Travel to Live Blog

Stories of our adventures and updates about the site.

Category: Travel Industry

ITB Berlin 2017 Report: Our Experiences

We’re back in the office after ITB Berlin 2017. This was our first time to the show and we expected something bigger than Travel Technology Europe but it was even bigger than expected. But was it better? We’re not sure.

ITB Berlin 2017: The good

A big show means a large variety of talks and topics. At TTE, the talks were obviously focused on technology, which was right up our alley. ITB had a lot of things that simply didn’t apply to us but more than enough interesting ones to fill up the schedule. Because the show was bigger, we also had better opportunities to meet with people in the industry and trade ideas. The ITB Networking tool made it easy to look up other show-goers and contact them about working together. We especially enjoyed meeting with what3words‘s Richard Lewis – great guy, awesome product! Check it out.

For a travel startup, you should really make your way to ITB Berlin, if you can. It’s a great place to connect with people in the industry and learn more in general about the market. In the worst case, it’s just another excuse to travel and see an amazing city. We loved our trip to Berlin and are looking forward to our next opportunity to visit Germany’s capital.

  • Large variety of topics
  • Great networking tool
  • Many different people and companies to connect with
  • Awesome city

The bad

Big shows can have big problems. Everybody knows the Germans are stereotypically a very organized and efficient people but what you may not know is that they will often tell you that Berlin is a unique and different place in Germany. I’m not sure if that’s the reason but the organization at ITB Berlin 2017 left us wanting.

Confusing signs and strangely ordered halls left you scrambling to find the right talk. Talks were back-to-back, so it was sometimes impossible to get there on time, if two interesting talks were in two different places. They were also a little too short, usually being only half an hour long. This led to some talks feeling rushed or too summarized. Finally, the app had a lot of information but just couldn’t deliver it with a good interface; it was the source of many headaches last week.

Now while Berlin (and Germany in general) has some great food, don’t expect anything but your usual convention fare. Only decent food at a high price was available at ITB Berlin 2017! We fled each day to the safety of nearby restaurants, where we gorged ourselves on German and international cuisines, including Syrian, Vietnamese, and Japanese food.

  • Organization was in need of improvement
  • Talks too short, with too little (no) time between them
  • Hungry convention goers need better food options!
  • Convention centre is not very central


Berlin itself is a really great city. We didn’t get a lot of time to look around but we did have some time to eat. Like any major city, you’ll find a large variety of cuisines, pretty much anything to satisfy your desires. The best thing is that prices are very reasonable, unlike in some other major capitals, like London or Paris.

Königsberger Klopse, a specialty of my grandfather’s homeland

Top: liver and mashed potatoes.
Bottom: Maultaschen with fried onions and salad.

Japanese food at House of Small Wonder in Berlin

We didn’t just eat. On the final day, we celebrated our travel conference victory with a visit to Berlin’s victory column.

Berlin Victory Column

The weather wasn’t great on most days but this was actually one of the sunnier days. The photo was sadly taken during a cloudy moment!

Travel to Live visits Berlin: Brandenburg Gate

The infamous Brandenburg Gate. See if you can spot the mysterious Québec flag in this photo! Our French Canadian friends have got some prime real estate there in Berlin.

Although Berlin is a large city, it doesn’t feel like London, Paris, Rome, or any other major, overcrowded capital. They say Berlin was created out of many smaller cities and maybe that’s why it feels a bit stretched out. We liked it and could imagine living here. A lot of people must agree because Berlin’s population is exploding.

ITB Berlin 2017 was a success story for us

All in all, we really enjoyed taking the trip to Berlin and seeing the show. Most of the problems are problems of many big gatherings of people, so we can’t complain too hard. If you were at the show and didn’t get the chance to meet with us, send me an email and get in touch. Feel free to ask any questions down below!

what3words support added in latest update!

Maybe you’ve noticed the site has been running a little smoother in the last couple days. Our latest patch brings a bunch of bug and performance fixes to Travel to Live. We’ve also added what3words integration!

what3words breaks up the world into 3m x 3m squares

what3words is a global addressing system, which has assigned 3m x 3m squares to the whole world. Each of these unique squares has 3 words assigned to them, giving a unique set of words for any place on the planet. We thought this was cool, especially in countries where addresses are confusing or absent (ever try to find your way around Tokyo?), so we hooked up the API to our site.

what3words is now available for every map point in Travel to Live

Every point on the map has a what3words address now on the info page, so when you’re on your trip, you’ll also know a unique and easy-to-remember identifier for every place you plan to visit. We’ll be at hood.curtail.stunts next week for ITB Berlin, where we also hope to attend an interesting talk by what3words. Find out more about what they’re up to on their website.

Are you already using what3words? Do you think you’ll give it a try now? What other services would you like to see connected to our site? Let us know what you think in the comments below. In case you missed it, don’t forget to checked out our featured blogger, Globetrotter Post!

Changemaker In Your Community by Actuality Media

We were recently contacted by Actuality Media with an interesting opportunity for student travellers to win a study abroad experience. They’re hosting a documentary competition, called Changemaker In Your Community.

Journalism, film & media students globally are invited to produce a 3-5 minute short film on a local changemaker making a sustainable impact on chronic social or environmental problems. The winning filmmaker receives 100% scholarship (worth up to US$3,350!) valid for a 2017 Actuality Media Documentary Outreach in Peru, Nepal, Nicaragua or Morocco to study the art and practice of filmmaking while telling stories about solutions that improve our world.

Sounds like a pretty cool opportunity for students and aspiring travel bloggers. If you’re interested, read more about the competition on their website. See if you’re eligible by checking the terms and conditions. Final submissions will be accepted no later than March 15th, so get to work! Good luck!

Travel Technology Europe 2017 Report

If you’ve been following us on Twitter, you’ll know we were at Travel Technology Europe in London last week! It was a great opportunity to see the latest trends in travel and travel technology. Of course, we also got a chance to field test the site, using it as a real traveller would.

Our trip wasn’t the most complex, as you can see. It was almost a surgical strike: fly into one side of London, sweep through TTE, eat some chips, and fly out of Heathrow. But we learned a lot at the show about the state of the industry and what is of interest to companies in the future. AI and VR were major topics, of course. These technologies have the potential to change our lives and travel is no exception. Many companies are looking at how exactly they can take advantage of these technologies to get ahead of the curve and meet the difficult expectations of travellers.

The continuing rise of mobile is another big and ongoing topic. Though the statistics seem to differ by source, around 1/3 of bookings are done on our phones. It makes sense: who among us can stand one minute without their phone? Phones are probably the greatest travel innovation since the airplane. Being able to have a map and translator in the palm of your hand is invaluable. Now with Travel to Live, you can have your travel plans too! It really puts the pressure on to launch our mobile version. Stay tuned.

Personalization was also a central topic at TTE. Especially in the age of the millennial, travel companies are trying to figure out how to serve us exactly what we want, when we want it. We think this is a major strength of Travel to Live, because our site exists specifically to allow travellers to dream, create, plan, share, collaborate, and remember. In the future, we’ll be adding features that help you find all kinds of trip ideas you might be interested in, created by travellers just like you.

Not all work at Travel Technology Europe

But although our schedule was packed with talks and meetings, we managed to fit in some time for fun and food, even though there was a tube strike on the first day!

A person covered in flowers makes their appearance at Travel Technology Europe

It’s not all business at TTE but we have no idea what was going on here.

Breakfast in London

No day in London can begin without a proper breakfast… sorry, no beans or tomatoes for me!

Sadly, it was only two days of travel before we had to get back to the office and back to work. Thankfully, it was only a hop across the channel to get back to Germany! We’re looking forward to our next trip, when Travel to Live hits Berlin for ITB Berlin! If you’ll be attending and want to meet up, let us know in the comments, check out my ITB Networking profile, or shoot me a mail!

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