WHY IT RATES: The organization has been helping members navigate uncertain times. —Janeen Christoff, TravelPulse Senior Writer
The premier travel media organization in North America is once again on the move, embracing change and pivoting with the times. From October 14 to 17 this year, the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) is hosting its first-ever virtual travel convention, opening its doors to qualified non-members and taking the lead on embracing the language of diversity in all aspects of its membership.
Times always change, and the present challenges from COVID-19 are no exception. The SATW wants to be part of a solution and believes that networking and solidarity within the entire travel industry is the key to success for all participants. To serve the wider travel industry—including travel—trade media, travel agents, tour operators and brands—SATW is opening its doors to qualified non-members to its 2020 Convention.
Founded in 1955 before the Internet was born and when print media reigned, SATW and its members have adapted continually to meet an ever-changing media landscape. Today, SATW remains the nation’s premier professional travel media organization comprising 1,000 of the travel industry’s most experienced journalists, photographers, editors, broadcast/video/film producers, bloggers, website owners, media relations experts and hospitality industry representatives from the United States, Canada and beyond. All members must meet and maintain the industry’s highest standards of productivity, ethics and conduct, and support SATW’s mission of “Inspiring Travel through Responsible Journalism.”
The SATW Annual Convention
The SATW annual Convention brings members together for extensive professional development programs, unique marketing opportunities and to cement friendships and working relationships that are productive and sustaining.
“Many organizations have been forced to cancel their conventions this year. Because we will be virtual, we are able to reach out to the broad travel community to invite others to join an event that is usually reserved for our members,” said Jane Wooldridge, SATW president. “We look forward to welcoming them at a rate far reduced from our in-person meetings.”
SATW brings together journalists and travel media professionals who are vetted and certified, resulting in high-quality and productive exchanges, meetings and relationships that have measurable and lasting value. The destinations appreciate the fact that the media are recertified regularly, while the media appreciate that the public relations professionals must have active and meaningful clients in the travel industry. Mutual respect and trust and established track records breed successful business relationships and even friendship that results in an unparalleled group of peers in the travel industry.
This year’s agenda includes keynote addresses by Longwoods International President Emir Eylon and hospitality entrepreneur Chip Conley; panels on the future of the industry; discussions on sustainability and diversity; hands-on tutorials on communications metrics, SEO, writing and running your own business; destination tours presented by sponsors; and networking happy hours. Confirmed speakers include Carnival CEO Arnold Donald, Travel+ Leisure Editor-in-Chief Jacqueline Gifford and Melvin Tennant, president and CEO of Visit Minneapolis.
The Marketplace at the Convention
SATW-member journalists and SATW-member media representatives also meet one-to-one in SATW’s signature marketplace. Qualified nonmembers who apply for membership by Sept. 3 and receive approval may also participate. Nonmembers this year will pay $250 for qualified content creators, $275 for travel media representatives. Members pay $50 less. All those who register by Sept. 8 get a $25 discount.
Also this year at the convention, informal and formal networking of the SATW’s famous convention will take place through webcasts and face to face Zoom discussions. COVID-19 has brought about intense demand on the part of the media as well as the public relations professionals to connect with one another about their products, clients and destinations.
Again and again, SATW has shown that it is ahead of the curve. In 1969, it established the still- popular Phoenix Awards that recognize conservation and preservation efforts of individuals and organizations. SATW members can nominate individuals, communities, or organizations that have contributed to a quality travel experience through conservation, preservation, beautification or environmental efforts. The Phoenix Awards as well as the SATW’s distinguished photography and writing competitions, the fill! Muster Photo Competition and the Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Awards, are presented at the annual Convention.
This year in particular, the SATW has been very busy on all fronts during this vital time. Along with ongoing professional development, SATW is formally supporting the ongoing struggle for racial equality. It has also issued a statement of diversity, equity and inclusion publicly welcoming all races, religions, ethnicities, physical abilities and the LBGTQ community. This initiative is supported by an active Diversity, Equity, Accessibility and Inclusion Committee, which presents programs on diversity and seeks to ensure membership is inclusive and welcoming to all professionals.
A Welcoming and Vibrant Community
The SATW is a vibrant resource in and to the travel industry for bringing travel media and destinations together. It is a community where professionals have meetings that result in business but also where peers can come together to share peer-to-peer best practices, experiences and build relationships. SATW welcomes its travel trade media colleagues who are interested in participating in the October 2020 convention. Please click here to register for the 2020 convention.
SOURCE: Society of American Travel Writers press release.
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