International Media Marketplace is a premier event for travel media and tourist boards that occurs in New York City each January.
While new, this one picked up steam as being one of the must-attend events of the years for writers (bloggers included), and in 2019 I made my way out to check out the show after missing it the few years prior.
In this one, I wanted to share a bit more about what the experience is like.
What is the International Media Marketplace?
International Media Marketplace (IMM for short) is a travel media event that has many networking opportunities in many countries around the world.
Arguably, the flagship event of this organization is the North America show that takes place in New York City in January.
The sole purpose? For media and destinations/travel brands to meet, and in 2019 several hundred organizations attended the event ranging from the closest New York tourist boards to destinations like Rwanda, Tahiti, and more.
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The event is set up in speed networking style with an online matching system for both sides to pick preferences (yes, like an old school dating app) with about two dozen sessions of 15 minutes each. Although a bit clunky to use, the system made it pretty easy to get in touch with a number of brands, say hello, and hope the system worked out an appointment.
Going beyond this, the free event includes lunch, a cocktail reception, and many associated brands are known for having pre/post event parties as well. In 2019, IMM also occurred the day before the New York Times Travel Show (in the same convention center), making it a good one-two punch for many bloggers- sadly I had to go home and miss that one.
IMM is Not For Most Bloggers
As the International Media Marketplace is one of the largest gatherings of CVBs, DMOs, and associated destination brands we know of, we can safely say that this one attracts a fair bit of attention from all media (travel bloggers included).
Suffice it to say, the caliber of media is quite high as we were talking to brands side-by-side with nationally syndicated writers, Emmy award-winning travel show hosts, and some of the most well-known names in the travel blogging industry as well.
That's a lot to hold up to.
For other conferences that have networking portions (like Travelcon and TBEX), our travel blog is among the largest at its nearly 100,000 page views per month and 65,000+ social media fans. At IMM, I felt like I was on the low end.
This resulted in a fair bit of difficulty getting appointments, yet I still received plenty that matched perfectly with my writing goals for the year too. Even better? The 15 minute sessions were much longer than at other conferences, meaning we had a fair bit of time to talk at length about topics as well- a win all around!
The Future of IMM May Change
During the show, I was getting the feeling from off-hand discussions that the balance of bloggers to traditional media, discussion of paid campaigns, and other similar topics bloggers get into was a bit, shall we say, unwelcomed.
This is a traditional media conference first, and bloggers are likely going to see a higher barrier for entry with more restrictions as the years go on. (Again, I'm just speculating here from passing conversations.)
Pending any changes, which we sadly cannot predict what they may be, I would not really recommend applying unless you have a very focused niche blog/audience or are trending towards 100,000 page views per month or more. There is no harm in applying, naturally, but I suspect the barrier for acceptance will go up every year.
I'm okay with that.
Overall, IMM was a great event. I had a wonderful time networking with brands that I've never had the chance to talk to anywhere else, meet up with friends I haven't seen in ages, and do it all for free- well, plus costs to get to and stay in New York City, at least.
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