Well that was an interesting whirlwind!
For awhile now I’ve been interested in attending a blogging conference in hopes of improving this space. I came across TBEX, or Travel Blog Exchange, through others in the travel blogging community and quickly understood it was the premiere one. TBEX is hosted in Europe, Asia and North America each year and welcomes bloggers big and small, old and new. Unfortunately for me, I bought my ticket a little late, like two weeks before late. So I didn’t get to experience everything TBEX has to offer, like pre and post tours, but I can say I thought it was worth my brief time!
Here are my main takeaways from the conference:
Travel However You Want To Travel:
Samantha Brown (new favorite person!) was a guest keynote speaker and she reminded us that we don’t have to be snobby about traveling. However anyone wants to travel whether it’s seeking adventures and going off the beaten path to taking a cruise in the Caribbean, as long as people are traveling, it’s a good thing. With that said, it’s important to remember the next takeaway..
Our other keynote speaker was Bruce Poon Tip from G Adventures, a company that puts together sustainable trips and adventures around the globe. His presentation left me in awe of the programs G Adventures is supporting to help local citizens receive the benefits of tourism in their countries. I pledged to experience travel in a more sustainable and responsible way in the future. I can’t say every trip I take will be perfect but I am more aware of the issue.
Become a Local Expert:
As travel bloggers we each come from a unique part of the world and can shine a light on that area like no other. I was probably most inspired by all the talk about becoming a local expert since that is what I want to focus on in the future on Cupcake N Dreams. Especially since I’ve moved back to the Northeast and there are so many amazing spots to travel to within 300 miles! I want travel to be a goal and more accessible to my readers! Look for more content on how to do that and where to go in the U.S. and Canada to cure your travel bug!
I learned detailed approaches to writing a blog, social media and working with affiliate programs, but I don’t usually blog about the blogging process, I’ll leave that to those who do. The workshops with the DMOs or Destination Marketing Organizations were beneficial and a great way to ask them direct questions.
Here are a few items of advice if you are considering attending a TBEX:
Bring at least 100, no maybe 200+! Seriously, I think I exchanged cards with every single person I met. I also recommend putting your picture somewhere on the card so that people remember your shining face among the 100s they meet.
Get out of your own way
If you are a natural introvert or find yourself thinking I don’t have 10,000 followers or big brand relationships; get out of your own way! I found that everyone big and small was super friendly and willing to exchange tips and ideas about the blogging world!
This goes along with getting out of your own way! Network, network, network! It had to be the biggest takeaway from the trip. The more you introduced yourself to others the more you spread your brand and planted seeds for future partnerships/friendships.
Book early and stay close to site
I truly wish I had booked my trip earlier so that I could experience a pre or post tour with other attendees. Some of my new friends told me about their brew tours, U.S. Space Center tours and hiking tours that I missed out on. It all sounded awesome 🙁
I also recommend staying as close to the conference center as possible, mainly so that you can change, put your bag down and recharge for a few minutes in between events.
Join in the fun
Don’t be a wallflower! The first night they had carnival games and a photo booth at Booth Lumberyard in Huntsville. I made sure to grab some new friends and enjoy! The second night at the U.S. Space Center there was a multi axis trainer, interactive exhibits and a jazz swing band to take part in. Remember you are still traveling and exploring a new place while you are at the TBEX Conference.
If you have questions or want to know more about the conference, email me or leave me a comment below! I’ll update the post if I think of more useful information.