Update: Join our Founder, Brooke Roberts, at WITS 2015 in Boston in March. Learn about this year's event here.
We know our community of yoga-lovers also has a dash of wanderlust - so this post is definitely for you! Meet Beth Santos, Founder of GoGirl Travel Network and the Women in Travel Summit! She's one well-traveled, inspirational woman and I'm super excited to be speaking at her first annual WITS in Chicago in March! Beth sat down with me to give us the scoop on why WITS was imagined, what attendees will learn, and how the conference will inspire a little more wanderlust in the world! Thanks for taking the time for us, Beth!
What is WITS?
Beth: WITS is the first-ever travel blogging summit by and for women. We're bringing women travelers, bloggers and brands together to meet one another, build expertise and expand the global sisterhood of female travelers.
What inspired you to launch the summit?
I've always been inspired to help women get traveling -- it's the reason why I started Go Girl Travel Network. I think now, more than ever, women are looking to share their stories after they have these amazing experiences in their travels. Many look to blogging, as well as photography and videography, as that outlet -- whether for their own purposes, to share with family and friends, or on a more professional level. Because our site features the work of 30 traveling women around the world, I thought we were in a great place to be the resource for female travel bloggers at an annual summit. And when I visited TBEX (for travel bloggers) and BlogHer (for female bloggers) last year and saw the proportion of female travel bloggers there, I knew that women really needed a resource of this kind.
What are some key takeaways attendees can expect from the summit?
Not only will we have great information about how to grow your blog, write for a digital audience, and build your search engine optimization -- we'll also have logistical information like how to work with brands and how to go on press trips, as well as information that's relevant to every traveler like how to get abroad on the cheap or what to pack when you go. But the workshops are just part of the whole picture. I think the networking that will happen between the workshops and during our social events will be just as important. At the end of the summit, I'd love to see a strong community of traveling women that support one another and inspire each other to reach further!
Any unique/fun things about the event that people can look forward to?
Yes! Our mentor program is a great way for less-experienced and more-experienced bloggers to come together and share tips with each other. We'll also have a networking power hour, for brands and bloggers to have a sort of "speed dating" session over future collaborations, and a live #girlstravel tweetup which takes after our weeklyMonday chats on Twitter. And don't forget, it's St. Patrick's Day weekend in Chicago, and they really know how to celebrate. We're thinking of having a midday break so our travelers can see the city celebrate in style. In fact, the parade passes right by the Palmer House, our hotel!
Since this is the inaugural event, how are you measuring your success?
I think our growth from this event to next year's will certainly be an indicator of how successful our first one was -- how quickly word spread after it was over, how interested people where in participating again. Yet I think there are other qualitative factors that will go into it. Our goal is to bring women travel bloggers together and to help them grow both personally and professionally, and we look forward to reading what our bloggers inevitably will have to say once the event is over!
Sneak Peak: Where do you plan to host the next WITS? ;)
I can't tell you that! However, those who make it to WITS will be the first to find out. We'll announce it in our closing ceremony.
Come #findyouryoga and your #wanderlust with us next month!
Beth Santos is Founder and CEO of Go Girl Travel Network.Beth founded Go Girl on the back of her blue Yamaha motorcycle while cruising the streets of São Tomé and Príncipe, a small former Portuguese colony off the coast of West Africa. In encouraging women to travel, to get involved in the world around them and to live globally, Beth has created an international community of empowered women who strive to conquer the world on foot, while supporting and learning from one another at the same time. You can follow Beth on Twitter at @MaximumBeth or visit her website at bethsantos.com.