Every year in March, the biggest travel trade show in the world takes place in Berlin. The ITB Berlin is a must-go for everyone that works in the tourism industry in Europe or that would like to attract tourists from Europe. Lately you find more and more travel bloggers visiting the ITB Berlin as well. I myself went to the ITB Berlin in 2019. If you’re a travel blogger considering visiting the ITB Berlin or if you already plan to go, on this page you’ll find my 15 tips to get the most out of your visit to ITB Berlin.
1 Get a free ticket
There’s no need to pay for your entrance ticket if you’re an experienced travel blogger. You can apply online for accreditation as a blogger. If your application gets approved, you get a PDF file that is your entrance ticket. All you have to do is print it and show it at the entrance each time you enter the Messe in Berlin. Your blog needs to be relevant and you need at least 5.000 unique visitors per month on your website (or a very high social media presence) to get approved. You need to apply for the accreditation online, you can’t do it at the ITB Berlin. If you don’t get the blogger accreditation you can buy a regular visitors ticket online which is about 60EUR and it’s valid for every day.
Click here for an explanation in English on how to get the free entrance ticket to ITB Berlin for travel bloggers.
If you’re considering going to ITB Berlin as a travel blogger, you want to book your accommodation as far in advance as possible. As it’s such a large trade show, there’ll be thousands of visitors in Berlin who all need accommodation. Even if you’re not sure if you’re going to go, you might want to reserve a room at Booking.com which you can cancel later.
My favorite hotel in Berlin is Hotel Almodovar, a vegetarian hotel!
3 Berlin Welcome Card
The Messe Berlin, where ITB Berlin takes place, is located on the Western edge of the city and has two S-Bahn (subway) stations at the entrances (Messe North and Messe South). As the Messe is so easy to access by public transport and chances are very small that your hotel is within walking distance; I highly recommend that you get a Berlin Welcome Card. With the Berlin Welcome Card you get free use of all public transport. You can go for 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 days. If you land at Berlin Tegel airport or if you arrive by train you can get the zone AB pass, if you’re landing on Berlin Schonefeld you should get the zone ABC pass. You also get a discount on many attractions with your Berlin Welcome Card and you can order it online in advance. Didn’t order one before your trip? You can also buy it at the airport.
Even though ITB Berlin had a few hundred travel bloggers visiting in 2019, most exhibitors visit the ITB for ‘business to business’ networking. So they’re mostly looking for touroperators that will sell trips to their destination. Most of them have never worked with bloggers before and don’t expect to meet any at ITB. So don’t expect hundreds of cooperations after your visit.
5 ITB is Big
ITB Berlin is literally the biggest travel trade market in the world, so it’s located on a big terrain with multiple halls with stands. I recommend you wear flat shoes as you’ll walk a lot. You’ll also need to calculate some time between appointments as you sometimes need to walk for 20 or 30 minutes to get to another location.
An extra tip: you can walk from one hall to another outside the building. It’s way less crowded there, so you’re definitely faster than walking through the halls with all the stands.
6 Business Cards
You might be used to send your mediakit to destinations that you would like to work with, but there’s no use in printing it and bringing it with you to Berlin. No one really works with mediakits there and there’s a big chance your paperwork just gets thrown away. Business cards are really useful to bring. Make sure you bring plenty of them with you to the ITB Berlin.
And it also works the other way around, it’s easy getting business cards from potential partners and when you’re back home you can contact them.
7 Speed dating
ITB Berlin hosts a special speed dating session for travel bloggers. You can register online for the speed dating sessions a few months before the event. During this event you get the chance to talk to potential partners like the pr managers of hotels. You get 10 minutes with each person. You make the appointments online beforehand.
8 Facebook group
There’s a Facebook group especially for travel bloggers at ITB Berlin. It’s a great community to get to know more information or to ask questions to (more experienced) travel bloggers.
Click here for the ITB Berlin bloggers Facebook group.
9 Set up meetings
Once you registered for ITB Berlin you can set up meetings beforehand. You can find the contact information from most exhibitors in the online. You can send them a message in the virtual marketplace to set up an appointment. As you can imagine the exhibitors are quite busy these days, so having an appointment with them will really improve your chances of having a successful conversation.
10 Evening programs
During the ITB Berlin there are several evening programs. The Visit Holland stand always has a nice ‘borrel’ with Heineken beers and ‘bitterballen’ and several other destination stands offer an afternoon or evening event. Traverse also often has an evening program.
There aren’t that many food stands at the conference, so it’s often very busy. Also I have to say that the food isn’t cheap. So you might want to bring your own lunch as it’s cheaper and faster.
12 Extra time to explore Berlin
Berlin is a great city. So make sure you have some extra time to explore it. Especially if you’ve never been to Berlin before you should take some time to see the main sights. But also if you have been before, it’s a great city to walk or cycle around and visit some of the great vegetarian and vegan-friendly restaurants in Berlin.
13 Make a list of exhibitors/location
As said, ITB Berlin is really big. It might be helpful if you make a list of the exhibitors that you would like to visit with their location. You can even sort them in order of preference or cluster them by location.
14 Download ITB app
The ITB app is a very helpful resource for during the conference. The floor-plan alone is already worth downloading the app.
15 Bloggers base
There’s a special room for travel bloggers at ITB Berlin. Here you can blog, vlog, charge batteries, network with fellow bloggers or just get some rest during your daily ITB marathon. The ITB Blogger Base is located in the Marshall Haus and will be open from 9:30am to 6pm, Wednesday to Friday.
In the media centre you can hang up your coat for free at a guarded cloakroom.
ITB Berlin 2020 takes place from March 4 to 8. Let me know if you’re going, I’ll be there as well!