The skill sets involved in travel blogging and running a success travel business are akin to those required to run many small businesses. In the beginning, you are everything to everyone, and it’s a precarious balance of being a travel writer, researcher, website designer, site manager, tech support, salesperson, public relations manager, accountant, research and development manager, and janitor. Managing these demands is a daunting proposition. Managing these demands, while growing a business and taking on new projects, is where entrepreneurial bloggers really show their professional chops.
In spring of 2012 I took on a new project. I accepted the position of Conference Director for TBEX (Travel Blog Exchange), the world’s largest conference for travel bloggers and new media content creators. I saw the opportunity as a chance to put some of my skills to work on a project that I’m passionate about – continuing education and connecting people. The mission of TBEX is to help travel bloggers advance their careers as professional travel media through education and networking with DMO’s and travel industry professionals – how wonderful to be involved with something like that?!
Taking on the job of Conference Direction was a chance to learn new skills related to event planning and marketing as well as a chance to develop deeper relationships within the travel industry. It’s an opportunity to meet and network within the wonderful travel and travel blogging community.
TBEX is now owned by NMX (formerly BlogWorld) and holds its conferences in locations around the world. The conference gives destinations an opportunity to strut their stuff for hundreds of visiting travel bloggers, and provides an opportunity for extensive digital and traditional coverage far beyond what could be accomplished in a press trip or visit. The bloggers are provided with educational and networking activities in addition to time visiting and learning about a destination that otherwise might not be on their to-visit list. Speed dating and other marketplace events round out the conference, connecting the industry with travel bloggers for a big win-win event.
TBEX 2012, this year’s North America event, was held in Keystone, Colorado, on June 16-17th, and was hailed as a turning point for TBEX. Registration for the event was well over 700, representing a combination of travel bloggers and writers, destinations, brands, and PR representatives. The event was a huge success, and while I may be a little biased, you don’t need to take my word about it, just read what others have to say about TBEX 2012.
After our successful debut in Keystone, we headed to Girona, Spain, for TBEX Europe (opening night party at St. Gregory’s Castle is in photo above). Registrations were over 350 people, including a good mix of attendees from Europe and North America. There was plenty of buzz about this event as well.
Upcoming TBEX events include:
- ITB Berlin, March 6-10, 2012. TBEX will be organizing and presenting a speed dating event at ITB Berlin 2013. ITB Berlin is the world’s largest travel trade show and this presents a challenging opportunity to connect travel bloggers with thousands of representatives in the travel industry. If you were wondering if travel blogging is legitimate travel coverage, this should remove any lingering doubt. Travel bloggers are a vital part of planning for destination coverage and publicity.
- TBEX 2013. Our flagship North America event will be held June 1-2, 2013 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I’m looking forward to developing successful relationships with our Toronto and Canadian tourism partners for what is predicted to be 1,000 attendees.
- TBEX Europe 2013. The luck of the Irish will be with us as we head to Dublin for TBEX Europe. The dates have not yet been announced, but it will be in October 2013.
Destinations and brands that are interested in partnering with smart, hard working, and respected travel bloggers who have the ability to connect and influence, will want to be at TBEX. If that’s what you need for your next campaign, or perhaps you ust want to talk about possibilities, get in touch and let’s get to work.