In a couple of weeks we’ll be heading to Colorado to speak at The Travel Blog Exchange (TBEX) conference about working with brands. We’ll be on a panel with veteran Travel Blogger Gary Arndt and are very excited to sit along side this blogging pioneer to share our thoughts with the community.
Last month we spoke at TBU in Umbria, Italy and made amazing new friends and contacts for future business opportunities. We look forward to attending TBU in Porto this fall to expand on those relationships. On Monday we’ll be speaking to the travel community in Toronto with Frommers Canada and Kensington Tours about the evolution of online travel and media. We can’t wait to spend the two day session getting to know the Canadian market better and brainstorming ideas with them.
We are finding all of these conferences to be very inspiring and helpful to our business.
We didn’t always feel that way.
In 2010, we attended TBEX in New York. We were fairly new to blogging and were looking forward to learning from the experts and pros about how to expand our business, monetize our blog and understand SEO. We only attended the last day as we flew directly from Alaska so we were really hoping to get the most out of the sessions that we were able to attend.
Unfortunately the sessions fell short. We didn’t learn much and we came away from the conference disappointed. We found that either the Travel Bloggers on the panels didn’t want to share their expertise or maybe they didn’t have any expertise to share and that is why their presentations were vague and empty.
Travel Blogging has come a long way baby and in the past two years people have been acheiving great success in online media. The veterans have learned a lot about the business of blogging and instead of giving advice like “content is king” and “write regularly” they are starting to share concrete information that we can all use to grow our blogs and build a strong community.
I’m not saying that content isn’t king, but I don’t think we need to go to a conference to be told this.
When I wrote about my feelings on TBEX 10, people said to me that conferences are about making connections and you shouldn’t expect much from the sessions. While I do agree that you should be making the most of the connections and set up meetings with tourism boards and businesses, I also believe that the sessions should be informative and inspiring.
When I go to a conference, I want to spend my day listening to speakers give solid advice and information. I want to come away inspired and with a better understanding of my own business. The networking and parties are a bonus!
Many new bloggers may not be able to make appointments with all the tourism industry professionals they want to and many new bloggers may be left out at the parties and dinners (Not at TBEX’12 though). They may have a difficult time getting the attention of the people they need to talk to as they may be overshadowed by the “big guys.”
However, at TBEX 12, they have an amazing feature where bloggers and industry can make appointments to meet with one another at Presdo Connect. You can browse people’s profiles, set up appointments and send messages to connect with the people that interest and excite you the most.
Not only are they making it easy for people to connect, but there are great sessions happening all weekend!
I look at the line up of speakers and I know that I am going to get something out of them. I see that new blood is being introduced and fresh faces are going to ignite the conference with a new energy and ideas. I think the speed dating sessions are an outstanding chance for bloggers to connect with companies and I like the list of speakers. I am a big fan of many of them!
Have you seen the people sharing their knowledge this year? I’m excited to hear from Julia Dimon, TV host, journalist and travel blogger extraordinaire, and Joe Megibow of Expedia a company that is leading the way in online travel. It’s going to be a thrill to learn from Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz and Dave Taylor, an expert in marketing and technology. I will be sitting in the audience with pen in hand taking notes and absorbing everything that I can.
Having already been inspired by many of the TBEX 12 speakers at TBU Umbria we know that they put on top notch sessions filled with outstanding, insider information. We look forward to gaining more insight from them and learning from the other panelists and speakers that we haven’t met or seen in person yet.
It’s an exciting time for travel blogging and it is an exciting time for travel blogging conferences.
We’ll be attending as many as we can this year and hopefully we’ll be able to go to TBEX in Costa Brava, Spain later this fall as well. At this point, things are changing quickly in the online world and we need all the help we can to keep up with the new media.
So, should you go to a Travel Blogging Conference this year? Yes you should. Two years ago we would have said differently, but now after attending Social Media Week,Travel Bloggers Unite, meeting in person several of the bloggers who speak at these conferences regularly and attending Toronto Travel Massives where bloggers network and brainstorm together, we think they are an invaluable experience for new and established professionals.
If you go, make sure to grab us and say hello in Colorado. We’re happy to talk with everyone outside the panel discussion and are thrilled to make new blogging friends.