This past weekend we at Zephyr Adventures ran the world’s first Beer Bloggers Conference. It was, in my opinion, a rousing success and quite fun to boot.
To take a step back and give you a little history, in the spring of 2008 I was trying to think of ways to market our new active wine tours. I knew blogging was big and there were at least hundreds of people who wrote about wine on a daily or weekly basis via blogs. Since there was no easy way to contact all these folks, I decided to create a Wine Bloggers Conference in conjunction with our partner Joel Vincent, who had come up with a similar idea at the same time.
That first Wine Bloggers Conference sold out at 180 participants and was instantly a much bigger concept than any marketing idea we might have had. We knew we had created something special but that to continue to make it special, the conference needed to be about the bloggers and not about Zephyr Adventures. It is that today.
A short 2.5 years later, we have run three sold out Wine Blogger Conferences, the most recent one attracting 305 participants to Walla Walla, Washington. We partnered with Foodista to create the International Food Bloggers Conference in Seattle in August with 265 attendees. And we just ran the Beer Bloggers Conference here in my home town of Boulder, Colorado with 108 people in attendance.
Now the Beer Bloggers Conference was smaller than any of the other blogger conferences we have run but it was certainly equally as fun. The beer bloggers are real, down-to-earth, and extremely passionate about good beer. Check out the recent blog post on the BBC website for a review of an awesome event called Live Beer Blogging for one idea of what the conference is about.
Now what does this have to do with Zephyr’s tours? A lot, actually. We have had a three-year crash course in wine and the wine industry due to our involvement with the wine bloggers conference and this has allowed us to create better, more connected active tours in wine areas around the world. The addition of the International Food Bloggers Conference has allowed us to add a local foods focus to our Provence Biking and Tuscany & Umbria Hike & Bike tours. Now, to continue tying our tours to our new conference emphases, we have created our first-ever active beer tour, a Yellowstone Country Bike, Hike, & Beer Tour that takes place in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming.
What’s next for us? Well, we are very keen on only running conferences (and tours) involving subjects we like. Just like we don’t run bus tours, we don’t run candy blogger conferences. Next year we will continue to run wine, beer, and food blogger conferences and are adding, for the first time, a Fitness and Health Bloggers Conference. We think all this will make our active tours that much better!