Anyone who's spent any time in the travel industry knows that the sector is riddled with silos. Folks in the cruise, hotel or airline industries rarely collaborate or exchange information with people in other sectors.
But then Travel Massive entered the scene and began busting some silos.
The global organization was founded in 2009 in Australia by Ian Cumming and Alicia Smith, who's now a marketing manager with World Nomads. It started out as a way to connect travel professionals — travel bloggers, travel and tourism companies, startups and travel journalists — with the goal of creating a series of meetups where people could connect, socialize and exchange knowledge.
Organically the networking events began spreading to other cities, and Travel Massive became certified as a public-benefit B Corp. The free and open events now take place in 85 cities around the world with 5,000 registered users. See if there's an event coming to your city soon. The gatherings take on a different flavor depending on the city: San Francisco attracts more techies, while Toronto is more writer-heavy.
The power of connecting at the local level
I attended the latest Travel Massive event in San Francisco on Monday night at Monroe's in North Beach, where about 150 people turned out for a free social gathering sponsored by Singapore Airlines. Love the group's mission to meet, learn and collaborate, since that's what I've been doing for years, from creating Ourmedia's Learning Center to creating a silo-busting Sharing Center for nonprofits at Socialbrite to now creating a multimedia community platform at Cruiseable.
"When you get together all in one place, you can start to realize who you can collaborate with or partner with locally, without having to go to a conference ," community manager Erika Helstrom told me at the event. "We're all about making the travel industry more accessible, more social and making it easier for people to connect."
"The travel industry is changing so dramatically," she said. "You might need to find a tour company that doesn't turn up in a Google search, or you might need travel bloggers to write for your site, or you might want to expand to Europe."
For brands such as airlines, hotels or cruise lines — Celebrity Cruises sponsored one of the Travel Massive events I attended last year — the events are "a great way for companies to get brand awareness and exposure in a genuine way that makes people remember what they're all about," Erika added.
The site is continually adding new features to its site. Sign up for their mailing list to make sure you're notified about upcoming events in your city.