Sponsor Post: Expedia Travel Blogger Contest Offers Free Trip & Chance to be a Filmmaker


The Expedia® Viewfinder Film Contest has a few days left! Open to travel bloggers, in partnership with the National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY), one travel blogger will win the chance to bring their blog post to life through film and star in their own travel short video. The winner will travel to one of five pre-selected destinations – each destination an icon of the silver screen –  including Australia, Paris, Morocco, London, and Seattle. The Expedia Viewfinder Film Contest began June 5 and the entry period will close on June 30, 2013.

Seattle view of space needle

Since Expedia launched its “Find Yours” campaign last year at the TBEX blogger conference in Keystone, Colorado, the “Find Yours” stories have illustrated the personal relevance and emotion of travel. The footage is real, unique and told from the viewpoint of individual travelers. This contest challenges travel bloggers to “find their ____” (fill in the blank), post about which of the five destinations would allow them to best do so, and then, for one winner, to bring that experience to film.

To enter the contest:

Step 1: Travel bloggers must write a blog post and publish on their own blog about how they would “find theirs” in one of the locations above if they were chosen as the star of a 2-3 minute film. The judging criteria include incorporation of the contest elements (chosen destination and Find Yours), creativity and the focus or theme of the entry (for example: culture, adventure, food/wine, family-friendly travel, budget-friendly travel, luxury travel, etc.).

Step 2: Bloggers then share their blog post URL on the Expedia Viewfinder  blog, in the comments section.

Step 3: After the entry period closes, a panel of judges will evaluate the entries based upon the above criteria before selecting and announcing the winner in July.

One blogger, along with a NFFTY representative and an assigned NFFTY filmmaker, will win an all-expense paid trip to the winning destination to create a “Find Yours” video.  Official terms & conditions.

We encourage you to enter and look forward to seeing you at TBEX Dublin in October!

Photo credit:  Courtesy of Mary Jo Manzanares

TBEX Toronto: Live Recording of This Week in Travel Podcast


Leif Pettersen distributing drinks to the This Week in Travel crew at TBEX Toronto

Leif Pettersen distributing drinks to the This Week in Travel crew at TBEX Toronto. (photo by Scott Lillico from the TBEX Toronto Flickr pool)

The crew from the This Week in Travel podcast has recorded live shows at past TBEX conferences, and they took the stage again in Toronto during the closing general session. This time, hosts Gary Arndt, Chris Christensen, and Jen Leo had the never-understated Spud Hilton as their guest, and they also got help from TBEX speaker Leif Pettersen, who made sure the podcasters all had something cold to drink before they dug into the topics at hand.

You can check out a recording of the TBEX Toronto episode of This Week in Travel below.

Travel Blog Exchange: Call for Speakers TBEX Europe in Dublin


Dublin City View TBEX Europe

We’re still reeling from the experiences at TBEX 13 in Toronto, still amazed at the A-game our speakers brought to the stage, and now it’s time to knuckle down and make sure that we deliver a consistent quality educational program for TBEX Europe in Dublin.

First, a little background about the speaking lineup of our Toronto event:

  • We had 54 speakers for our breakout educational sessions.
  • 42% of our speakers were women.
  • We had 46 speakers from North America (10 of those from Canada),  7 from Europe, and one from Asia.
  • Approximately 58% of our speakers had not spoken at TBEX before.

I think our Toronto event raised the bar for excellence in speakers and sessions, and I know that Dublin will do the same.

So how do you get a speaker spot on the TBEX Europe speaker program?

The very first thing you should do – and I mean the VERY FIRST THING YOU SHOULD DO – is read this post about what we are looking for in speakers at TBEX. I’ll reiterate a few of the tips here, the ones that seemed the biggest challenge to potential speakers:

Write a solid speaker submission form. This will take some thought and time, but we won’t know what your session promises to deliver to attendees if you dash something off in a hurry. Refine your topic to an appropriate length for the one hour session, allowing time for questions and answers, and make sure your description and takeaways demonstrate what the session would be about. Poorly written (or explained) sessions are probably the top reason that submissions are declined.

Your session should not be self promotional. Talking about your product or how to use it, promoting a new service you’re offering, or talking about your business are not good topics for an ed session. We know that you’ll rely on your experience, which does incorporate all of the above, but attendees want to know “what’s in it for them” – so make sure you can answer that question. And if you have a great product or service that you’re ready to showcase and market to the world, you’re welcome to become a sponsor at TBEX. Just let us know and we’ll connect you with someone on our business development team.

Remain flexible. Selecting and organizing the speakers is an always moving process, and one that is not as easy as I used to think it was. It is not simply a matter of saying yes or no, it’s a constantly evolving process of making sure that we have a good variety of topics, a mix of returning and new speakers, and diversity of gender, nationality, and more. If your session is a take it or leave it one regarding topic, speaking partners, or timing, we’ll probably have to decline. We have lots of moving parts to the program, so remaining flexible and easy to work with helps us say yes.

Are you part of the TBEX community or are you only interested in being there to be on stage. Our community is wise to those who are genuinely a part of the travel and travel blogger community; they are equally wise to those who merely want to be there solely for personal aggrandizement or gain. Our attendees recognize the difference and tell us in their evaluations and comments, so ask yourself why you want to be at TBEX Dublin. Would you want to be there if you weren’t a speaker?

Our sessions fall into four categories:  Content, Community, Commerce, and TBEX Business (for the travel industry).

OK, I’ve read the link, what do I do now?

Remember that we want you to be successful and for attendees to love your session. With the above guidelines in mind, if you have questions about the process or what we’re looking for, just send me an email. I’m happy to answer your questions or jump on Skype to chat about it.

The submission process opens today and will close on July 5th, 2013 at midnight, Pacific Time. Go to the speaker submission form for TBEX Dublin and send us your very best idea.

We will attempt to put the program together and notify speakers by August 5th, one month after closing. Again, we try very hard to meet those deadlines, and if everything falls into place precisely, we can do it. We appreciate your patience if it takes a little bit longer.

Okay now, re-read that link above, put your thinking cap on, and send us your very best idea for an educational breakout session at TBEX Dublin.



TBEX Sponsor Post: When Great Storytellers Came to Visit



TBEX, you sure are a prolific lot. You generated more than 31,000 tweets and 6,000 photos on Instagram in a 96-hour period. And counting. Trying to work through it is like taking a sip from Niagara Falls.

All that social activity is about sharing experiences and inviting people who may be in the same room or continents away to join you for the ride. It’s the very essence of travel journalism and collectively the TBEX community is leading the way, harnessing new technology to bring travel to life in ways we never before imagined.

It is clear how committed the community is to individual and collective improvement. Every session was packed to the doors (and sometimes beyond) and every one was followed by long lines to ask more questions of the speakers. I’ve had a front-row seat over the past year as the Blogworld team assembled the program and built the conference. I saw from day one how they viewed the content, structure and experience from the delegates’ eyes and created a program to inspire and educate.

In their first full cycle as TBEX planners, the Blogworld team raised the bar significantly and there is no turning back. TBEX is a highly professional, industry-unifying event.

I hope that we in Toronto also raised the bar for host destinations. We spent a year working on this, along with our partners Ontario and Canada, and fed off the energy of thousands of local tourism businesses and local travel bloggers who never stop sharing their Toronto with the world.

In the end, we are overwhelmed by the words and photos shared about Toronto. Of course we hope they won’t be the last words you share about Toronto. Hopefully your experience here has inspired you to return, even more curious, and to explore deeper and wider across Toronto and beyond into Ontario and Canada.

To Blogworld, we say thanks for this opportunity. To our friends in Dublin, we pass the torch with pride. And to the entire TBEX community, we say thanks for visiting, thanks for your infectious energy, and thanks for sharing your Toronto experiences with millions of people. Most of you have returned home or embarked on your next adventure. Let’s all stay connected and make a date to get together again soon.

Safe and inspiring travels all,

Andrew Weir is Vice President, Communications of Tourism Toronto. Follow him at @ABWeir.

Travel Blog Exchange: Travel Bloggers Bid Farewell to Toronto


toronto skyline nearing dusk

There will be plenty of time for telling stories, discussing and analyzing TBEX 13 in Toronto. We’ll have speaker slides up later this week, we’ll have surveys coming out, and we’ll be opening speaker submissions for Dublin.

But for now, the TBEX team is spending a little time enjoy Toronto, traveling home, and resting up after this amazing event. So, we’re going to let you do the talking for us.

We’ll be adding a list of all the posts written about the event to this post. It’ll take us a couple of days to get a good start, so if you’ve written one, please email the link to Jessica or myself and we’ll make sure it’s added – and don’t worry – we’ll be updating in often to include your post.

Thanks to everyone for making this such a great event! We look forward to seeing you in Dublin.

Till then, you can read about TBEX Toronto in the following posts:

  1. TBEX travel blogger conference brings in 1,000 journalists to help promote Tourism – Toronto Star
  2. Travel bloggers from around the globe network at TBEX in Toronto – MetroNews Canada
  3. Thoughts on TBEX 13 in Toronto, Canada – Stop Having a Boring Life
  4. What I learned at TBEX Toronto 2013: The benefits to brands and destinations – Canadian and World Tourism
  5. Invasion of the travel bloggers:  TBEX takes over Toronto – Toronto Star
  6. Bloggers Take on TBEX Toronto – Butterfly Diary
  7. TBEX Toronto Highlights (and one low light) – Breathe Dream Go
  8. Our Keynote Presentation at TBEX Toronto – The Planet D
  9. TBEX 2013 in Review – Nerds Eye View
  10. TBEX in 10 Comments (in French, translation available) – Bush Taxi
  11. TBEX Opening Night Party Flaunts Awesome Food – Food Spun
  12. Lovely Glass Architecture of Downtown Toronto – Around the World L
  13. Travel Bloggers Arrive in Toronto for TBEX Conference – Dobbernation Loves
  14. Experencia do Blog Mikix no TBEX, em Toronto  (in Portuguese) – RBBV
  15. The Distillery Historic District, Toronto, Canada – Points and Travel
  16. 10 Tips for Working with Travel Bloggers and Destinations (in French) – Frederic Gonzalo
  17. Travel and public relations bloggers even fight (in French) – Frederic Gonzalo
  18. 5 Lessons learned from TBEX (in French) – Tourism Express
  19. Travel Bloggers Trample Toronto – Rochester Media
  20. Why TBEX Matters to Me – Travel Off the Cuff
  21. Michael Collins on the Mooney Show (radio interview)
  22. Hotel Review:  Four Seasons Toronto – Play Goes Strong
  23. Why My TBEX Days May be Over – Katie Aune
  24. To Toronto with Love – Not Without My Passport
  25. A Round up of Pros and Cons post-TBEX 2013 in Toronto, Canada – Monica Suma
  26. No Misbehavin:  5 Things You’ll Only Find at TBEX – Go Girl
  27. The Business of Travel Blogging:  Reflections on TBEX – The Traveluster
  28. That a Wrap:  TBEX Toronto – A Girl Travels
  29. TBEX 2013 Toronto:  Why We are More than Just Travel Bloggers – Travellriter
  30. Social Media & Travel Marketing:  There are No Rules – Travel Hot News
  31. It’s Lady Gaga. . . It’s Katy Perry. . . It’s a Travel Blogger – Toronto Standards
  32. The Adventures of FlatDeej in Toronto – The World of DeeJ
  33. Notes, Slides and Favorite Photos from TBEX Toronto 2013 – Geotravelers Niche
  34. 3 Reasons for a Newbie to Attend TBEX – Ready Pack Go
  35. TBEX One Revelation:  The Rise of a New Generation in Travel Blog (in Chinese) – China Travel Daily
  36. TBEX:  Caught in a Hashtag Romance Part 1 – Discovering Your Truth
  37. TBEX Toronto Highlights – Joy Adventure
  38. TBEX Toronto: A Neophyte’s Review – Milk Blitz Street Bomb
  39. TBEX 2013:  A Much Needed Bit of Inspiration – See Ash Run
  40. TBEX Reflections and Confessions – The World Wanderer
  41. Random Musings on TBEX Toronto by a Travel Conference Virgin – Treksplorer
  42. Toronto Photos on Vine and Instagram – Getaway Mavens
  43. Stratford, Ontario:  Beliebe it or Not – Getaway Mavens
  44. Intercontinental Hotel Toronto Review – Debbie Travels
  45. A Virgin’s Very First Time – Nomadic Texan
  46. TBEX – Frisco Kids
  47. My Thoughts on the TBEX 2013 blogging conference – Sheila’s Guide to the Good Stuff
  48. TBEX is Over Now What – World Wide Nate
  49. 10 TBEX Takeaways – On My Feet or in My Mind
  50. TBEX:  Lessons for the Hobby Blogger – Green Tea
  51. Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada – Points and Travel
  52. Niagara Falls Photos:  Wet and Wild Close Ups – Albany Kid
  53. TBEX Toronto:  I Arrived with No Pens and Went Home with Four – Wandering Artist on Wanderlust and Lipstick
  54. Trying to Find My Direction Through TBEX – Where’s Pablo
  55. Dare to Do Something a Little Different – Dare to Live
  56. Hiking Rouge Park on a sweltering day at TBEX Toronto – Loyalty Traveler
  57. Connecting at #TBEX Toronto – The Gate
  58. #TBEX: Lessons Learned Working With Bloggers and DMOs plus Strategies for Succeeding in Digital Storytelling – Think! Social Media
  59. Why I Had A Great Time At #TBEX – Belize Adventure
  60. Hanging With 1,300 Bloggers in Toronto – Katrina Communications
  61. A Canadian Weekend at TBEX – Cultural Learnings
  62. My CN Tower Adventure – Discovering Your Truth
  63. TBEX:  Caught in a Romance Part 2 – Discovering Your Truth
  64. TBEX in Toronto – Crazy Sexy Fun Traveler
  65. Social Media Tools for Travel Bloggers Highlighted at TBEX – Technorati
  66. What I Learned from TBEX – Graham Rowlands
  67. Where do I belong? Post TBEX Confessions of a Struggling Travel Blogger – Stars on the Ceiling
  68. Pronto! To Toronto – Global Adventuress
  69. What a Girl Needs? The Hyatt Knows – Global Adventuress
  70. Toronto Artists Take Over Graffiti Alley – Global Adventuress
  71. Let Air Canada Entertain You – Global Adventuress
  72. How to Take Better Travel Photos – Huffington Post
  73. My First TBEX Experience – The Adventures of ElATLBoy
  74. Voluntourism at TBEX – True Travellers Society
  75. The REAL value of TBEX, for me – Candice Does the World
  76. TBEX. Learn, network, party, just go – Borderless Travels
  77. Adventures with Explorer’s Edge – Travel Destination Bucket List
  78. Geeking Out at the CN Tower – Engineer on the Road
  79. Travel Blogging Takeaways TBEX – Thrifty Momma’s Tips
  80. How to write a travel blogs that grabs more readers than just your mom – The Globe and Mail
  81. Five fun things to do in Toronto, ON – Boldly Go Solo
  82. 5 Things I Learned from TBEX – Heartless Girl Blog
  83. TBEX One Week Later:  Positive Outcomes – Katka Travels
  84. Toronto and TBEX 2013 – Cocopia
  85. Experiencing TBEX 2013 in Toronto – Promo Simple
  86. Thoughts on TBEX 2013 – Garaphernalia 6.0
  87. Toronto – A Photo Essay – Jersey Kids
  88. Toronto Distillery District Segway Food Tour – Jersey Kids
  89. TBEX Afterthoughts – The Lazy Travelers
  90. TBEX 2013 in Toronto (video) – Rebecca Sloan
  91. Travel Vloggers in Toronto for TBEX – Hopscotch the Globe
  92. TBEX 2013 & How I Fell in Love with Toronto All Over Again – Babble
  93. A Travel Blog or a Business – Travel Writing 2.0
  94. TBEX Toronto:  Triumphs and Challenges – The Suitcase Scholar
  95. My First TBEX – Nomadic Meg
  96. Travel Vloggers Impersonating Travel Vloggers at Tbex (video ) – Kristen Sarah
  97. Letter to my readers:  Some people at TBEX taught me about writing. The good kind. – The Baby Aspirin Years
  98. Why the disappearing act, what we’ve been up to – Traveling Canucks
  99. How Much for a Sponsored Tweet, Pin or Post – Business 2 Community
  100. Does building relationships with bloggers really matter? Think!s Robyn Takes on TBEX – Think! Social Media Blog
  101. Making the Most of Toronto – Budget Nomad
  102. First Impressions of Toronto:  Have I Been Here Before – Budget Nomad
  103. 7 Lessons Learned from TBEX. So Far – Ah Trini Travelogue
  104. TBEX 13: What Worked and What Didn’t – Ah Trini Travelogue
  105. What I learned at TBEX the 2013 edition – Give us the Strength
  106. What I Learned at TBEX – SATW
  107. Networking:  My Word for TBEX 2013 Toronto – Travel Blogger Blueprint
  108. My Return to TBEX – Culture Mom
  109. Recovering from our First TBEX – GQ Trippin
  110. Reflections on TBEX and the Lone Life of a Travelblogger – Third Eye Mom
  111. Three Days in Toronto, Canada – My Trip Details
  112. Pre-TBEX Toronto Photo Walk – Will Write 4 Travel
  113. Toronto:  The Food and the Parties – Will Write 4 Travel
  114. Flashpacking and Fly Fishing in Sault Ste. Marie – Flashpacker HQ
  115. Thoughts on my First TBEX – Travel Armadillo
  116. The Influencer Revolution:  How Media Trend are Changing the Way You do Business Online – Adventure Travel News
  117. TBEX travel bloggers experience Treetop Eco-Adventure Park – Digital Journal
  118. Volunteerism at TBEX – Travel Blog Exchange – True Travellers Society
  119. Thoughts from a TBEX first-timer – The Working Mom’s Travels
  120. Toronto liquor store hours make for a beer buying adventure – Traveling Ted
  121. TBEX Travel Blogger Conference Toronto Recap + Free Stuff – Fresh Traveler
  122. I Want to Have Another Affair With My Husband — or 12 Things I Learned at #TBEX – To and Frowe
  123. Getting Rid of Tan Lines in Toronto – Ms Traveling Pants
  124. Toronto and Ontario With Love – Ms Traveling Pants
  125. TBEX Toronto Highlights > The future is now – JoyAdventure
  126. 6 Lessons From My First TBEX – The Shooting Star
  127. Lessons I Learned at a Travel Blogging Conference That Don’t Really Have Anything to Do with Traveling or Blogging – Unbrave Girl
  128. Learning to Ride an ATV in Mattawa, Ontario – SeeYouSoon
  129. A Sci-Fi Fan’s Tour of Toronto – Solo Friendly
  130. An Architectural Tour of Toronto – Travel Past 50
  131. Tasting Menu at Viamede in the Kawarthas, Ontario – Travel Past 50
  132. Thoughts on TBEX Toronto – This Battered Suitcase
  133. TBEX Photo Walk in  Toronto – The Travel Gal
  134. My Growing Love of Bike Tours – A Dangerous Business
  135. TBU Rottedam and TBEX Toronto:  You’re All Individuals – Fevered Mutterings
  136. The Tentative TBEX Wrap-Up Post – Waegook Tom
  137. Learning How to Fly Fish in the St. Mary’s Rapids – Sault Sainte Marie – Real Man Travels
  138. TBEX ’13: The Noble Potential of Travel – Verge Magazine
  139. The Blogtastic TBEX’13 Toronto – Alex in Wanderland
  140. Highlights from TBEX 2013 – travel42
  141. Part 1: My first travel blogging conference – TBEX Toronto – Kansas Women Bloggers
  142. World’s Biggest Bookstore and World’s Longest Street, Toronto, Ontario – Go Big or Go Home
  143. #TBEX 2013 Highlights and Lowlights + The Rest of Toronto – Will Write 4 Travel
  144. Visiting The CN Tower With Kids – Child Mode
  145. A Tour of Toronto’s Graffiti Alley – Amateur Traveler
  146. You…

TBEX Sponsor Post: Something to Write Home About

Journey to Tbex: #ExploreCanada Blogger Train
Twenty-eight of the world’s best travel bloggers, writers and photographers have plenty to post, shoot and tweet home about thanks to an epic familiarization trip led by the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC). While familiarization trips are common in the travel industry, the CTC wanted to try something out-of-the-ordinary by inviting bloggers to Explore Canada in a way they won’t soon forget en route to TBEX 13 in Toronto.

So what exactly does epic look like? Think gastronomy, cityscapes, a never-ending skyline, arts & architecture, among plenty of other discoveries, and connect them by a train trip across the country.

The trip, made possible thanks to a partnership with VIA Rail, consisted of groups of bloggers starting at three different points within the country and converging in Toronto for the conference. Groups embarked by rail from Vancouver, Halifax and PEI + Newfoundland, all headed to TBEX in Toronto. Stops along the way included Vancouver, Jasper, Winnipeg, Halifax, Moncton and Montreal, with bloggers spending a few days in each city, exploring the area and soaking in the Canadian culture.

Journey to Tbex: #ExploreCanada Blogger Train

While the city stops offered bloggers a memorable taste of Canadian experiences, VIA Rail gave everyone a chance to breathe, experience the journey in a new way, and of course write and take more photos.

Panorama Magic from Maurice Li on Vimeo.

Lessons learned from on the track

While the experience was a great success, providing bloggers with unique inspiration and perspectives, each memorable journey also comes with some great lessons. Here’s what the CTC has to offer in the way of planning an epic journey:

While media trips can be memorable for many different reasons, adding VIA Rail to the TBEX Toronto journey connected the bloggers to the country in a special way. Imagine the results of having a train car as your office while posting a blog. Imagine the characters and stories that could present themselves. Imagine the scenery flash by outside your window. When looking to add a unique touch to a media trip, the CTC considers the potential of how you get where you’re going.

Staying connected was key for the bloggers (naturally). The CTC invested in MiFi cards for the journey, which was a very wise decision. While VIA Rail offers WiFi at stations and throughout certain corridors of the journey, having consistent access for this trip helped our bloggers, photographers, and writers do what they do so well. While the MiFis were a lifeline, the CTC recommends researching different wireless options (as different parts of the country are serviced by different providers).

The saying strength in numbers couldn’t be more true for familiarization trips. While the CTC led the familiarization trip, our partners provided them with experiences and stories they won’t soon forget. From VIA Rail to the provincial, city and destination hosts, their expert advice and hosting skills delivered itineraries and experiences that added to this special journey.

Journey to Tbex: #ExploreCanada Blogger Train


 The journey doesn’t end here

In the spirit of epic train journeys and great experiences, the CTC is offering readers the chance to win 2 roundtrip tickets for two on VIA Rail across Canada, plus a $2,000 travel credit for flights and accommodations prior to the trip (estimated value of $13,000)!

To enter, Re-Tweet the following on Twitter: “I RT’d for a chance to win 2 tix across Canada on @Via_Rail #ExploreCanada! Bit.ly/CanadaTrain #Tbex @ExploreCanada {CAD/US/UK:18+}”

A lucky random lucky winner will then be chosen. Full contest details here.

Photo credit:  Courtesy of Rishad Daroowala, used with permission