What do you get when you put 20 travel bloggers and writers in a giant Tuscan-style villa in Chicago for 4 days, stock it with good craft beer, and cram their brains with blogging strategy? At first you might think of The Real World, but this was BlogHouse Chicago. Much better indeed.
A few of the bloggers I had met before while on previous trips, but most of the crew I was meeting for the first time. The funny thing is that even from the very beginning everyone seemed to click and the bonding continued throughout the weekend. The entire group were genuinely interesting people from all over the globe and at all different levels of blogging. Some were just starting out while others could be called professional bloggers and making a living off of the platform they’ve built. There was no question, though, that the entire weekend was a whirlwind of information for all of us.
The sessions throughout the weekend included topics like Facebook for Haters, pitching and working with brands, not being annoying on Twitter, travel photography, search engine optimization techniques, and other ways to improve your blogging skills. While I thought a lot of the sessions were extremely useful, the most value for me was being able to vet some of the crazy ideas in my head with fellow bloggers and writers to see what might make sense and what I should scrap.
Once the sessions were done, then the real fun began. Thanks to our awesome sponsors, we got to experience some of the best of Chicago. One night was Industry Night held at the Vertigo Sky Lounge, located on the rooftop of the Dana Hotel. The views from the roof were pretty amazing while we networked with people who work in different aspects of the travel industry.
The next night was my favorite. We started with a boat ride down the Chicago River, courtesy of Chicago Electric Boats. We sailed up and down the Chicago River and got some great shots of the Chicago skyline. Out of the 2 boats, of course we had the better boat. No question there. After the boat ride, we headed over to Mercadito for dinner and drinks, courtesy of the good folks at Gogo. There were a lot of margaritas consumed that night!
The other awesome bloggers that were at BlogHouse Chicago included:
- Kristin Francis from SouvenirFinder.com
- Francesca from TheWorkingMomsTravels.com
- Anne from ParttimeTraveler.com
- Ryan from RyanZieman.com
- Brad from MyWanderlist.com
- Susan from BestBitsWorldWide.com
- Mindi & Daryl from 2FoodTrippers.com
- Jenny from AThingForWords.com
- Lindsay from FrugalFrolicker.com
- Beth from BesudesuAbroad.com
- Amber from WithHusbandInTow.com
- Chanel from CulturalXplorer.com
- Cailin from TravelYourself.ca
- Sherry from OttsWorld.com
- Ayngelina from BaconIsMagic.ca
- Stephanie from Twenty-SomethingTravel.com
- Mike from ArtofAdventuring.com
- Lisa from LLWorldTour.com
I had a great time and learned a ton at BlogHouse Chicago. I highly recommend future BlogHouse events for any travel bloggers looking to grow and develop their brand while having a lot of fun doing it. Cheers to all of our sponsors for making the weekend possible, including FlipKey, Megabus, Gogo, and Vertigo Sky Lounge.