The #MyMauritius Explorer Lab conference

I was recently invited as part of a contingent of 30 bloggers to visit Mauritius for the #MyMauritius Explorer Lab conference . The trip was organised by the Mauritus Tourism Board and iambassador. It was not just a press trip. It also included blogger workshops and lessons designed to help us improve our content and blogging skills.

Now, this was the first time that I'd been on a trip like this. I'd been invited on a few international press trips before but I'd always declined because of my kids. Initially, I'd applied for this one just to see if I would get accepted and when I did, I was mentally steeling myself to decline when I was given a ray of hope that made me believe that it would be possible to go after all.

Let's take a step back.

Why would I want to decline?

Firstly, as a family travel blogger, I usually travel with my husband and kids and they want to travel with me too.  Most press trips don't cater for this. Secondly, this was the worst time of the year to leave my kids as they were writing final exams. Both are in secondary school.

Why did I want to go?

Mauritius has been on my bucket list for ages and somehow it had always been eluding me.
My daughter motivated me to go. She said that I needed to think about myself for a change and stop worrying about my kids. Wise words from a 15 year old indeed.

So, I asked the organisers if my husband could accompany me as this was something I wanted to do with him. We offered to book our own air tickets if they could arrange the accommodation. We would obviously be sharing a room, so there would be no extra room cost. They agreed. The grandparents agreed to look after the kids and off we went. All this was arranged in a week.

Because of the British Airways tickets we booked, we left two days before the conference began. We used these two days to explore parts of the island on our own.

 

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Mid-morning snacks at Lux Belle Mare

The #MyMauritius Explorer Lab conference

The conference began with a welcome dinner at the Maritim Resort & Spa where we met the other bloggers and speakers that had arrived They were from a wide range of countries including India, China, France, Australia, Sweden, Norway and Armenia. Some I'd interacted with online before and some I knew about from their blogs . The group included huge industry leaders and micro and nano bloggers too. There were three of us from South Africa who’d never physically met each other before either. Over the next few days, it was fascinating to speak to the other bloggers and learn about their lives and travels.  We had some really interesting conversations.

The rest of the conference consisted of two days of lessons and two days of tours. The workshops were held at the Lux Belle Mare and Heritage Le Telfair hotels. For the tours, we were divided into groups and sent on different tours. We also got the opportunity to practice our photography skills at Heritage Le Chateau.

 

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Lunch view at Heritage Le Telfair

Some of the key lessons I learned were about:

  • How the traveller influencer landscape is changing
  • How destination marketing is moving towards destination management as popular places around the world become overcrowded.
  • How important it is to manage your blog content and learn about SEO to grow your traffic
  • How to be a responsible influencer by creating responsible content.
  • How to make money from your blog
  • How to write great content
  • How to improve your photography and video skills
  • How to approach brands with greater success

I did feel guilty about leaving my kids but I learnt a lot at the conference.  There was a lot of food for thought.

 

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Heritage Le Chateau

There is no such as a thing as a free trip. Part of our mandate was to promote the island. We had to do blog posts and multiple social media posts a day. This was the easy part because we genuinely loved it.

MyMauritius Explorer Lab

Slide byBecki Enright (@bordersofadventure)

The rest was not all glitz and glamour though. Things did not always run smoothly. We would sleep around midnight or later and wake up early the next day for workshops, tours or long drives across the island. After a few days at home though, it’s the good memories that linger, not the tiredness.

Would I attend such an event again? Definitely.

Thank you to the Mauritius Tourism Board and iambassador, as well as the hotels and attractions, for hosting us.

MyMauritius Explorer Lab

The #MyMauritius Explorer Lab conference 1

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