So, I went to the Farzi Cafe launch and ended up sitting with some of the senior people at Zomato (who were perfectly lovely to entertain some rando (me) throughout the many courses). They were also kind enough to invite me to the first ever Zomato Blogger Conference, held on April 2nd, 2016.
Starting time? 2PM registration, 3PM panel discussion — all pretty close to the agenda. During the registration period, I made one of my conference buddies, Tiffany of That Fitness Journey, who had a lot of good social media tips about attending a conference.
Refreshments? Mostly coffee breaks with the usual pastries and sweets (I don’t think some fruit would’ve gone amiss). Dinner was served at Olea (the in house all day dining at the Kempinski, serving mostly Levant style salads, mains and starters). Considering everything was free, this was a nice treat, although would not be my first choice of restaurants at MOE.
Location? Kempinski, Mall of the Emirates (keep in mind, it might be attached to MOE, but it is rocking AED200 for the first hour in their valet parking, so make sure you get that ticket stamped!).
Messages? Highlights from the agenda included a panel discussion on reviews, the line of paying for reviews and remaining honesty, a wonderful presentation on food photography, and further professional discussions on growing one’s brand. As I hoped, I got a good dose of well-needed motivation.
Personal reflections? To keep doing my own thing, in fact, to find a way to make my voice more pronounced. I had been slightly stalking a local Instagrammer and when I saw her, I knew I had to go and say hello.
Also, I had been slightly stalking a local (well known) Instagrammer and when I saw her, I knew I had to go and say hello. My awkward introduction worked — we ended up connecting about a lot of topics, having dinner (staying nearly late enough to shut the restaurant down) and starting what I hope is a good relationship. She’s got a lot of great ideas and I can’t wait to see how far she is going to go.
Swag? A lot great stuff (coasters, a decorative cow (!), and some fantastic coupons, which I will definitely be using, thank you Vaniday).
Bottom line. I would’ve loved more focused networking (i.e. almost speed dating to connect with people most like me), but overall, as a first conference, I think the Zomato team have a lot to be proud of. I would be curious to see what they do with next year’s agenda.