I am still wondering what is it they deliver by lorry? Because I’m pretty sure that is not how your booking confirmation would arrive!
3. The Icelolly lorry was filled with beach balls on the day and climbing into them made for some fun photos and videos.
4. Spain is still the most popular holiday search for us Brits! The promise of a short flight and almost guaranteed sunshine remains ever popular.
5. With Icelolly holidays not only can you find a package holiday, hotel or flight deal. They can also fix you up with event or attraction tickets, and they are expanding this part of their service.
6. It’s worth shopping around for a great holiday deal. For example, Icelolly say at the moment you can get a 5 star holiday for a 3 star price in Turkey.
7. Icelolly don’t just sell package holidays. They can also help you find flights, hotels, car hire, self-catering cottages, city breaks, cruises, skiing, long-haul, accessible holidays, weddings and honeymoons, log cabins, holidays for large groups, Disney holidays and UK holidays. They cover it all from low cost to luxury. They’re going to be doing more attraction tickets and events too.
8. Online is great but there’s still nothing like talking to a real person on the phone! It is a popular way to finalise your plans and book a holiday. Icelolly can be contacted on 0333 122 8156
Blog at the Beach Fest
9. We bloggers have a lonely job and it’s really joyful to meet and discover we have colleagues.
10. I need some business cards. I only acquired 4 from others, but I can see that they will come in useful.
11. As a blogger it is great to be in company who don’t mind taking your photo for you and aren’t offended when you stare at your phone!
12. Some people are as beautiful, enigmatic and stylish as if they have just stepped right out of their Instagram grid. And yet everyone I met was warm, friendly and humble.
13. Everyone appreciates a dark cold room on the hottest day of the year. Like a cooling plunge pool.
14. When lunch isn’t until 2pm even a blogger is too hungry to Instagram their food!*
15. My arm strength is as bad as ever and I did best when adopting the bouncy-ball method in the giant beer pong game.
16. Old Mout berries and cherries cider is really not the best. At all. Stick to classic apple or pear.
17. I was so surprised to win a Lowepro camera backpack with Icelolly holidays that I didn’t recognize my own name! I am still not sure what I did that won it but I think it was one of the tweeting contests.
18. There cannot be a more appropriate game for a party of travel bloggers than pass the parcel played by wheeling a suitcase filled with prizes around the circle.
19. If you are not already in the habit of taking selfies then it is incredibly hard to get started. I would have loved to have photos together with the great people that I met but I am still reluctant to get on the wrong side of a lens. I love looking at other people’s photos online though, check out #BlogAtTheBeach on Instagram.
Thinking Caps on with Icelolly holidays! The Talks
20. Sophie from Mama Mei talked to us about how we can share our story. Writing about our lives’ turning points or our passions helps us connect with our audience.
21. Sophie also encouraged us to explore sharing these stories with media outlets to get publicity and coverage for our blogs, and as another source of income. A simple way to start with this is to follow #JournoRequest.
22. In her talk, Vix Meldrew got us to summarize our blog in 3 words. Hers are “funny”, “honest” and “real”. She said if we can define our blogs with 3 words then our readers always know what they are getting.
23. Vix went on to explain that we should use our 3 words to make our content consistent across all platforms; whether it’s our writing style on our blogs, our Instagram captions or our chat on YouTube.
24. Sabina from Girl vs Globe spoke last about the power of video. She used recent data to show us how popular video web content is and how much more it is shared.
25. We learned from Sabina that YouTube is really a search engine where people find entertainment and information. It’s still much less popular with the over 35s except that age group do like to watch explainers and practical demos.
26. Darren, who’s head of Marketing Communications with Icelolly holidays, made me realise that brands really want bloggers to show their individuality in their pitch ideas. I loved this so much I tweeted it.
27. Riccardo gave us some great practical information and encouragement on the affiliate programme with Icelolly holidays, linked here.
Can you help me find three words too describe my blogging style? Please let me know if you have any suggestions!
*quote from sunshinesarahxo who also took my lorry photo.
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