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The first thing anyone asks me when they discover that I have been to the SNAP conference or the Haven Conference is how the two rate against each other. Since it seems to be a pretty popular question, and since I just arrived home from SNAP a few days ago, I thought I’d give you the low-down.
First off, I wanted to let you know that I have attended each conference 2 times. There are similarities and there are differences. Finding the pick for you- if you have to make a decision- will probably not be easy. So let’s get down to the nitty gritty then, shall we?
1. Crafty vs. DIY
Okay, this is one of the areas that I feel the difference between the conferences stands out. Snap seems to offer things more crafty related, and Haven seems to be more DIY driven. That said, the 2 overlap. And so do about 50% of the sponsors. I think most crafty people DIY, and vice versa. You might notice more sewing classes at Snap and more building or painting classes at Haven. Haven might have 2 or 3 painting classes where as Snap might have 1. Ana White was the keynote speaker last year at Haven, but also taught a building class at Snap 2013. I don’t mind the overlap of the sponsors. I enjoy seeing Ryobi tools at both, because it has allowed me to build relationships with their team members. Shout out to Power Tool Kelly! I think seeing them twice a year gives you a sense of familiarity and it also shows them your commitment to your craft.
2. Blogging is Blogging
Let’s face it, whether you are blogging about crafts, or blogging about DIY/decor or even a page devoted to unicorns only, blogging is blogging. The same rules for SEO, social media promotion and affiliate marketing apply. There will be overlap in business classes from both conferences. Some of the speakers for the class may even be the same. The good news is if you took the pinterest class, but missed the instagram class, odds are you are going to get it at Snap or at Haven (or vice versa). If you can only make it to one, don’t feel like you are missing out in this aspect. Attend the one that works for you, and share notes with someone who attended the class you couldn’t make it to.
3. Location, Location, Location.
The first year Snap was held (it might have even went by a different name), it was in Arizona. Since that first year, it has been held in Utah. The 2013 conference was at Thanksgiving point (south of SLC) and this past year was downtown Salt Lake City. Haven is held more or less in Atlanta. The hotels and venues for each conference changes. If you live close to either area, it might be a cheaper option to attend based on your travel expenses. Salt Lake City can sometimes be an expensive city to fly into. The first time I went my plane ticket was $450 (OUCH!!), this year I got a much better deal at a little under $230. If you are on the West coast, it might be a shorter trip to Snap and the same goes for the East coast and Haven. Texas is pretty much middle of the country and so travel either way isn’t excruciating. If you want to keep costs down, it is cheaper to share a room with 3 others than just 1 other person. Snap and Haven both had some meals done in house at the hotel. They were both very easy to work with regarding my food allergies.
4. Themed parties vs cocktail parties
Snap offers much more themed parties. This past year we got to celebrate the 80’s with a pajama party and an 80’s themed prom. And yes, some people really rocked those vintage dresses. Haven tends to have more cocktail parties in the evening. Both can be overwhelming to the newbie. The themed parties tend to have loud music, which makes talking hard-which can be great for the introvert. The cocktail parties which are fabulous for networking, can be intimidating for a shy person. Both conferences have wonderful women who are willing to talk with you, and get to know you. It can be hard for women, but really, I promise—they are nice and do want to get to know you! More than once I have had outgoing bloggers tell me that they were shaking in their shoes, suddenly tossed back into high school with all those insecurities coming full force at them. Did you catch that? OUTGOING bloggers. Not shy bloggers. Some of them are “Big Name” Bloggers. These are the people that you expect full confidence out of. So here it is ladies—we all feel that way. We all want to be liked. We all want people to be nice to us and accept us as we are. And guess what—if you are open and polite—you will make a ton of friends at either conference.
5. Price. The buck stops here.
Here is just the flat out nitty gritty. Snap is more expensive than Haven. Snap tickets for 2014 were $350 and Haven 2014 sold at $250. Snap goes 3 days, Haven is 2 days (actually 2.5, there is a reception the night before the first day). There were about 500 people who attended Snap this year, and some classes did get full (guess we all wanted to know the secret to skyrocketing page views). The classrooms seemed at bit cramped at Snap, but the ballroom for large events was pretty spacious for that many people. I would say the opposite is true of Haven, which has about 250 bloggers attending (if I remember correctly). Snap also seems to have more keynote speakers (and not all are blogging related, but are usually very inspirational). All things considered, Snap and Haven are both very affordable compared to some other conferences held for the blogging community. I think I preferred the smaller amount of attendees just because I felt like I got to connect with the majority of people. If you know me in real life, I’ve never met a stranger. Get stuck in an elevator with me—I’ll talk your ear off. I’m always sad if I don’t get to meet everyone. Some people may prefer to be in a larger crowd though, so consider that when choosing.
Both have SWAG people! Bring extra bags! I always pack a duffle in my carryon to check on the way back. Last Haven conference, I was lucky enough to get to bring these lovely flowers home. TSA approves without water (simply wrap with damp paper towels immediately after passing security—these beauties lasted 2 weeks for me!).
Final “insider” Thoughts….
Make friends. Make connections. Brainstorm. Share thoughts over coffee in the morning. Skip a session —GASP! Sometimes you will get more out of sitting at a table drinking coffee with 5 other girls discussing VA’s, traffic drivers, how to handle it all, and other random bits of business talk. Be friendly—leave your door open (but not if you are alone, safety first peeps!). Get to know the girls on the “wine wing”. They love to have you pop in and join the conversation (They love you even more when you bring a bottle of wine with you!). Chill out in the recharge room and have fruitful conversations while charging your phone. Or simply take a break and discuss True Tori while that iPhone is charging. Stop by the bar (even if you don’t drink, grab a soda), find the people mingling in the lobby area, or stop the elevator on a different floor. You’ll find them. Don’t be afraid to ask if you can join them. If it’s not your cup of tea, try a different floor. Chat with the people in class with you. Sometimes a simple “Where are you from?” is enough to get a conversation rolling. Be yourself. And if you are truly shy, come find me. I’ll chat your ear off!