As a first-timer to TBEX, I wanted to share my thoughts on the travel blogging conference held in Keystone, CO a few weeks ago. First off, huge thanks to Kim Mance and the BlogWorld team for doing a great job in organizing the event! Here we go.
1) The travel blogging community is strong
With close to 800 travel-lovers attending TBEX this year, it shows how enthusiastic bloggers and brands are about the industry. It was great to meet a lot of the people whose blogs I read on a regular basis as well as meeting in-person people who I communicate with online all the time. I made a lot of great new friends that I hope to keep in contact with going forward.
2) The PreBEX events in Denver and the Opening Party on Keystone Mountain were incredible!
The PreBEX (pre-TBEX) events held in Denver included a pub crawl to several local breweries, a beer tasting at Wynkoop Brewery, and museum tours at the best museums in Denver. All of these events were a blast and were very well organized.
The Opening Party was held at the top of Keystone Mountain. It took us 2 lifts to get all the way up, but once we did the views were spectacular!
The food at the party was amazing, as was the dessert tent!
3) There are a lot of brands that want to work with travel bloggers
One of the reasons I wanted to attend TBEX was to learn some monetization strategies for my blog. After speaking with representatives from several different brands, it became apparent that brands are looking for new and creative ways to work with bloggers. If you have an idea, don’t be afraid to pitch it to different companies because you never know who will be interested.
4) The breakout sessions were very useful
All of the sessions I attended provided very specific, actionable items that could be used to improve my blog immediately. This was helpful because at some conferences, everything is so high-level that you walk away thinking, “hmmm…what do I do now???” My favorite sessions were:
- “How To Create A Social Media Strategy” with Matt Long from LandLopers, Jodi Ettenberg from Legal Nomads, Annemarie Dooling from Huffington Post, and JR Johnson from Trippy
- “10 Steps To Writing That Better Engages (and Keeps) Your Readers” with Stephanie Yoder from Twenty-Something Travel and Spud Hilton from the San Francisco Chronicle
- “How To Be A Rock Star Host: Breaking Into The Travel TV Biz” with Julia Dimon from Travel Junkie Julia and Monica McCarthy from Show & Tell
5) There could have been a better choice for the closing speaker
Christopher Baker is an award-winning travel journalist who has written for every major travel publication you can think of, seemingly a good choice for a keynote speaker. However, his background for most of his career has been in the traditional media space. Seeing as how this was a conference on blogging and new media, it didn’t seem to fit very well, although his overall message of working hard to achieve your goals was well received by the crowd.
6) Speed dating sessions
For me, the speed dating sessions weren’t the most effective use of time. I met with a couple very interesting people during the time slots, but for the most part, I met with everyone I wanted to in more informal settings prior to the speed dating portion on Saturday. My recommendation would be to have more time for general networking.
7) I’ll definitely be attending future TBEX events!
In case this wasn’t a given, I will definitely be making it a priority to attend TBEX in 2013, wherever it happens to be held at. I’m also going to try and make it out to TBEX Europe in Costa Brava, Spain in September.
What were your thoughts on TBEX?
Check out my other TBEX posts!