While we’re very pleased with our program for bloggers, and our professional development tracks about Content, Community, and Commerce, TBEX also offers two tracks of professional development for our industry attendees – those destinations, brands, public relations and marketing professionals, who work in travel and tourism. Please note, while bloggers are welcome to attend these sessions (unless otherwise noted), the focus of the content of designed for tourism professionals, not bloggers.

Here’s what we have on tap:

Working with Travel Bloggers From a Company Perspective:  Pros, Cons, Expectations and ROI

Speakers:  Stephen Oddo, Roisin O’Sullivan

Description:  Walks of Italy has a long history of working with bloggers as destination marketers to promote travel products. Since 2010, we’ve worked with hundreds of bloggers, creating campaigns independently, driving real sales through our e-commerce platform. We’ll discuss what has worked and hasn’t, how our strategy has changed over the years, our direct and indirect booking numbers, and the pivotal role TBEX has played in contributing to the our blogger initiative’s success. We’re in a unique position to discuss how attending/sponsoring TBEXs has grown our business. We’ll also talk data, ecommerce, analytics, tracking ROI, share some horror stories and success stories.

Takeaways:  How to create a blogger “contract,” why it’s important. Why some bloggers may be a better fit for your company than others. Why not to only give bloggers free products, when to pay for the valuable work they do, use it properly, why they’re worth it. What is Long tail search value? How can evergreen content create evergreen revenue? Why should I work with in-destination bloggers instead of “roaming” bloggers? Companies will understand how to measure success.

Skill level:  Intermediate. Some knowledge of editorial or strategic brand-blogger partnerships will be helpful.

SPONSORS ONLY:  BloggerBridge Workshop

Speaker:  Chris Christensen

Description:  This session is for sponsors only and is designed as a brief tutorial on how to use BloggerBridge for researchign bloggers and scheduling speed networking appointments.

Takeaways:  Get meaninful appointments scheduled for two days of speed networing.

Skill Level:  Basic. This is for sponsors who have little familiarity with BloggerBridge or who are looking to become more comfortable with the speed networking process.

City Tourism:  Is the Beaten Path a Thing of the Past

Speaker:  Manolis Psarros

Description:  The way we visit cities is changing. In a world where tourists have so much information at their fingertips, will we see more and more individualism in city tourism? This session will focus on the technological revolution that is changing how we visit cities, and discussing how destinations may need to make their product more personal. We’ll also examine the larger question of whether this ultimately will change travel habits to the degree that some people predict.

Takeaways:  How visitors research destinations and navigate around cities. What cities are doing to respond to technological developments. How group operators are tailoring their product. To what extent tourists will continue to visit the same places. What are the potential pitfalls for destinations.

Skill Level:  Intermediate. This is designed for attendees currently working for or with a DMO or related business

How to Market to the LGBT Traveler

Speakers:  Auston MattaEloi Morte CastelloChristina Guggenberg

Description:  Gay Travel is one of the fastest growing demographics within the travel industry, but tactfully reaching out to LGBT travelers can be challenging for DMO’s and industry professionals. LGBT travel bloggers, tour operators and DMOs successfully working within this segment can help bridge the gap by providing access to their audience and sharing their successful practices. This session will be a co-presentation with representation from a travel blogger,  tour operator and a DMO all successfully working within the LGBT travel segment.

Takeaways:  Greater understanding of the LGBT travel segment for bloggers, DMO’s and travel industry professionals. Actionable steps that will help travel professionals to develop and evaluate their strategy for LGBT travel. Insight into LGBT travel behavior including interests, demographics, spending and destination marketing. Overview of developing tactful marketing campaigsn that attracts LGBT travelers to destinations and service providers. Insight into current and future collaboration opportunities between LGBT travel bloggers, DMO’s and travel brands. Insight into the unique challenges faced by LGBT travelers themselves as well challenges faced by bloggers, DMO’s and travel industry.

Skill Level:  Intermediate. You should have some familiarity with the LGBT demographic and market.

Marketing to Millenials:  Think You Know Your Audience? Thank Again!

Speaker:  Matt Ridings

Description:  With the drastic changes in the value of the Euro it’s critical to understand what motivates an international audience to take action. With exclusive proprietary research, created from analyzing a pool of millions of pieces of content (both print and digital) you’ll come away from this session with specific knowledge of the purchasing process, new insights into what resonates with the Millennial generation, and how to optimize your content for conversion. In this session you’ll find information not available anywhere else, presented in an easy to understand and entertaining way. You may not be able to change your budget for the year, but you can certainly walk away from this session with the insight to immediately make that budget more effective.

Takeaways:  You may not be able to change your budget for the year, but you can certainly walk away from this session with the insight to immediately make that budget more effective.

Skill Level:  Advanced. This session is design to help tourism professionals pivot to take advantage of the Euro valuation.

You Want What?  How to Establish Expetations for Successful Campaigns

Speaker:  Ciara Sugrue

Description:  This session will focus on how to create amazing strategic results with blogger campaigns based on having clearly defined and understood objectives. Topics will include how a destination should define what they want to accomplish,  finding the right blogger for that expectation, how to recognize what the blogger might want to accomplish, how to tap into strengths and special interests to create clear expectations of what each side of the will do.

Takeaways:  Tips on how to listen and negotiate clear expectations on the part of the destination and the blogger to ensure both party’s objectives are met.  Also, tips on how to avoid the most common pitfalls. 

Skill Level:  Advanced. This session is designed for destinations and brands who are currently working with bloggers and want to develop better skills at setting and negotiating expectations that will define success.

The Purple Dinosaur:  Finding PR Friendly Bloggers

Speaker:  Jason Falls

Description:  Join the evolving discussion on the topic of earned media vs. paid media, and when earned media is the right strategic choice.

Takeaways:  How to find bloggers who understand the concept of earned media and are PR friendly, open to editorial pitches.

Skill Level:  Intermediate. This session is designed for PR representatives working with bloggers on earned media projects.

The Long Road:  Planning Long-term Social Media Campaigns

Speaker:  Tim Anderson

Description:  There’s a difference between short and long term social media campaigns, and this session will help you understand the difference. Then,learn to think big by creating 12-36 months long campaigns that help you achieve your tourism marketing goals.

Takeaways:  Steps on how to break down longer term campaigns into three and six month mini campaign, then creating daily action to reach successful goals.

Skill Level:  Advanced.  This session is designed for tourism profesional who are already skilled at planning and implementing social campaigns and who are looking for ways to leverage that knowledge for additional success.

Defining Expectations:  Social Media Campaign vs. Blog Trips

Speakers:  Jennifer DombrowskiKatie Hammel

Description;  In this session, you will identify the differences between social media expectations on a blog trip vs. a social media campaign. You will see a case studies of successful social media campaigns in which brands leveraged influencers to connect with key audiences. You will learn a variety of practical strategies to identify influencers best suited to integrate with your dynamic social marketing program.

Takewaway:  Identify the key differences between social media expectations on a press trip vs. a paid social media campaign. Develop a social media strategy that leverages influencers. Collaborate with partner bloggers to highlight synergies and connect with key audiences.

Skill Level:  Advanced. This session is designed for those brands and destination who successfully run blog trips for editorial content and are looking for ways to develop larger blogger campaigns.

Hungry for Food Tourism:  How to Feed the Trend Using Social Media

Speakers:  Camille Rumani, Lauren Aloise

Description:  Today’s social media feeds revolve around #foodporn. Culinary tourism is a quickly growing trend, and destinations must be strategic with their culinary travel promotion via social media in order to present their story the best way possible. Learn strategies for social media as it relates to food tourism and discover why having a story is the key to success.

Takeaways:  Learn about the buzzwords appropriate for this niche, and the type of platforms most relevant for culinary travelers. Case studies present will also show how food creates story telling on social media and how important visual tours are to the story. Finally, learn how to create FOMO (fear of missing out) on social media.

Skill Level:  Advanced. This is a niche topic appropriate only for those with an interest in culinary tourism.

SEO for Travel Brands

Speaker:  Rick Kruize

Description:  This session will be a discussion of the current trends and SEO strategies relevant to the travel industry.

Takeaways:  Tips for better SEO implementations.

Skill Level:  Intermediate. You should have some working knowledge and experience with SEO.

To Pay or Not to Pay:  Creating Sustainable Blogger Relationships & Innovative Campaigns

Speakers:  Dave Bouskill, Deb Corbeil, Emma Mead

Description:  This session will share case studies covering innovative campaigns between bloggers and brand, focusing on the long term benefit for brands to continue working with the same bloggers for multiple campaigns.

Takeaways:  Creative ideas for future campaigns. How to tweak your current campaigns for greater sustainability and success. Why long term relationships are key to successful brand-blogger partnerships.

Skill Level:  Advanced. This session is designed for destinations and brands who are already working with bloggers and now want to tweak what they are doing to create more sustainable relationships and campaigns