Why join the BGTW?

To be a member of the BGTW is to be a part of the UK’s leading organisation of travel media professionals since its foundation in 1960.

There are clear financial and professional benefits to being a BGTW member – it is easily possible for the annual subscription fee to pay for itself within a week. Here is an exhaustive (yet ever-changing) list of all the benefits of joining the BGTW.

If you would like to apply to join, click here: bgtw.org/apply or if you have any other queries about BGTW membership, please contact the Secretariat on secretariat@bgtw.org or via phone on 0208 144 3718.

Click the + button to extend each individual section to learn more:

Financial benefits

The BGTW press card is accredited across the world and allows for discounted or even free entry to hundreds of attractions.

To see an interactive map of some of the weird, wonderful and far-flung places Guild members have visited – and received free or discounted entry to thanks to their BGTW press card – go to bgtw.org/press-card-map.

The BGTW has teamed up with close to 40 business to give members a raft of savings – car hire and parking, travel clothing, hotels, insurance and more.  Each one has been carefully selected to not only give members a cost benefit but also help them on their next assignment.

A list of the companies who supply exclusive member discounts can be found here: bgtw.org/discounts.

Up to four BGTW members can use the above coworking space in London, at any one time, each day. Email simon@bgtw.org at least one day before you intend to use the space and he will register your name at the door.

Priority will be given to non-London based members if necessary. Perhaps most importantly, there’s good Wi-Fi and free tea and coffee.

Members can use the BGTW’s premium Zoom video conferencing account for free at any time. Email benita@bgtw.org at least one day before you intend to use the account and she will grant you access.

Professional development

As well as being a social community, the Guild can play an important role in making connections and generating new opportunities for work.

BGTW Connect (bgtw.org/connect) is an online directory, that aims to make it incredibly easy for PRs (and the like) to find Guild members with specialist knowledge of regions, skill sets, or types of travel.

See bgtw.org/connect for more details.

The Guild hosts regular professional development meetings on topics such as pitching, the ethics of travel writing, the impact of generational tourism and sustainable travel.

For those members unable to attend, fear not as these meetings will be recorded and put on our YouTube page to view when they return home from their travels.

Members also get FREE access to the regular Social with Media webinars with Howard Salinger and Travel Connection Group, featuring top travel editors and travel experts.

The Guild coordinates the provision of a number of small bespoke press trips for members. These will be advertised to members when appropriate and may take the form of a single day or multi-day trips.

The BGTW has a living archive at Surrey University in Guildford, with John Ruler as the current Archivist. These archives are open to students of the University, researchers and Guild members and contain a wealth of resource tracing the British travel industry back some 60 years.

Please contact archivist@bgtw.org for further information. [/toggle]

Awards

Each year the Guild celebrates tourism initiatives from around the world by awarding a project in each of three main regions: UK & Ireland, Europe and the Wider World.

Members are asked to nominate projects that:

  • have opened within the previous three-year period
  • have a positive social impact, such as creating local jobs
  • are considerate of accessibility needs, and  
  • are environmentally conscious and sustainable in nature.  

The nominee and representative for each shortlisted project are then invited to the Annual Awards Dinner on the eve of WTM where the winners will be announced. To learn more about the history of the International Tourism Awards and the projects that have been beneficiaries check out bgtw.org/awards/tourism-awards/.

If you have any questions about these Awards, please contact Liz Gill, the organiser tourism_awards@bgtw.org 

The British Guild of Travel Writers commends the best work of its members in a series of awards judged by an international panel of travel industry professionals. The categories are:

  • Best UK Travel Feature
  • Best Europe (non-UK) Travel Feature
  • Best Wider World Travel Feature
  • Best Short-Read Travel Feature
  • Best Transport and Travel Feature – The Kenneth Westcott-Jones Award
  • Best Travel Guidebook – The Adele Evans Award
  • BGTW Travel Blogger of the Year
  • BGTW Travel Broadcaster of the Year
  • BGTW Travel Photographer of the Year
  • BGTW Travel Writer of the Year

Members are encouraged to enter their work, a shortlist in each category is announced in September and the winning entries are announced at the BGTW Awards Dinner held at the Savoy on the eve of WTM in November. The winners receive cash prizes ranging from £600 – £1,000. For more information, go to bgtw.org/awards/members-awards.

Events

Each year the Annual General Meeting is held in late January / early February, open to all Full and Honorary Life members to attend as well as the two Associate Representatives. The AGM is usually held as a part of a larger press trip either domestically or abroad.

The trip traditionally allows for two types of attendees: those who attend for the two to four days which surround the AGM meeting and contain a couple of familiarisation activities, the AGM and a dinner. The other element known as the pre-or post-fam element allows for a number of members to attend smaller themed fam trips in groups of five to 15 people.

Each year the Guild holds a gathering during the UK summer months. This often aims to celebrate tourism in the UK itself and offers a chance to meet other Guild members with minimal travel time. This is a relaxed, sociable event and is open to all Guild members. [/toggle]

The BGTW Annual Gala Awards Dinner, held in November on the eve of World Travel Market in London, is when the Guild presents their International Tourism Awards and their Members’ Excellence Awards.

It is a formal event held at the Savoy Hotel and is attended by the leading lights of the travel industry. Tickets are highly sought-after and sell at a premium.

There are nine tickets available for the lucky members whose International Tourism Award projects are shortlisted as they will need to invite and host their project representative at the event as mentioned in the Awards section, above.

An annual December gathering will offer the chance to unwind and catch up with fellow Guild members as the festive season hits full-speed. Details for this are normally announced in September.

Publishing and social media

The BGTW Website Editor asks members for contributions to the website, and a fee for accepted commissions is available for both words and images. This is another great opportunity to get exposure for work and to bring the attention of travel industry professionals.

We also encourage members to connect with and follow each other on social media to support each other and help grow their reach and audiences. For those members who use Facebook, we have two closed groups where members can discuss industry-related topics and share information with each other.


Testimonials from our members

If the above is not enough to convince you, then why not let some of our members tell you why they are in the Guild:

“A number of guild members have commissioned articles from me for the magazines they edit and the Yearbook listing of my special interests – notably Africa and natural history – has led me to various contacts and a number of commissions. A cruise to Svalbard followed by an article for the Independent came about this way.”
– Mike Unwin

“I have made good friends in the Guild who have recommended me to PRs and editors on occasions, and I have been delighted to reciprocate. Only this week an editor asked me to recommend someone who could deliver quality copy at short notice and I was able to put him in touch with a Guild friend who did the job.”
– Gillian Thornton

“A casual chat at the AGM led to a guidebook commission.”
– Juliet Rix

“I have both commissioned and received work through the Guild and am currently writing regular monthly articles for another Guild member, who is the editor of a website.”
– Helen Ochyra

“When I am commissioning I always look around first for Guild members who are knowledgeable about North America. I know that my fellow Guild members are reliable, highly professional writers and photographers who are not only good at what they do but honest about how well they know or don’t know the destinations we cover. They also often come up with good, fresh story ideas that we might not otherwise have known about.”
– Mary Moore Mason, Editor, Essentially America magazine

“The Guild is an enriching way of keeping in touch with other writers and photographers in what can otherwise be a very solitary profession. The Guild can open your mind to new themes, new destinations, new writing and new people – and foster lasting friendships.”
– Lisa Gerard-Sharp

“When you are freelance, contacts are everything. When I am asked to work on a project that either I do not have time to do, or is not my field, I always try to suggest a Guild member who I think might be suitable.”
– Kathy Arnold

“I’ve made some brilliant contacts through the Guild and it has definitely – both directly and indirectly – brought some interesting work my way.”
– Kerry Christiani

“I joined the Guild very early on in my career when I knew very few people. Since joining I have met literally hundreds of people who have furthered or enriched my career in one way or another, from editors and PRs to other members.”
– Helen Ochyra 

“We have some lovely, friendly, funny, clever, talented and entertaining characters and a few – dare I say it – eccentrics in the Guild. They are also supportive, and generous with help and sharing contacts and information.”
– Tina Ediss

“As a stay-at-home freelance, opportunities to meet like-minded people working in the same field are few, and the Guild has been a lifeline in this respect. I’ve made some excellent friends, and received ample reassurance that I am not alone in the struggles and insecurities that come from trying to make a living in this way. And I value the real contact that I have with members of the Guild far more highly than the virtual contact of any social networking.”
– Mike Unwin

“I joined BGTW fairly late in my career and regretted I didn’t do so earlier. As a freelancer in Cambridge, I rarely used to meet other travel writers, and since being a member, I’ve very much enjoyed the contact with other likeminded people, whether it’s swapping funny stories, bemoaning the lack of commissions or falling fees or just having a lot of fun at Guild events.”
– Susie Boulton

“I joined the Guild originally because of the work opportunities and networking potential, but I’ve stayed a member because of the people. It’s great to be able to spend time with like-minded travel writers, and share ideas on work, life, the universe and everything.”
– Kerry Christiani


Anything else?

Is there anything else you would like to see offered by the British Guild of Travel Writers? Feel free to email secretariat@bgtw.org to offer suggestions. We look forward to hearing from you!