TBEX Toronto Lodging Information Now Available


It’s been a week of big announcements at TBEX – we told you that we’d changed the venue for TBEX Toronto, started selling super-early-bird tickets for TBEX Dublin, and now we’re back to tell you that we have begun adding Toronto accommodation options to the TBEX website.


Go to the TBEX Toronto lodging page for the clickable map and list of properties.

We’d like to emphasize that we are still going to be adding hotels and other lodging options to this map as we confirm more properties with special TBEX conference rates. So if you don’t yet see something that works for you, please check back to see what’s new. We’ll let you know when the list is complete, too.

Also note that every property has its own discount code as well as its own booking procedure in order to make the discount work – so please read each one carefully to make sure you get the TBEX conference rate.

Don’t miss: How to Get to Toronto on a Budget

Toronto: Architecture + Design


Toronto skyline at night

The beautiful Toronto skyline continues to grow and shape the city. From world class attractions such as the CN Tower, to the new award winning Absolute Towers, also known as the “Marilyn Monroe Towers,” Toronto showcases some of the most unique buildings in the world.

Behind every door lies a story. Doors Open Toronto is a free annual event that will be running in its 14th year on May 25 and May 26, 2013. The special event invites visitors into properties that are either not usually open to the public, or would normally charge an entrance fee. Visitors can enjoy special programming, tours and interactive events in more than 135 of the most historic, cultural and beautiful buildings this city has to offer. Download the Open Doors Toronto mobile app to help you guide your way.

Toronto architecture is not just about the sky scrapers; there are many unique structures large and small throughout the city such as:

The CN Tower: Built in 1976 by architect group WZMH Architects, the CN Tower stands 553.33 m tall and was built as the world’s tallest free-standing structure and world’s tallest tower at the time. It holds two restaurants one of which spins 360 degrees. It also features an observation deck with a glass floor, and a recently added Edge Walk attraction.

Toronto's Historic Distillery District

Toronto’s Historic Distillery District

The Distillery District: Originally built in 1859 as a manufacturing district, in May 2003 The Distillery District was reborn and re-opened – but still maintained its 1859 look. The Distillery and its more than 40 buildings were transformed it into a pedestrians-only village entirely dedicated to arts, culture and entertainment.

The Boiler House: Originally built in 1886 as a power plant, in 2003, the building was transformed into an award-winning restaurant by architect Mackay Wong. All the major structural elements were retained.

Celestin Restaurant: Originally built in 1920 as a bank, the building now stands as a beautiful and unique restaurant.

The Rogers Center: Built in 1988, the then “Skydome” was the first stadium ever to have a fully retractable motorized roof. It was later renamed the Rogers Center but still remains home to the MLB Toronto Blue Jays baseball team and the CFL Toronto Argonauts football team.

Casa Loma: Built in 1914 by architect E.J. Lennox, Casa Loma now stands as the city’s only castle and one of its most famous attractions.

Gooderham Building - Toronto's Flatiron Building

Gooderham Building – Toronto’s Flatiron Building

Gooderham Building: Built in 1892 by architect David Roberts Jr. as Toronto’s “Flatiron Building” it was built a decade before New York’s more famous Flatiron Building.

Old City Hall: Built in 1899 by the same mind behind Casa Loma, architect E.J. Lennox.

Absolute World Towers: Built in 2012 by architect firm “MAD” from Beijing, China. The award winning towers are locally known as the Marilyn Monroe Towers for their unique curvy design.

Sharp Centre for Design (Ontario College of Art & Design): Built in 2004 by architect Will Alsop, this award winning building has been deemed one of the strangest buildings as it stands on stilts.

Royal Ontario Mueum

Royal Ontario Mueum

The Royal Ontario Museum: Originally built in 1914 by architect firm Chapman and Oxley, the museum added a unique crystal looking wing to the building in 2007 by architect Daniel Libeskind.

Scadding Cabin: Built in 1794 by the Queen’s Rangers for John Scadding, it is Toronto’s oldest surviving house.

Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library: Built in 1973 by architects Mathers and Haldenby, the interior is an impressive and dramatic sight. Five mezzanine floors, with rare books lining the perimeter, overlook an exhibition area and twin reading rooms on the ground floor.

AGO - Art Gallery of Ontario

AGO – Art Gallery of Ontario

The Art Gallery of Ontario: Frank Gehry was the architect leading the design that transformed the Art Gallery of Ontario into something incredibly special. The project which started in June 2005 and was completed in 2008.

This is a guest post from our friends, and TBEX 13 host destination, Toronto Tourism. All photos are used with their permission.

TBEX Dublin Super Early Bird Registration Now Open


Old Jameson distillery entrance

You’ve asked and asked, and we can finally officially announce more information about TBEX Dublin.

TBEX Dublin will be October 3-4, 2013, and will be held at the Burlington Hotel in Dublin, Ireland. And today, the Super Early Bird registration is open!

The deeply discounted super early bird registration prices are $77 for bloggers and $697 for industry representatives. These super low discounted prices are available for a limited time only – these prices expire at 11:59 pm PST on March 1st.

Tell your family and friends. Tell other travel bloggers, PR and industry associates. Tell associates who are thinking about checking out this whole travel blogging thing. Let everyone know that they have a week to take advantage of the very lowest price offered for TBEX Europe 2013 in DublinNow hurry – click on over and register before prices go up.

We hope to see you in Dublin, October 3-4, 2013 at for TBEX Europe 2013. Leave a comment if you’ll be there!

NOTE:  This photo is of the entrance to the Old Jameson distillery. I have a feeling we’ll see some of you here as well.

Photo credit:  Courtesy of Failte Ireland, Tony Pleavin, photographer

TBEX 13 Toronto Venue Change


Metro Convention Center Toronto

Metro Convention Center Toronto

Toronto is a happening kind of city, and part of what’s happening there right now is construction. There are tons of new construction projects going on around town, and that means some detours and re-routing.

Since we don’t want your time at TBEX to be slowed down with detours, we’ve moved our conference venue to the Metro Convention Center, 255 Front Street West.

The Metro Convention Center is located in the heart of the city. It’s conveniently accessible via public transportation, and is within an easy walking distance of great hotels, restaurants and bars, shopping, and attractions.

Nothing else has changed – you’ll still have the great TBEX educational and networking opportunities – this is a venue change only.

Will we see you at TBEX in Toronto?

Photo credit:  via flickr

Travel Blog Exchange: How to Get to Toronto on a Budget


Now that the holidays are behind us, more TBEXers are starting to zero in on their travel plans for Toronto. So when we started getting questions from the community about how to get to Toronto without spending a fortune, we asked Toronto resident and TBEX alum Natalie Taylor to give us some tips.

Toronto Pearson International Airport - by abdallahh on Flickr

Toronto Pearson International Airport – by abdallahh on Flickr

With TBEX a few months away in Toronto, the question on the mind of many participants is how to affordably get to the city in time for the conference. Let’s face it: though Toronto is a major Canadian hub, it can get expensive, especially as the conference is timed for when the weather gets warmer and visitors are coming in for weekend getaways and the myriad of festivals happening in the bustling metropolis.

When I asked travel hacker and founder of The Art of Non-Conformity, Chris Guillebeau, for advice he said, “Toronto is one of the most expensive airports in North America due to high taxation and airline monopolies.” In fact, A Conference Board of Canada report in the fall of 2012 found that fees and taxes contribute to roughly 40 per cent of the total airfare difference with U.S. flights in the markets that it examined. Deal finder Chris Myden of YYZ Deals confirmed there is no magic formula for a great deal from NYC to Toronto.

So other than the most practical advice to save your pennies and maximize on accommodation and dining or find a Torontonian friend to mooch off of for one weekend (this blogger excluded as I live across the city with a full house), here are my tips on maximizing your trip and transport to Toronto (affectionately known as the T Dot):

1. Check Canadian airlines and start signing up for their newsletters

Toronto Billy Bishop Airport - by DearEdward on Flickr

Toronto Billy Bishop Airport – by DearEdward on Flickr

Air Canada and West Jet are Canada’s two main airlines that fly into Pearson International Airport. Porter Airlines and Air Canada have terminals that fly into Billy Bishop Airport on Toronto island, which will land you right downtown (and conveniently near the conference). Johnny Jet said he uses American Airlines for great flight deals as well.

Stay glued to the websites for any upcoming sales. Their newsletters usually come out weekly for any new promotions. Usually if the planes have seats left, they’ll put them on sale. Porter has frequent “50% off sales” that aren’t really sales but marketing promotions, regardless of their cute raccoon mascot. I’ve seen frequent flights from Chicago and New York under $300, including all taxes. Also note that West Jet recently added flights from New York City’s Laguardia Airport (LGA) to Toronto, heating up the YYZ-NYC airfare wars between the airline juggernauts providing the NYC customer great deals.

1a. When to book: I would advise not to wait until the last minute to book a flight to the conference, especially as 1,000 other people are trying to get to the city for the same time. Once you have your flight or transportation booked, it will be a relief. You will also still have time to pay off the cost.

2. Use alternate airports and cities for departure/arrival

Buffalo International Airport - by redlegsfan21 on Flickr

Buffalo International Airport – by redlegsfan21 on Flickr

The closest American airport to Toronto is Buffalo International Airport. This is a hub for airlines like Jet Blue. Let’s do a sample search (based on February 11, 2013). From Portland, OR to Buffalo, NY on Jet Blue leaving on Tuesday May 28 with a connection at JFK, and leaving Monday June 3 with a connection in Boston, the airfare (including all taxes) is $439.60. Add on an extra $10 to $20 per direction and approximately 2 hours per direction for a bus going to Toronto. The other thing to keep in mind with this sort of itinerary is synching up your flight to bus departure. Johnny Jet also confirmed this as a tip but advises that “the border wait could be 90-minutes.”

Flights from Portland to Toronto are no longer direct on Air Canada, but you’ll be able to arrive in Toronto via Vancouver for $557.36. You have to decide whether the extra $117.76 is worth arriving directly in Toronto. (Search date: February 11, 2013).

If you are in Europe, it may be easier to get a flight from a major city like London, England or Paris, France than a smaller airport closer to where you live. Check Canadian vacation supplier Air Transat for the cheapest flights. It may be best to call them directly to see if they can do flights from Europe to Toronto if the search is not working online.

Think outside the box. If you’re in San Francisco, for example, perhaps you can take a cheap flight on Virgin America or alternate airline to another city that will get you a cheaper flight to Toronto. Sample gateways from San Francisco would include Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle or Vancouver.

I would also suggest contacting tourist boards not only in Toronto but in other cities close by, like Montreal and Ottawa, to find out if you can combine a press trip there with your trip to TBEX. Not only are they fantastic cities to visit in the summer, but you’ll save money and get a trip out of the experience (not to mention material for your blog) if you can visit and write about these cities before or after the conference (with a unique angle that will differentiate you from your competition, of course!).

3. Be flexible and make a trip out of the conference

Algonuin Park - by ?ick Harris on Flickr

Algonuin Park – by ?ick Harris on Flickr

Try giving yourself a few days before and/or after the conference to not only get over jet lag/long haul travel but also to see Toronto and other nearby cities/destinations like Niagara Falls and Niagara On The Lake, Algonquin Park (a must for adventure/thrill seekers and nature buffs), our nation’s capital Ottawa, Montreal, and New York City. Not only will you be able to decompress and get great content for your blog, but you may be able to solidify the connections/meetings you made at the conference. I have always made my best connections after the whirlwind of a weekend before or after the conference by speaking with other bloggers/PR one-on-one when there is a bit more time to actually have a conversation and take the time to build a relationship.

By not traveling at the same time as approximately 1,000 other bloggers, you can save money by arriving/departing on Tuesday/Wednesday which are generally known as the best days to travel. You’re also avoiding the weekend rush of other travelers coming into the city.

4. Take the bus, train, or carpool

VIA Rail - by Loozrboy on Flickr

VIA Rail – by Loozrboy on Flickr

Are you in a city where there’s a Travel Massive group or a big group of like-minded travelers like NYC or Washington, D.C.? Make a group trip out of it and carpool. You’ll save money on gas. The bus ride from NYC in my experience is about 12 hours (we had 2 hours at the border). Megabus and Greyhound are good sites to look at for bus transportation. Megabus won’t let me look at prices in June but a sample bus fare departing New York City to Toronto on Wed. April 17 and returning from Toronto back to New York on Monday April 22, is $102.50, including all taxes (based on a search from Feb 11, 2013). This is a great deal compared to $300 for flights (from my experience of looking at both Porter and Air Canada as an agent and in the travel industry, that price won’t go below $250 unless you are a very savvy booker).

Ever dreamed of taking the cross-country American or Canadian road trip? Maybe you can find people who are willing to do the road trip along the way if you can plan in advance.

The VIA Rail train in Canada may provide you with the kind of journey that a flight won’t, and may be cheaper than a flight. Bonus travel points if you can stop at a few cities along the way to Toronto.

Another tip if you don’t want to do the grueling, long bus trip both ways is to take a flight one way and take the bus one way. This might also make for a great blog post on mixing and matching transportation.

5. Use your points

Maybe this is a moot point, but using airline or credit card points will really help you save on the cost of your flight and maximize your dollar on accommodation and dining in the city.


Toronto skyline - by Ken Doerr on Flickr

Toronto skyline – by Ken Doerr on Flickr

Through my experience of going to two different TBEX conferences (in New York City and Vancouver), I can say that the experiences – whether it was networking, learning new skills, making some lifelong friends, seeing cities for a fraction of the usual cost, or nearby press trips (big up to Vancouver for that city pass back in 2011!) – that TBEX is absolutely worth the long haul of kick-starting your blogging career or meeting like-minded souls who can help you. Plus, Toronto ain’t that bad of a city – but I’m a bit biased!

Please do check out my tips on where to stay in Toronto, TBEX edition that I created specifically for conference participants, and I am also an expert on where to eat in Toronto. Here are my top ten favourite restaurants.

Author Bio: Natalie Taylor is a freelance travel writer, blogger and social media specialist in the travel industry. She is a Toronto expert and has written city guides on Toronto for publications like Blackbook Magazine, and has been published on Sympatico’s travel blog and National Geographic’s Intelligent Travel blog. She is currently an ambassador for AFAR Magazine. Her site, Near Afar, focuses on hyperlocal travel from Toronto and beyond!

Travel Bloggers: 5 Photography Composition Tips You May Not Know


Most travel bloggers serve double-duty as both writers and photographers, even though we tend to be better at one than the other. Even if you’re not a professional photographer, however, you can learn easy techniques to improve your photography and make it more visually appealing. Today’s guest post by Kim Olson gives you five composition tips that will add variety to your shots.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced professional in photography, it always helps to keep in mind the various ways you can compose your images. Some composition “rules” are fairly standard and well known while others aren’t as common and can be easily overlooked. Let’s take a look at a few different ways you can liven up your images by switching your composition.

1. Center Your Subject

Photographers like to say that you learn the rules so that you can break them when it makes sense to do so. There will definitely be times when you want to completely shun the things you’ve been taught, like the rule of thirds (which may be one of the first composition techniques you ever learned).

Sometimes when you’re surveying a scene, you’ll find that the rule of thirds just isn’t working for you and the image would be much stronger if the subject is captured dead center. Symmetry is appealing to humans, so even though centering your subject breaks the rule of thirds, your photo can still work really well.


Centered photo of Senso-ji’s Hozomon Gate in Tokyo, Japan. Photo by Kim Olson.

2. Change Your Perspective

Most of us go through our lives seeing the world at whatever height we happen to be – 5’4”, 6’2”, etc. But many times the more interesting images you’ll see were not taken from a standard human’s height.

Maybe the photographer got down and dirty on the ground or climbed a tree. Whatever new position they found themselves in, they were able to capture a more dynamic and unusual shot from an angle most of us don’t usually see.

If your subject is animals or babies, for example, get down to their eye level. Chances are the images you take of them will be better than if you were shooting down on the tops of their heads.


Because of the fur on this Japanese macaque’s head, I wouldn’t have been able to capture his eyes if I hadn’t gotten down to his eye level. Photo by Kim Olson.

3. Shoot Vertically

It amazes me how little some photographers pivot their cameras. I think a lot of them simply forget they can.

Shooting vertically oriented is another great way to add a different dimension to your images, and some subjects are far more apt to be captured that way.
Even if shooting vertically isn’t your everyday preference, it’s still a good idea to remember that by simply rotating your camera, you can get a whole new composition.


I wanted to be able to capture both the seemingly infinite boardwalk along with the tall, towering trees and the vertical composition worked much better for that. Photo by Kim Olson.

4. Frame Your Subject(s)

Using framing is a great technique and I’ve found it particularly helpful when shooting landscapes or cityscapes.

Oftentimes you’ll find that there’s a lot of empty space that feels kind of blah. A good way to fill it and complete the image is to frame your subject. By frame I mean introducing another element into your photograph that will essentially “wrap” around your subject on one or more sides.

If you look at other photographer’s images, you’ll probably start to notice this a lot with trees. Many times the main subject will be a building, like the Lincoln Memorial, and the photographer will use blossoming cherry trees to engulf the structure.


The sky would’ve been a bit too vast for my taste had I not positioned myself under the tree, which helped fill the space and frame Matsumoto Castle in Japan. Photo by Kim Olson.

5. Patterns or Repetitions

Whether they’re manmade or natural, different patterns can be very visually appealing. Many times these things may go unseen except to the very keen observer, but those who do find and photograph them will be rewarded with compelling images.

Patterns can be repeating lines, like columns of a building, or more abstract and random like shadows on the ground. To really capitalize on a pattern’s effect, you’ll want to zoom in and isolate it so that the pattern fills the entire frame.


This shot was taken on the shores of Lake Tahoe, California, as the wind and sandy bottom created this lovely pattern. Photo by Kim Olson.

To Sum Up

There are so many different rules and suggestions for how to compose your images, but I think a lot of it comes down to how you feel like photographing your subject. You are the artist, after all. So however you capture the scene, if it is really appealing to you, then the image is successful.

Of course that’s not to say that we can’t all improve as photographers and learn more and better ways to create images that are more broadly appealing. With practice, trial and error and feedback from others, we’ll all be able to keep on getting better and creating more images that we’re happy with.

Happy shooting!

Author bio: Kim Olson is a photographer, traveler & writer who shares simple weekly photo tips on her site www.simplerphoto.com. You can also find Simpler Photo on Facebook and follow Kim on Twitter @kimolsonphoto.

No, I Don’t Want to Sign Up for Your Mailing List (And Here’s Why)


I need more emails like I need a hole in the head. I recommend that every online content creator out there has a mailing list, but I actually sign up for very few of them personally. I think mailing lists are great, but some people could have more subscribers if they used their lists slightly differently.

computer keyboard

Here’s why I don’t sign up for your mailing list…and what you can do to change that:

1. You email me every post you write.

I think having your RSS feed available via email is a really great idea. Lots of people prefer reading posts that way. Personally, though, I use Twitter as my feed reader (find out how here) because emails get buried too quickly for me. When I sign up for a mailing list, I do so because I want emails from the blogger that I wouldn’t get otherwise – newsletters, announcements, discounts, etc. It’s okay to have an email RSS option (I recommend it), but make sure subscribers know what they’re getting when they sign up and, if possible, have two options – one for people who want special emails and one for people who want to receive your feed via email as well.

2. I can’t quickly find your sign-up box.

For many bloggers this isn’t a problem – their subscription form is located proudly on their sidebar, near the top of the page. However, occasionally, I find myself searching for a subscription box that doesn’t seem to exist – so I give up and go along my merry way. Later, I often find out the blogger does have a mailing list, but I had to go to a certain page or whatever to find out how to subscribe. The more time a person has to spend clicking around your site, the less likely it is they’ll actually sign up.

3. Your pop up punched me in the face.

I don’t mind pop up ads if they are done correctly. Three seconds after I get to your site is not “correctly.” At that point, I don’t know if I want to sign up or not. Give me a little time to read or watch your content first. Then, if you must, send me that pop up asking me to subscribe.

4. You offer me stuff I don’t want.

Offering free stuff is a great way to get people to sign up for your mailing list – but done incorrectly, it can also send people packing. For example, let’s say that I’m on your blog reading about your recent trip to Europe, and I’m enjoying the content. You sign up form says, “Enter your email address to get a free ebook about European travel.” Am I going to sign up? Nope. I’m not planning a trip to Europe anytime soon. The way you’ve promoted the sign-up form promotes the free gift only, which people may or may not want. Change the wording a bit to say, “Stay connected with emails from us and get a free European travel ebook” or “Sign up to get a free European travel ebook and more surprises straight to your inbox” and I’m much more likely to enter my email address. That way, you’re still hooking people who want the freebie, but you’re also making it clear that there are other benefits as well.

5. Your content just isn’t that compelling.

Of course, the number one reason I won’t sign up for your mailing list is that your blog’s content isn’t that great in the first place. Remember, every post you write could be the first post someone reads on your blog. Don’t be afraid to go back and delete content that isn’t up to par. We all have bad days, and not everything you do is going to be amazing, but if you write a real stinker, consider getting rid of it so people who come to your blog for the first time get the best impression possible. And of course, always work to improve your content. Don’t get complacent and think that what you’re putting out is good enough. We can all learn to be better!

Your turn – why don’t you sign up for mailing lists? Or why do you sign up on other sites?

Photo credit:  SXC

TBEX at NMX 2013: Light Bulb Moments


Have you ever had the pleasure of watching a light bulb go off over someone’s head?

When we’re in the bubble of a TBEX conference, everyone buzzing about the new people they’ve met or the food at the parties or how much they’ve learned, it’s hard to imagine that there are travel bloggers out there who are entirely unaware of TBEX’s existence. But y’know what? We’re still a very small fish, and when Mary Jo and I recently worked at the New Media Expo (NMX) conference in Las Vegas, a phrase we heard repeatedly was, “I had no idea there was a whole conference just for travel blogging!”

As we would fill them in on TBEX, it was great fun to watch that proverbial light bulb go off again and again.

Champagne in a Caesars suite - photo by Jessica Spiegel

Champagne in a Caesars suite – photo by Jessica Spiegel

We had some help reinforcing that light bulb, too. When the fine folks at Caesars Entertainment wanted to organize a small group of luxury travel bloggers for a tour of the new Octavius Tower at Caesars Palace, followed by a delicious dinner at Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill, we were able to find just the right people for their needs (and we had a great time on the tour, which was conducted by a white-gloved butler named – appropriately – Cesar). The following day, the Caesars folks offered some fantastic prizes to bloggers who attended our TBEX meet up at the Rio and answered our Twitter questions – including dinner at another Gordon Ramsay restaurant and a stay at Caesars Palace.

Of course, you don’t have to take our word for it. Here’s a round-up of some of the posts from those events:

Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill - photo by Jessica Spiegel

Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill – photos by Jessica Spiegel

All in all, we made some great new travel bloggy friends at NMX, got to spend more quality time with some TBEXers we never seem to see often enough, and – it must be said – got a little bit excited looking around at the big NMX crowds, thinking of how big TBEX could be. We’re dreaming of grandeur, you guys, and we’d love for you to join us.

We’re full steam ahead planning for this year’s TBEX conferences in Toronto and Dublin, and we hope to see some of our new travel bloggy friends in attendance!

Have you ever had a light bulb moment telling another travel blogger about TBEX?

A Travel Blogger’s Guide to ITB Berlin


ITB Berlin – the biggest tourism trade fair in the world – is coming up in March, and with it come many questions. This guest post by Yvonne Zagermann is a beginner’s guide for all of you travel bloggers who never been to ITB and/or Berlin.

Dancers at ITB Berlin - photo by Yvonne Zagermann, used with permission

Dancers at ITB Berlin – photo by Yvonne Zagermann, used with permission

What is ITB, and why should travel bloggers care?

  • ITB is the world’s biggest tourism trade fair. It’s not a conference, it’s a B2B platform for trade visitors. Destinations, tour operators, booking systems, carriers, hotels, and all other suppliers in the worldwide tourism industry are going to be there. Their main goal is to do business with their business partners – and this could also be you. There’s no other opportunity to meet and network with so many people from the tourism industry than ITB in Berlin.
  • 2013 is only the second year travel bloggers can register for ITB. While in 2011 all I got when mentioning my travel blog was a weary smile, last year’s ITB started the “honeymoon phase” between the tourism industry and travel bloggers.
  • This year even more travel bloggers are registered, and with events like the ITB speed-dating sponsored by TBEX, the possibilities for travel bloggers to connect with industry people are even better than in the years before.
  • Here’s a listing of all ITB events recommended for travel bloggers.

When is ITB?

  • ITB is happening from March 6th until March 10th.
  • For you as a travel blogger, the first three days (March 6th – 8th) are the most important ones, as these are the ones during which business is made. On the weekend, ITB is open for everyone, which means not only crowded halls but also that many PR and marketing managers won’t be there anymore.
  • The best thing would be to plan your trip from March 5th until March 10th to get the most out of ITB and Berlin.
  • ITB starts on the evening of March 5th with the Travel Massive event at ITB Berlin.

Where should I stay during ITB – and how do I get there?

  • As ITB is held at the Messe Berlin trade show grounds, it would be best to stay close to the “Ringbahn,” two S-Bahn lines (S41 and S42) circling Berlin (each in one direction), or somewhere in the Western part of Berlin like Schöneberg, Wilmersdorf and Charlottenburg, best would be close to S-Bahn lines S7, S75 or S5 and U-Bahn line U2.
  • Many hotels/hostels are already fully booked, as not only travel bloggers from all over the world are attending ITB but also (it seems) nearly everyone else from the tourism industry. If you can’t find an hotel room, check on whether apartments are available through Housetrip, Airbnb, or similar websites. To save money, you can also share an apartment with other travel bloggers attending the show.
  • To find the best transportation connection from your accommodation to ITB I recommend downloading this app. Some hotels offer a free shuttle service, which may impact your accommodation choices.
  • Please note: ITB is huge. So make sure you know in which hall you need to be in order to choose the right entrance and arrival station. You’ll find more transportation information here, and you can download a hall plan for ITB. And yes, there’s also an app for that.
Currywurst at the airberlin booth - photo by Yvonne Zagermann, used with permission

Currywurst at the airberlin booth – photo by Yvonne Zagermann, used with permission

Where should I eat at ITB?

  • Food at ITB is very expensive and normally you will be very busy running around from one meeting to the other so you won’t have time to leave ITB to go for lunch somewhere else. Here’s a tip: Eat as much as you can for breakfast, bring a Bretzel or some other snacks, or plan an extra budget for lunch at ITB. Some exhibitors also offer some samples for free – for example, you can get really good (free!) coffee at the Columbia stand, or ice cream during lunch time at the Hertz stand.
  • For dinner, it’s best to find a nice restaurant close to where you’re staying, or crash one of the many ITB after-show parties. There will be also many press breakfasts. Most of these events, however, are invitation only. Ask your PR contacts if their clients are planning any such events and if they are interested in having bloggers attend. This is also a good opportunity to talk to possible business partners, if they may not have time for a separate meeting.

How should I prepare for ITB?

Papua New Guinea man at ITB Berlin - photo by Yvonne Zagermann, used with permission

Papua New Guinea man at ITB Berlin – photo by Yvonne Zagermann, used with permission

What else is there to see and do in Berlin?

If this is your first time in Berlin, better plan some extra days before or after ITB as you won’t have time to explore this gorgeous city during the trade show. The best option would be to stay over the weekend after ITB, as some more bloggers will be still in town, you’re done with business talk, and you can enjoy exploring Berlin. Here are some visitor’s tips for newcomers to Berlin:

And if you want to find the perfect place to celebrate your new business partnership, there’s always the ClubMatcher!

Author bio: Yvonne Zagermann is the publisher of JustTravelous, an award winning travel blog in German and English. She’s also a member of iAmbassador and co-founder of Reiseblogger Kollektiv, a travel bloggers network for the German tourism market. She’s based in Berlin.

Now Accepting Bids to Host TBEX North America 2014


One of the things I frequently hear is, “TBEX should come to <fill in the blank city>” or “< great location X> would be a wonderful place to have a TBEX” or “We’d love to have TBEX come to our city.”

Well, here is your chance. We are now accepting bids to host our 2014 TBEX North America event in your city. You can call 858.309.4747 ext. 111 or contact Carrie Hebert by email for more details and request our RFP (request for proposal) through March 1st, 2013. The winning bidder will be announced during our closing Keynote at this year’s show in Toronto, giving you a full year to promote your destination through the TBEX Community.

Hosting TBEX 2014 is an opportunity to focus the largest social media marketing campaign and press trip in the world on your destination. The event is attended by hundreds of travel writers, generating hundreds  of millions of online impressions via blogs, podcasts, social media networks including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr, YouTube, Google+ and more. TBEX also generates significant traditional media coverage.

Hosting TBEX also presents a unique opportunity to create a gigantic library of digital content for your destination. Our attendees generate an enormous amount of content during our events.


TBEX attendees will generate thousands of photographs, hundreds of videos and hundreds of online stories and reviews featuring your destination.  Here is a short video showing one of the dozens of organized pre and post blog trips organized by the Costa Brava Tourist board during our TBEX Europe event in Girona Spain in September 2012.

Our 2012 event in Keystone, Colorado, was attended by just over 700 blogger and industry attendees. However more than 2,000 influencers wrote about TBEX Keystone, meaning the reach of the event goes well beyond the attendees at the show. These influencers reached 11.2 million people via Twitter, generating 212 million impressions in just two days! Rich Grant, Director of Communications for VISIT DENVER said, “TBEX is the Woodstock of the travel industry. Everyone in the travel industry is either here or wishing they were.” Here are a few more folks talking about TBEX 12.

Our 2012 Europe event in Girona, Spain, was attended by more than 400 blogger and industry attendees who reached 6.3 million people via Twitter, generating 47.5 million impressions. Jaume Marin, Marketing Director for Costa Brava Board of Tourism said, “TBEX is the world’s main event for travel bloggers, writers and new media content creators, and for Costa Brava being the host destination for TBEX has been a huge opportunity, incomparable to any other. Celebrating TBEX in our area has allowed us to greet travel bloggers from all around the world, who specialize in all kinds of subjects, which has meant a great chance to meet them and show them the best of what we have to offer. During and after TBEX, we realize how successful the event has been in terms of promotion, as the destination has achieved enormous exposure and coverage all over the globe.”  And other people are talking about TBEX Spain, as well.

No matter who your prime traveler may be, TBEX attendees are sure to reach them. TBEX attendees write about every major travel niche. From luxury to budget travel and everything in between.

TBEX Blogger Niches

Our 2013 event in Toronto will attract more than 1,000 attendees, making it the biggest TBEX event ever. 2014 will be even bigger. If your destination would like to host TBEX North America 2014 contact Carrie Hebert to request an RFP. Bids will be accepted for our North American event until March 1, 2013.

And bloggers, if you know of a destination that would be a fabulous destination for a TBEX event, please pass this information on to them.  Thank you.