Last week I attended the Arabian Travel Market. As part of this four day long event, on the last day a speed dating blogger event was held. This was my first speed dating blogger event, actually it was my first blogger event. I was really nervous before the event about what to take and what it would be like so I thought it would be worth writing down what I found out and what I think you need to know
This is essential. Know what you are and what you can offer and be able to explain this as precisely as possible. The maximum time allotted per meeting is 5 minutes, though I found towards the end you had much less than this as people tried to talk to as many people as possible.
Remember to take them! I was the idiot that got distracted by her baby while packing and left her business cards on her bedside table. Make sure you have a plentiful supply but even more important remember to get other peoples.
Importance of Instagram
I am starting to understand the spectrum of uses for each of my social media channels. What I learnt at the speed dating bloggers event is that Instagram is king at these events. During my meetings, I was surprised that as I was talking how many people checked my instagram feed rather than my website as we chatted. If I were going to another speed dating bloggers event I would make sure that my top nine squares were really on brand and matched perfectly my elevator pitch. Luckily, just before my speed dating blogging event I had been to the Maldives so my Instagram feed was really on point. I would do this more deliberately next time.
Don’t feel like you have to be the right fit for everyone
I spoke to some really lovely people at the speed dating blogging event however not all would work well with my niche. While I love Rwanda for instance, going on a cultural tour of Rwanda with my one year old is not the right fit for me. There is no point wasting either of your time so make sure you are clear about who you are and what you can offer and don’t be afraid to say that you aren’t the right fit. However if you know someone who would be a good fit why not recommend them? The brand and the blogger will be pleased and who knows in the future you may get a referral back.
Network with bloggers as well as brands
One of the most useful things for me at the event was speaking to other bloggers. An offhand comment by another blogger who is familiar with your site can make you rethink your blogger worth and help refine your brand. It is also great for sharing hints and tips. Therefore don’t only focus your attention at brands.
Don’t treat the end of the meeting as the end of the conversation. Email thank yous for meeting with you and reaffirm your brand and offer and continue the dialogue about future collaborations.
Have you ever attended a speed dating blogger event? What are your best hints and tips?
I don’t know about you but whenever I’m booking a hotel, especially a luxury one I seek the opinions of others. Travel bloggers have often tried a range of hotels from quirky and one offs to high end chains. The Middle East, in my opinion, has some great hotels to suit every type of traveller. Here I, and some of my favourite bloggers, have picked their favourite Middle Eastern hotels that they have stayed in during 2016! I hope this inspires your travels in 2017!
Magnificent desert oasis Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara in Abu Dhabi’s Empty Quarter is just a couple of hours drive from the capital offering the luxury traveller the epitome of elegance set against a stunning panorama of sand dunes.
This imposing and architecturally impressive retreat blends old-world desert charm honouring Emirati heritage and culture with modern-day hospitality. Beautiful interiors combine traditional furniture, textiles, ceramics and artefacts in a series of low-rise buildings that are accessed via large wooden doors with walkways lined with water features and Arabic lanterns.
The service is impeccable, stylish restaurants offer a variety of cuisines, there is a fantastic spa and a multitude of activities from camel rides, dune bashing and falconry. The perfect sanctuary for a long weekend to relax and enjoy a peaceful little snippet of desert life.
What Catherine has to say:
I was staying with a friend for most of the time I was in Dubai, but I was desperate to really experience a hotel as Dubair are so famous for their luxury hotels. I booked myself into the Four Seasons Resort Jumeirah Beach for a night, and from start to finish the service was just incredible. The hotel itself was beautiful and despite my short stay, it was one of the best hotel experiences I’ve ever had. I think it’s well suited to couples and older families, and it was totally worth the money.
You can read Catherine’s full review here and why not check out her social media channels:
My husband and I visited Anantara on The Palm Jumeirah when our daughter was just two months old. It was our first experience of travel with a baby and we were looking for some peace and tranquility as well as somewhere that was friendly and accommodating to a young couple with a newborn. Luckily, the hotel gave us all of this and more. The South East Asian inspired villas which are spread out over the extensive grounds feature private balconies and steps down to lagoon-like swimming pools where Sophia had her first swim. The friendly staff, beautiful setting and unique features make this hotel ideal for young families and honeymooning couples alike. It has an exclusive feel, and is pricey but in my opinion, totally worth it.
You can read a full review here and follow Polly on Twitter @PolBag
We chose the Taj Dubai mainly because it’s location. It is located in Business Bay within walking distance (if it’s not to hot) to the Dubai Mall and the Burj Khalifa. Our favourite thing about the hotel was the choice of restaurants and the quality of the food, especially Friday Brunch. If you have a bit of cash to splash then we would recommend this hotel as even by Dubai standards it is quite pricey, but in our opinion well worth it. With swimming pool, spa and gym it has great amenities. Ideal for business travellers, couples and families.
JW Marriott Marquis Dubai – the tallest hotel in the world – wins our top vote with its combination of opulent luxury, fantastic leisure facilities and award-winning restaurants and bars like Weslodge, Rang Mahal and Tong Thai.
Best of all though, it can be amazing value. We’ve managed to get rooms in this five-star hotel for as low as 335 AED/night using the Entertainer Free Night Offer.
Ideal for business and leisure travellers, who need never leave the hotel due to excellent range of leisure venues and facilities, and close to the dazzling new Dubai Canal.
Proving that luxury and family really can go hand and hand we were blown away by Doubletree Marjan Island. Large family-sized villa rooms overlooking the lush gardens with several pools to choose from. For kids there is a giant playground, and all day (and evening!) kids club – but most loved by our little family was the giant pirate ship with 4 amazing slides! With multiple restaurants to choose from this resort makes a perfect weekend getaway.
You can read Keri’s full review here or if you would like to find out more about Keri and the BabyGlobetrotters travels you can follow them at:
The Intercon is a family favourite of the Wandermust Family. With a great pool and lovely beach with views of the city centre skyline to die for. Coupled with the fact, it has amazing service and brilliant restaurants – we particularly love the Greek restaurant Mykonos – The Intercon is the place to go for the ultimate relaxing break.
We went for our final baby moon here and its perfect for couples but would also be great for families. We would love to go back this time with our little one in tow!
You can read the full review here and the Wandermust Family can be followed on the below social media channels:
I am huge lover of Shangri-La hotels after staying in their Singapore hotel regularly as a child, and stay with them whenever I can so it was a no-brainer for my visit to Doha. One of the reasons I love Shangri-La’s so much is that each one feels ‘on-brand’ and familiar, and I always feel safe and at home in them (especially when I’m travelling alone). The staff are always fantasti, and honestly can’t do enough for you. The Doha hotel was stunning: the pool was an oasis in the middle of a very futuristic and high rise city, the spa was super relaxing, and even the standard rooms are huge!
Catherine’s full review is over on her website for you to check out and can be found here
You can follow Catherine on the below social media sites:
We booked into the Grand Hyatt using the entertainer app buy one get one free voucher and were not disappointed. We were upgraded to the Presidential Suite which was spacious as well as beautiful filled with local decorative touches. The bathroom was particularly impressive with a huge bath and a technology fueled shower. The club lounge offers free breakfast and an evening happy hour, a perfect retrace for couples, We enjoyed spending time round the heated pool, perfect for a winter break with kids.
While I live in Qatar, sometimes I need to get away from my normal life, so I opted to do a staycation at the W Doha. Part of the reason I chose the W Doha is that offered a staycation rate that included early check-in and late check-out. It meant I could spend more time at the hotel. I also chose the W Doha because it is one of my favorite places to eat in Doha, so I knew I would be happy with the food choices. My favorite thing about this visit is that I was able to relax and unwind in a peaceful room with a comfortable bed. The service is always something I am impressed with when eating there and this extended into the hotel. This hotel is great because you can relax in your room, but enjoy the restaurants and nightlife the W Doha offers. It was a wonderful getaway in my hometown.
We are not beach bums! Hotels are usually where we rest our weary heads after a long day sightseeing. So the fact we never left the chedi tells you how good it is! Three pools, including the longest in the Middle East, a beach, beautiful architecture and several amazing restaurants mean the Chedi is a must for any couples wanting a romantic weekend in the Middle East!
You can read the full review here and the Wandermust Family can be followed on the below social media channels:
We were recommended the resort (made up of 3 hotels) and specifically the Al Husn as the must stay in Muscat.The pool area is one of the best I’ve ever experienced. The horizon infinity pool is stunning and tranquil atmosphere is uber relaxing.
Not a cheap get away (GBP 250+ per night) but worth every penny. They include complimentary afternoon tea, evening drinks reception and full mini bar use daily. With pool, gym, private beach areas, free wifi, use of the full resort, 10 restaurants and 3 bars.
The Al Husn is adults and perfect for that luxury couples get away. However the other 2 hotels on the resort are family friendly. The service, food and luxury finishes are second to none at this hotel and why we come return time and again.
You can read the full review here and follow Jersey Girl on the below Social Media Channels:
We stopped at the Six Senses Zighy Bay on our around-the-world trip for one reason: the paragliding entrance. But we loved everything about the hotel, including the excellent food, our private plunge pool, the warm ocean water, the bicycles we rode all around the resort, the library, the tubing and the kids club activities. It’s a lot less expensive in the (hot) summer, but even at the resort’s high-season prices, there’s a lot of value provided. The service was outstanding. Highly recommended for adventurous, non-budget-minded travellers who want to be pampered in a unique location.
I chose Toledo Hotel because it is located in Abdali, a largely residential area of cream-coloured townhouses and apartments intermixed with government and commercial buildings. There are no heavy traffic and loud noises unlike Downtown Amman. The nearest bakeries and shops are within 15 minutes’ walking distance while the major tourist attractions are a few minutes’ drive away, costing only 2-3 dinar by taxi.
The hassle-free bookings of city tour or day tours outside of Amman. The front desk will make the necessary arrangements, after which, guests can further discuss with the hired drivers for other requests. For example, I hired the same driver for the additional two days to drive me to Madaba and later, an excursion tour to Mount Nebo, Bethany and the Dead Sea – all at a reasonable price.
The rates for a single and double room range from USD68 – USD80 a night including breakfast at their Moorish-designed Andalusia Cafe.
In the room, there is air-conditioning, TV, desk, tea & coffee facilities, bar fridge, closet and a private safe box. I found no faults with the room and the attached bathroom as it was very clean, tastefully decorated, comfortable bed and everything functioned as it should be. The hotel has a gym and an indoor swimming pool. And of course, free Wi-Fi! Perfect for solo, business and family travellers.