Hi, I'm Erin and I'm a freelance travel writer living in Oman.
I have a question about TBEX events. Is it only for established bloggers with a good amount of social media followers?
I write mostly for outside travel publications and I'm a member of TravMedia Middle East, but I do have my own blog and I'm trying to build an audience.
If anyone has any insights or suggestions, I would appreciate it. Thanks
Hi Erin - I might be a bit biased because my partner Cooper and I have only ever had awesome experiences at TBEX. We are finally getting back to one (Greece) this year after not being able to attend for a few years thanks to COVID. There's always a great mix of established and new people at TBEX. We find the huge benefit is the people you meet and the network you gain. I always enjoy the sessions too. Each to their own, but personally I love the event. Maybe will see you there :)
Hi Erin,"Au contraire", I find TBEX events more useful to beginners. Although I'm not a big fan of TBEX, my perspective is that they put the show for the sponsors and not the bloggers/creators.
I've been to TBEX Costa Brava which was great, well organized and great sessions.Then TBEX Bangkok was the opposite, the sessions weren't great and it was very disorganized.
Recently I've attended TBEX Phuket (only because a good friend was sponsoring the event and he gave me a ticket), a few sessions were good but overall it wasn't a good event. The logistic was awful and again it was done to please the sponsors. Deffinitely it was my last one.
In my opinion the best events for bloggers/creators are the ones organised by Traverse Events. I went to Traverse Rotterdam and Traverse Trento and both events were impeccable.
Thanks for the insight!
Thank you for the tips.
I am sorry to hear you don't find the value in TBEX Robson. I would love to change your mind.
I am curious about two things. Why do you think we put the show on for the sponsors vs. the creators?
It is exactly the opposite. TBEX was founded by creators and is run by creators and professional event organizers. I would sincerely appreciate understanding what gives you this impression.
The second would be what you found so disorganized about Phuket and Bangkok. You mention you have been to three TBEXs Costa Brava (there were two, Lloret and Girona) and our two events in Thailand. These four events are generally regarded as some of the best TBEX events ever. Jaume Marin and his team were recognized as the best tourist board in the world in working with Travel Bloggers by National Geographic back in 2012. This is the reason we went there, and then went again.
Our hosts in Thailand went far above and beyond what most host destinations do both times they hosted TBEX. We didn't hear any complaints about logistics in Phuket. Bangkok also received good reviews in our post event surveys.
TBEX is run by creators and professional event organizers. All of our Conference Directors are long time successful travel creators. They attended, and spoke at TBEX before we asked them to join the team.
As someone who has run tradeshows and conferences for nearly twenty years and who has attended conferences and trade shows all over the world for another decade before that, I agree with Chris' comments below. You get out of it what you put in to it. This goes for any event at any level.
I have exhibited at trade shows with hardly any buyers attending and come away with good contacts and orders. I have never been to an event where I did not learn something new, and meet new people who could help my business.
As for the content we only ask for advanced level content from our speakers. Most of our attendees are at the intermediate or advanced level, but there are definitely things you can learn as new blogger.
The Pre-BEX trips that happen before the conference are open to everyone. You should definitely take advantage of that. The sessions are open to everyone and we offer recordings all of the sessions after the conference. Take advantage of that. The evening events are open to everyone and as others have said you will make life long friends there.
Every year there are new attendees who come for the first time and kind of grow up together in the industry. There isn't any other place where you will find people who understand you and the challenges you have as you progress than at TBEX.
The FAM trips are typically for more experienced creators with a bigger audience. We advise our hosts to consider several other factors when selecting the FAM participants. You do have to apply for them and our hosts decide who gets accepted for those trips.
I agree 100% that Jaume and his team are the best.
Regarding the event in Phuket, let's say there was room for improvement. Spending almost 1 hour, each way, on the bus to attend the opening party doesn't sounds logical to me. There are dozens of hotels near Phuket Laguna with good venues to host the ceremony and even a water park 15 minutes drive from Angsana. To reach the dinner at Aquaria Phuket was the same story.
I wasn't there but those who attended the sponsors/speakers dinner also complained about the long commuting. This one was badly affected by the rain, but still, there are plenty of other amazing venues near/within Laguna Phuket (Phuket is my home, I'm familiar with the area).
These situations tell me that either it was bad planning or it was done on purpose to please the sponsors.
Also, regarding the choice of the Aquaria Phuket as a venue, I've questioned in the TBEX WhatsApp group about it and never got a reply. That place looks like it is only animal exploitation. A questionable choice.
Let's talk about the good side, a few sessions were really helpful, it was great to see old friends and Angsana was a great venue.
I attended TBEX Costa Brava as my first conference, and it was an unforgettable experience. However, as I have attended other conferences since then, I can't help but compare them. TBEX has a more corporate feeling, the opening/closing feels like a ribbon-cutting ceremony. You run the conference and I'm not telling you what is right or wrong, this is my perception.
Again, I find TBEX a good conference for beginners. Although for established bloggers is more of an opportunity to meet old friends and learn a thing or two.
Personally, I believe there are better conferences out there, which offer better value and are more fun.
Hello Erin, I'm the Conference Director for TBEX. I am unsure which event you are thinking of attending, but with all our events we present information that is advanced, has practical examples, and has actionable information that can be used by attendees to achieve the same or similar result. We choose advanced sessions because it is better to challenge an audience than to bore them.
Given what you wrote above and if you were going to Greece, Some of the sessions I would recommend for you include 'Understanding Your Value in Working With Brands', 'The Art of Negotiating in Influencer Marketing', and 'How to Write Content to Increase Page Views'. We have tracks (a series of 3 or 6 sessions) that include video, business models, partnerships, marketing, and SEO & Data.
We are currently finalising our schedule for Eau Claire, Wisconsin in July, but the tracks are similar to Kalamata. It is still too early to share track information for our event in Durban, South Africa in October.
Happy to answer any questions you have.
We will meet again - exciting! See you in Kalamata in May!
Amazing! Can't wait! :) :)
Thanks for this input, I appreciate it!
I haven't decided which one yet - was thinking Greece, but due to some scheduling conflicts, I won't be able to make this one. But thank you for the information for future events!
TBEX is a great experience for any level of travel content creator. We've attended multiple TBEXs and it has always given us a high return on the investment of time and money it takes to attend.
Thanks for your input
Can’t wait! Hoping to finally get to go to TBEX this year.
Hope to meet you at one of our events this year!
I've been to quite a few TBEX events in Asia and Europe and hosted a few parties along the way too ;) So I've seen both sides as a beginner blogger and a more established blogger. I'm hoping that I'll be able to financially afford a TBEX this year or next year as I really miss my fellow bloggers.
It does really depend on what you want to get out of TBEX. For me the greatest thing I have gotten out of TBEX is the community and in person interaction, from my peers. It can be difficult to find a community of people who actually understand what we do as travel bloggers and travel writers. These interactions have been some of the most fantastic learning experiences. Comparing notes after sessions and on the go workshopping what does and doesn't work for one another.
It really is an event that you get out what you put in. I personally don't bother with the formal speed networking as I found just talking to people during the entire event - pre and post events too - worked a lot better for me. The speed networking was just a bit too intense for my liking and I'm usually travelling home just after the event so don't have the capacity to work with local tourism boards on spontaneous trips. Downside of living in Australia some times!
If you do decide to go, take good walking shoes and take advantage of the pre and post trips. It's a fantastic way to meet new friends and get new experiences.
Happy to answer any other questions that you have.
Dear Jean, thanks for the feedback. Gives us a preview of what to expect. Still don't know if I should be doing the Speed Networking either.
Will be attending TBEX Europe in Kalamata, Greece in May.
Thank you - this definitely helps
I was looking into Greece, but with my schedule, I don't think I'll make it. But this is good info for future events
There are a lot of other opportunities to network and talk to brands. Not just during the set speed networking times ;) Don't be afraid to start a conversation with someone in the food line!
I would TOTALLY agree with you - the community at TBEX is amazing and worth returning again and again. Personally I find the Traverse events pretty clique so will continue to return to TBEX
Thanks for the advice, I really appreciate it
My two cents ... I think there are 2 great reasons to go to TBX. I have been to 4, first in 2013 and most recent in 2022.
1 Is the networking and community. And this is great whether you are newbie or old school. If you are newbie, you can find either your peers or a mentor. Both are so beneficial when starting out creating content. I met great people on my first event that I am still friends w 10 yrs later. If you are a veteran, this is a great place to meet up with old friends.
2 I think overall the content is useful and helpful. Each time, there is at least a couple of things I leave with. The challenge (and this is on me) the follow up and execution of the things I learned. Again, I think there is stuff for newbies as well as more senior people.
Thanks for your two cents! It seems like there's plenty of networking opportunities.
Totally agree! :)
I've been to 3 TBEX events in the past and I found those to be very useful for me when I was just starting. The network, meeting fellow bloggers and following up with collaborations afterwards was a great boost of my blog and skills in general. The pre and post trips, as Jean said, are really valuable as you meet people in a smaller group and make deeper connections. You can learn something from everybody and TBEX is the place where you meet fellow bloggers who understand your struggles. It also helps you build your portfolio as a blogger as you get easy access to brands (especially on pre- & post- trips). I've stopped going to TBEX after I stopped working on my blog but I found it really helpful for me.
Which TBEX event are you thinking of visiting?
This really helps. I was considering Greece, but I don't think it will work because of my schedule
Hi all. This will be my first TBEX but I'm getting the impression that bloggers with lots of followers stand to benefit more from the FAM trips. Despite writing exclusively about Greece, I have yet to be approved for a TBEX FAM trip. As far as learning is concerned, I really think that will be lots gain.
I'm left wondering about the FAM trips you mention (and not being invited) - If the trip is to familiarize you with, say, Temples of Bangkok...why would they select you for a free trip there, knowing you write exclusively about Greece? You'd be getting a free trip, and they'd be getting nothing. Or am I missing the point here?
You are not invited, you apply and if you meet the requirements, you get accepted. I understand your point, but as an example a blogger writing about travel in the US does not necessarily mean he or she has visited and seen all of the US. So no, I wouldn't be getting anything, I would actually have the chance to see a destination I have not been to and learn more about that so I can on my part promote it to my English-speaking audience.
I used the wrong term when I said "invited" - accepted, then. I'm merely responding as someone who has been accepted on many FAM trips (and, yes, invited on some I didn't even know about.) From what you said - writing exclusively about Greece - I didn't get the impression that you would be writing about anyplace else. Your website is lovely - but perhaps you should create another tab for "Greeks on Holiday", giving you somewhere to write about any other locale and branch out.
As a US-based travel writer, I am not limited (nor do I limit myself) to only US articles. I write about any place, anytime, anywhere (pitching and publishing in many other outlets besides my own.)
I assumed Maria is attending TBEX Europe in Kalamata, Greece in May. In which case her content would be very relevant. I would imagine that the destination partner has a say in the FAM trips, and how they decide who to accept could be a number of factors.
I have never been to TBEX, and didn't know there was one coming up in Greece. I was just trying to explain why someone might not accept her for a FAM. If these are for locations in Greece, I don't have an answer for that one!
Thank you, Jo. That has been an idea - branching out - in my mind for quite some time as I do travel often for my job abroad (Argentina, Iceland, UK, Ireland, much more) but not sure how to go about it. Your feedback is more than welcome.
Yes, thank you Ian. My fault, never clarified I was referring to TBEX Europe taking place in Kalamata, Greece in May. By the way will anyone from TravelMassive group be there? Would love to meet up.
Thanks! I hope the idea helps. That one tab could be the start, and less work than a second webpage! LOL!
So true! I wish I could also find the time to write about all these other wonderful places I've been to besides Greece! Be well and thank you.
There have been 27 different TBEX events and I have been to 25 of them so I can speak with some authority.
There are a number of different elements for a TBEX event:
Pre-trips: These are usually day trips or half-day adventures sponsored by the local tourism board. They can be fun and are available to everyone attending. These are a great way for a beginning blogger to meet a small number of people. I have numerous friends I met on a pre-trip. Look for one that you would be interested in covering on your blog.
The sessions: There are usually some good ones and some that are not as useful for me. This is very subjective and will depend on where you are in your blogging journey. Many used to say that they were geared to beginners but in recent post-pandemic events, I have found ones that I can learn from and someone who started blogging in 2004. Ask your other attendees if there are speakers they would recommend. They will have a mix of new speakers and ones who have been invited back because they do great.
The keynotes: These are not intended to be sessions where you come out with a to do list of tactical things to do. These are supposed to inspire you. I think the recent keynotes have been good.
Speed Networking: This part of the conference is for structured short (8-minute) networking sessions with companies. You can talk to these sponsors at other times but during these roughly 4 hours (2 each day) bloggers can have a quick scheduled meeting. Sponsors will range from local sponsors to international brands but in the recent post-pandemic have skewed to local destinations. Some local one-time sponsors are clueless, especially in the international events in my opinion. But some like some of the hotel sponsors in Phuket could get a blogger on a sponsored trip just after the conference. You will get more out of these if you follow up. You will get more out of these if you have free time after the conference to do something right then or if you will be back in that area soon. You will be able to get more scheduled meetings if you already have a following. A beginning blogger who does not get any or many meetings can take advantage of the ask an expert one-on-one tables at the same time. TBEX uses BloggerBridge.com for speed networking and in full disclosure, I wrote it.
The parties: These are usually fun and a good networking opportunity. The sponsoring hotel or destination usually puts on some sort of entertainment. There is probably a speech, especially at the events in Asia. The entertainment is usually louder than those of us who want to talk to people would want. The food is often very good. The destination is sometimes close and sometimes a long bus ride. If it is a long bus ride, then remember that's another networking opportunity. I have dined in a castle, partied on a beach, and watched fire dancers, Thai boxers, and human pyramids at these parties. Give me some good food, a chance to talk with new and old friends, and a place to sit down and I am happy.
The post trips: You have to apply to be on a post-trip so in general they will be more for established bloggers, bloggers, influencers, journalists, and the odd podcaster. I have loved the trips that I have done with one exception. What makes or breaks the trip are the traveling companions you will have. The trip that was just OK was with a group that spent all their time on their phones and didn't talk. If you can get on a trip, the can be another great place to network.
Thank you for these suggestions! I'll take a look at bloggerbridge
Chris this has been very helpful. Thank you very much for your generous advice.
Thank you for a great summary of what to expect at TBEX Chris.
I wanted to add to something you said about "local one time clueless sponsors". This is definitely true. There are new brands at every TBEX who really have no idea why they are there. They were just told by their national or regional tourist board that they should be there.
In my opinion this is a good thing. Many tourist boards tell us that TBEX changes the way their destination works with travel creators after TBEX has been there.
We all know there are travel brands out there who have no idea the kind of value travel creators can offer their business. They don't know how to chose the right creators to work with, they don't know what to ask for and they don't know how to measure the success of their relationship after the fact.
For any attendee or sponsor coming to TBEX the first time it is a dive into deep water. You are meeting with and learning from some of the best, award winning, and most successful travel creators in the world. You are meeting with some of the top travel brands in the world when it comes to working with creators.
Some of those clueless sponsors learn a lot over those few days at TBEX and come away from it changed forever. So when you meet them please try and help them.
We see it as part of our mission to educate newbies on both sides of the table. Every brand that learns the right way to work with travel influencers creates more opportunities for our community.
Every newbie blogger who learns the right way to deal with brands helps those brands see travel creators overall as a group of professionals who can help their business.
What he said. :-)
Covid set the destinations back a couple of years, as some of the people who did know what they wanted to do with bloggers got laid off.
It's one of the reasons I was impressed that the hotels I talked to in Phuket seemed to have a better clue about what they wanted and what they were offering. That's well ahead of the game. Being told, "if you are interested I can get you on a bus this Sunday to our destination for 2 nights and we will pick up the cost of these activities and meals and we are looking for x and y" is the sign of a sponsor that has really done their homework.
Cooper and I are huge fans of TBEX - can't wait to return, the entire team does a great job. There are always challenges when dealing with stakeholders, clients, sponsors and indeed some attendees haha. So excited for Greece, see you guys soon! :)
Enjoy the event!
I'm looking forward to my first TBEX event in Greece...this information is helpful. Thank you!
yay you'll love it! see you there!! :)
I think that any travel event opens new doors and new possibilities if one goes with an open mind and heart. It is great for networking and it has a cumulative value over the years. Yes, one singular event may not bear immediate fruits but, over time, many good things happen 'out of the blue,' just because you were 'out there.'
Thank you for your feedback
Hope to attend one
I have not been to TBEX yet (was registered for my first until a little distraction called COVID shut the world down for a bit). I hope to attend one in the future, but for now travel assignments keep getting in the way. However I think I can speak with some authority to your question.
I have been to literally hundred of events with numerous associations and professional organizations over the years and the value one gets from each and every one of them I suspect is the same as for TBEX. You will get out of the event only what YOU put into it.
Some professional development programs will be valuable, some will not ... choose. Those you attend, take copious notes, make contacts. Meet the presenter if you can. Network.
Pre event and post event activities are often fun, but the real value comes from the networking opportunity with fellow content creators and also sponsors and trip organizers.
Parties and such, pick and choose. Again, the value is in networking opportunities. Spend time studying and learning about the presenters and the talents they bring. Learn about your fellow attendees, and the types of content they produce and how much experience they have. Then network your little heart out. Through relationships begun at an event and then cemented via followups, you will quickly find the tremendous value in nearly any professional event you attend, no matter how experienced you are, or inexperienced you believe yourself to be.
You make some very good points. Thanks for your input
IS TBEX only for travel article/blog writers? I'm a travel copywriter w/a focus on digital assets/funnels/campaigns. This conference sounds interesting, but if companies here are only looking for writers with travel audiences they can leverage, probably not the best fit for me.
Appreciate any insights. Thanks!
I'm looking forward to the TBEX event in Puerto Rico 2024