TBEX or Travel Blog Exchange is a massive event that put`s together Travel Bloggers & Travel Industry Players. Networking, speech sessions, workshops, FAM trips…We attended the European edition that was held in Lloret de Mar in the lovely Costa Brava, Spain. Before buying our tickets the doubts were: Are we prepared for our first TBEX? Should we attend this event? What should we expect from our first TBEX?
Happily we took the risk and boarded the challenge.After 1 year of travels it was more than time to invest in more knowledge. TBEX proved to be an excellent investment that already paid it off. Two intensive days of conference with the big names of Travel Blogging & Travel Industry, the opportunity to meet key contacts from big brands and also hang with celebrity bloggers, not to mention the parties and FAM trips topped with a lot of Jamon and Wine!
After our first TBEX we summed up our hits and misses and we put together 5 essential tips that would help you to rock`n roll! These are the survival lessons from our first TBEX:
1 > Do your homework
Do you have your business cards ready? Is your Media Kit updated? (Do you have one, right?!?!?!) Do you know which companies are attending the event?
As soon as you book your first TBEX you should prepare a check list:
– Get your Business Cards ready. We got 500 cards and that was more than enough.
– Update your Media Kit with your latest figures and prepare a printed copy. It`s very handy for companies and you will avoid that poker face when someone ask you about Traffic Source or Demographic figures.
– Check at TBEX website which companies are attending/sponsoring the event and select the ones you are interested in work with. Follow their Social Medias and start to interact with them before TBEX. Be ahead of the curve.
– Study a bit of the local language. This is an advice not only for TBEX events. Put an effort on the language and the locals will appreciate it.
– Flights & accommodation: Let`s talk about it on item 3 🙂
2 > Networking is Gold! (specially in your first TBEX)
Leave your shyness at home and be prepared to chat a lot. I`m not the most extroverted person in the world but in my first TBEX I tried my best. (Remember that you are spending money on it!) The Speed Networking is like a speed dating, few minutes to sell yourself. Detail, the applications are done in advance, we didn’t knew that and in our first day we only got “unofficial” meetings.
Our second day was busier. You should have your elevator speech ready and again, research about the company you are pitching! Videos & Photography are your selling point? So prepare a stunning video (keep it short) or photo slide! If you don’t feel comfortable with the Speed Networking idea don’t worry, on item 4 you will find a solution.
3 > Arrive early & leave late
If there is a regret about our first TBEX then might be our schedule. When we bought the tickets for TBEX we planned our trip accordingly to the official schedule of 2 days of conference. So we booked our flights and accommodation to arrive 2 days before and leave 2 days after. Turns out that there were plenty of activities before and after TBEX!
Luckily we could change our departure dates and managed to join FAM Trips, Natalie did the Barcelona 4 Elements and I cycled from the Pyrenees to Costa Brava. (Posts are coming soon) Also we sailed in a massive Catamaran one day before TBEX. 🙂 My tip is: plan yourself to arrive about one week before TBEX and to leave one week after. In Costa Brava they offered tours & workshops before the conference, FAM trips, free lodging and cruise experience after the conference! SWEEET!!!
4 > Make sure to attend the parties!
If you don`t like the pressure of a speed networking here is the solution: Informal chats. For me the best ones happened during the parties. Lunch time, breaks between sessions and dinners are also great opportunities to meet people.
In the catamaran I was chatting with Chris Christensen (Amateur Traveller), such a legend. In the opening party I was drinking wine with Matthew Kepnes (Nomadic Matt) & Matthew Karsten (Expert Vagabond). It was awesome to meet people who inspired us, we could say a BIG thanks to Dalene & Pete (Hecktic Travels), after reading their blog we decided to become a nomadic couple too. Also we shared tables, drank gin and danced with people from big companies that lead to promising business. Enjoy your time, although don`t forget that your blog is your work!
5 > Be yourself & know what you want
Doesn’t matter if you are a super star blogger or a newbie, be yourself, be genuine. Companies are looking for unique bloggers with unique, creative & great content. So don’t lose your essence just to grab a FAM trip or a campaign. Remember that in the end of the day your audience follows you because of what you are.
Now you have all the tips to your first TBEX! Organise yourself for the next editions that will happen in Bangkok on October 1517th and Fort Lauderdale, Florida on October 28th 30th. We have already been in Bangkok, so we are excited about the TBEX in Florida. Imagine a travel conference in sunny Florida?! Hard to say no!
Fort Lauderdale is known as the Venice of America because of it`s 300 miles of navigable waterways. A paradise for those who love to be surrounded by water (like us). In Fort Lauderdale you can soak on palm fringed beaches, swim in crystal clear water and enjoy the nightlife on Las Olas Riverfront. Sounds like my type of holiday! Every year thousands of tourists travel to Florida, especially to Fort Lauderdale, not only for the stunning beach, but also to visit the Everglades National Park, try their luck on Casinos and go shopping. Among all the big brands stores, there you can find one of the biggest Outlet`s in Florida. I think that’s a good excuse to bring one more empty suitcase (in case you need to pack your extra purchases).
By the way, we found great flights to Florida from the UK. To get a best deal you choose a flight to Orlando Sanford Airport, and then you can rent a car and enjoy 3 hours of a picturesque drive through eastern coast of a sunshine state. There are many beautiful places that you can stop by and enjoy the surroundings, and simply relax before hectic days at TBEX…
However, if you’re flying to Miami, Fort Lauderdale is only 25 miles from there! So spare some time to enjoy this sizzling city too! I believe that you don`t need extra reasons to go to Miami…
For those who are planning to go to Florida for the TBEX, be aware that just after TBEX Florida it will happen the TBEX On The Sea, yep, a 8 days cruise full of opportunities to learn and to connect with the travel industry while sailing in the Caribbean. Sounds like adventure, right! Make sure you get you tickets in advance, then pack your bags and set off for a new adventure!
Talking about Caribbean adventure, don’t forget to read our guide to the best time to visit Jamaica, just in case you decided to stay around longer.
Are you ready to your first TBEX? We are definitely going to again!
Ps.The 2016 European Edition will be in Stockholm.
Disclaimer: This post has been written in association with Thomson Flights.