Call for Speakers: TBEX North America 2015 in Ft. Lauderdale

convention center

EDITED 3/18/15:  The deadline for speaker submissions has been extended to March 31, 2015, midnight, Pacific Time. I will be traveling through the end of the month, so much schedule means you have extra time to send in your speaker submission.


Today we are opening the Call for Speakers for TBEX North America 2015 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. We’re enticed by the area’s sun and sand, history and culture, luxury and adventure, and we know that you will want to be a part of it.

TBEX North America 2015 will be held October 28-30 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, at the  Greater Ft. Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center, located at 1950 Eisenhower Boulevard, Ft. Lauderdale.

If you are interested in speaking at TBEX North America 2015, we ask that you read this information about what we are looking for before submitting your application. Our goal with this information is to help you understand what we are looking to feature on the program, which will, in turn, help you determine the best topic for your proposal

For planning purposes, and to maximize your TBEX experience, we recommend speakers and attendees allow a few days before and after the conference dates to enjoy the pre- and post- tours and activities, along with FAM/press trips. More information about this additional TBEX programming will be announced as it becomes available; this general timeframe is provided to help you decide if you can commit to the dates and schedule before submitting your speaker application.

If you are interested in speaking at TBEX North America 2015, please read this information in its entirety. Even if you’ve submitted or spoken at past TBEX events, please read it – there are some changes about what we are looking for. This information will help you understand our programming needs and help you submit a successful proposal. Your submission is your chance to make a great first impression, and here are some tips to help you. 

  • Think about your topic with a laser-like focus, narrowing it down to a manageable amount of information.  On the submission form you will need to provide a brief description of your topic that explains what you can teach and share in a 50-minute session (leaving time for questions and answers). You will also need to list specific takeaways that will help attendees create better content, build stronger communities, and/or develop better businesses. We are looking for narrow topics, rather than general.
  • If you’ve not attended a TBEX, or haven’t attended for some time, please talk with someone who has been recently. The level of experience and knowledge of our attendees has grown substantially, and topics that may have been a good fit a couple of years ago may be too basic today.
  • Specify a knowledge level that your session is designed for. We will not be accepting any basic or beginner level sessions. We are looking for intermediate and advanced sessions only. The knowledge base of travel bloggers has grown, and we’ve found that most attendees at TBEX are at an intermediate level.  Intermediate sessions are designed for attendees who have some knowledge of the topic and who are looking to develop further competency in that area. While most sessions will likely be at this level, please make sure that it truly is intermediate, not a basic session with a different label. Advanced sessions are for attendees who have mastered core competencies in a subject matter, who have likely been blogging for some time, and who have created a business that incorporates their blogging activities in some way. Advanced sessions are designed for bloggers who are looking to fine tune their businesses, a chance to discover one little thing that can tweak and improve what they are already successful at. Think of an advanced session as a training camp for Olympic athletes. A priority will be given to submissions for advanced sessions.
  • Please remember that we are a media conference, not a consumer one. We do not schedule consumer travel content.
  • Consider the best format and presentation style for your session. We can accommodate solo presentations, co-presentations, and panels. For presentations with multiple speakers, we prefer to have speakers from different blogs, businesses, etc., as it provides differing opinions and viewpoints on a topic. Keep in mind that we may suggest a co-presenter who we think can help round out the information.
  • The ultimate decision maker of what is a great session is our attendees. When preparing your speaker submission, we encourage you to think like an attendee, asking yourself what an attendee would want to learn about your topic idea. What will they take home from your session that will help them with their craft and/or business?
  • Let us know how you can help promote TBEX North America and your session. We expect speakers to submit a guest blog post for the TBEX blog, and hope you are interested in helping us expand our community of travel bloggers, industry representatives, and attendees.
  • There are a variety of things that we look for in selecting speakers. It’s helps to be an expert on your topic, but that alone isn’t enough. You also need to be great speaker. We recognize that there are a number of different speaking styles, just as there a number of different learning styles, and we don’t want carbon copies on the stage. If you know that you’re a subject matter expert with little speaking experience, partner up with someone who has that speaking experience, even if they might not be as knowledgeable as you on the topic. If you’re an experienced speaker, but new to TBEX, consider partnering with a speaker who might have a better understanding of what we’re looking for.

The ONE thing to  avoid when you’re putting together your speaker submission:

  • Your session should not be a product pitch, nor promotional for your blog, company, or services. Promotion and buzz about your company will naturally flow from delivering a high quality session. Rick always says, and it bears repeating here,  “The stage is for education, not selling.”

Other helpful information about speaking at TBEX:

  • All speaker submissions must be submitted via the submission form.
  • If you have an idea for a educational session and want some help in narrowing it down, crafting a better angle, etc., I am happy to discuss ideas with you before you fill out the form. You can email me here, and we can discuss via email, phone call, or Skype chat.
  • Preference is given to speakers who will attend and participate in the entire TBEX event. If for some reason you are not able to do so, please make a note of this in your submission form.  This is not a deal breaker, but we need to know in advance.
  • We also expect that speakers will not promote or attend any event that conflicts with official TBEX programming.
  • We do not pay a speaker fee.
  • All speakers receive complimentary registration. We do not cover expenses beyond registration for industry attendees.
  • Coverage of blogger expenses (economy class transportation and accommodations) will be discussed upon confirmation of a speaking slot. Should you not need travel expenses covered, please let us know in your submission.

Please be patient as we work through all the speaker submission forms and build our program. I used to think selecting speakers was easy, until I had to do it. Creating a program with diversity of speakers and topics take time, with each layer of speaker announcements building on previous ones, takes time. We continue to reduce the time speaker selection takes with each event as we know that you’re anxious to hear from us. We appreciate your patience.

And the most important thing to know about speaking at TBEX:

It’s fun!

Talk to anyone who has been a speaker and they’ll tell you they had a great time. Speaking at TBEX is a wonderful way to increase your influence, highlight your expertise, and to learn. We want the experience to be just as enjoyable for you as a speaker as it is for all of our attendees.

What are you waiting for? Get all your thoughts together and then head over to the submission page.

Submit your TBEX Speaker Submission Form here. Submission deadline is March 31st, 2015, midnight Pacific Time.

Exciting Details About TBEX at Sea 2015

We’ve already had a couple of registrations for TBEX at Sea, and we’re barely gotten our booking page up!

What we’ve heard so far is that bloggers are looking forward to the indepth and extended conversations that can happen over seven days together. It’s the kind of conversations that are facilitated among peers, rather than in large groups, and should lead to discussions and actions that raise the bar of professionalism among travel bloggers. Plus, you have the opportunity to discover editorial content, and add in the opportunity to make it a little mini-vacation, bringing family and friends along, and we think it makes a value added proposition.

Here are a few thing you should know to make your decision about whether TBEX at Sea is right for you.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line Oasis of the Sea

The Ship

The Oasis of the Seas is the flagship vessel in Royal Caribbean’s fleet. Its innovative design includes seven distinct neighborhoods built for ultimate enjoyment. Hop on a classic carousel on the Boardwalk or watch acrobats splash down in the AquaTheater, the first amphitheater at sea. Kids can let their imaginations soar in the Youth Zone—the largest kids’ area at sea—or at the Pool & Sports Zone, where there are FlowRider surf simulators and zip lines. If you want to unwind, consider a stroll in Central Park—a meandering garden lined with shops and fine restaurants—or melt away stress at the spa. For evening entertainment, catch an impressive show, or head to the Royal Promenade for memorable moments with DreamWorks Experience characters and duty-free shopping.

For more information about the specifications of the Oasis of the Seas,  head here to take a look.

The Itinerary

This 7-night cruise will take you through the Eastern Caribbean, with ports of call in Nassau, Bahamas, Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, and Phillipsburg, St. Maarten.

You can find detailed information about the time in port, along with a preliminary schedule of the TBEX activities here.

Who Will Find Value in Attending TBEX at Sea 

TBEX at Sea is designed for those bloggers and industry representatives who want to spend a week focused on education and networking in a way that can’t be done in a 3-day event.

Educational sessions will be held while we’re at sea, and will be led by skilled presenters who have solid bona fides on their topic, and also have the presentation skills to lead advanced mastermind level classes. This isn’t the time to sit and take notes, although we know you will, it’s a time to become a part of the conversation about the frustrations facing you as you build a sustainable business. It’s an opportunity to be involved in discussions that we hope will raise the bar in professionalism in travel blogging. If you’re a professional, strive to be a professional, or want to learn how to conduct your business in a more professional manner, TBEX at Sea is for you.

Educational topics will range from writing to podcasting, from culinary tourism to business planning. And even though these are high level discussion, it’s still all very casual and relaxed, giving you plenty of time for private networking of your own, or for just enjoying all that the ship has to offer. Educational sessions will be structured as 3-hour workshops, with plenty of time for instruction, discussion, and planning.

If you are a travel blogger who specializes in cruising, family or luxury experiences, TBEX at Sea will provide you with unprecedented access to the backside of the ship. You’ll discover content to share with your readers, establish you as the expert on these important travel and tourism topics.

If you are a travel industry professional in marketing, public relations, social media, or community management, TBEX at Sea gives you the opportunity to network with professional and influential bloggers who may the perfect business partner for your next campaign. There are opportunities to host a special event, ground excursion, special meal events, etc. Contact us for information about creating a custom partnership package that fits your budget and accomplishes your goals.

We know that TBEX at Sea isn’t for everyone. If it doesn’t fit your needs this year, we hope you’ll attend one of our other events:  TBEX Europe in Lloret de Mar, TBEX Asia in Thailand, or TBEX North America in Ft. Lauderdale.

Registration for TBEX at Sea

If you register for TBEX North America 2015 in Ft. Lauderdale, there is no registration fee for TBEX at Sea. You will receive a registration code after registering for TBEX North America to use on your TBEX at Sea booking. A guest sharing your cabin gets the same amenities, including free wi-fi and discounts on excursion packages.   If you are planning on bringing your family, or have questions about staterooms, and other amenities, you can email or telephone :  1-877-990-9223  9:30 AM – 5:00 PM EST, Monday – Friday.

Cruise Pricing

A variety of cabins are available, depending on your preference and budget. Interior staterooms are priced at $967.50 all in (includes base price, taxes, fees, port charges, and gratuities), and the Sky Loft Suite is priced at $4,623.25 all in. And there’s a whole lot of choices in between. There are reduced rates for third and fourth persons in a cabin in some categories. Single supplement is 200%. If you are interest in attending in TBEX at Sea and are looking for a roommate, please let us know. While we can’t match you up, we will attempt to get information for you to connect with other bloggers who might be interested in sharing a cabin.

You can see what the staterooms look like here, and the breakdown of the categories and pricing here. The TBEX rate is the lowest rate available for this sailing that includes all the special TBEX amenities.

What Does that Include

In addition to everything the cruise includes, we will have the following TBEX amenities:

  • Unlimited High-Speed Internet (a $160 per person value)
  • On-Board Credit of $25 per cabin
  • 10% Discount on Shore Excursions (a TBEX Exclusive)
  • Opening and Closing Receptions
  • Welcome gift bag
  • TBEX Educational Programs and Workshops
  • Access to a private Facebook community to network and being discussions prior to boarding
  • And other surprises we’re still working on

Booking Your Cruise

Book now for the best cabin availability for TBEX at Sea. We have an allotted number of cabins in our block and we want you to get the cabin selection that you prefer.

A deposit of $275 per person ($550 per person for the suites) will hold your cabin for TBEX at Sea. Final payment is due before August 1st. Cancellation rules apply, but there is no penalty if cancelled before August 1st.

You must book in via the TBEX booking form to receive all the TBEX benefits and amenities (see above). More information about that here.

If you are a member of Royal Caribbean’s Crown & Anchor Society this sailing is eligible to accrue points. Provide your account number when making your booking and checking in.

Are you Excited?

We’re excited and hope you are too. We know there will be additional questions that come up and we’ll use those to create a FAQ. Ask your questions in the comments and we’ll get you answers as quickly as possible.

Click here to book your cabin for TBEX at Sea



Announcing Workshops for TBEX Europe 2015

gardens in Lloret de Mar Spain

Last year we debuted the concept of small, indepth workshops at TBEX. These were a big hit with attendees as they got to dig into a topic in a way that shorter sessions don’t allow for. Attendees got to learn and practice right in the workshop sessions. The writers wrote and got critiques as did the photographers, and the technology and design session produced better designed and functioning websites.

We are again offering workshops as a fee-based add on to our traditional TBEX programming. The workshop fee is $200, and you must be registered for TBEX Europe 2015 to register for a workshop. Workshop registration in non-refundable; transfers are permitted.

All workshops will be held at our conference venue, Evenia Resort, on April 29-30th. Session times will run from 10 am -4 pm. The workshop instructor will be in touch with all participants regarding specific needs, to answer questions, and to help attendees best prepare and maximize their participation in the workshops.

Registration for the following indepth workshops is now available.

Writing Workshop

David Farley will be reprising his Writing Workshop that was offered in Athens. This sold out session drew rave reviews from participants, inspiring them to do continued work on their craft.

Workshop Description: From itinerant traveler to writer about our travels, one’s mindset shifts from casual observer to active participant. This two-day writing class workshop in Lloret de Mar will focus on what it takes to be a travel writer (or blogger or best-selling superstar author)—from pre-trip research and spotting a story while on the road to writing the perfect lead and making the pitch to editors. We’ll discuss story ideas and the elements of good and not-so-good travel writing; debunk some myths of travel writing; create structure for your story; critique each others’ work; and turn recollections into a marketable travel piece. Lectures will be followed by in-class writing exercises. And there will also be an opportunity to workshop a piece of your own writing (that you’ll submit to the instructor and peers prior to the first class meeting). Do your research on Costa Brava and Spain; we’ll be brainstorming story ideas so that you just might start working on a story about Spain while you’re there.

About David Farley:  David Farley is the author of the award-winning travel memoir/narrative history, “An Irreverent Curiosity: In Search of the Church’s Strangest Relic in Italy’s Oddest Town” (Penguin, 2010), which was recently made into a documentary by National Geographic. He’s a Contributing Writer at AFAR magazine and also regularly contributes to the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Bon Appetit, and National Geographic Traveler, among other publications. He teaches travel writing at New York University and Columbia University.

This workshop is limited to 12 participants.

Technology & Design Workshop

In Athens, Mitch Canter provided one-to-one instruction to help participant’s learn how to create blogs and websites that incorporated best practices and solid technology. They walked away not only with knowledge, but with changes actually made. Mitch has incorporated some changes into his workshop, based on feedback from participants, to make it even more practical.

Workshop description:  Blogging has changed the way that we publish content.  But, good writing is only half the battle; it’s important to have a blog that looks nice, functions properly, and that you feel comfortable working with in order to get the most out of your content. What if you could take two days and truly master the nuts and bolts of your platform?

Veteran Web Designer and Developer Mitch Canter draws on nearly 10 years of experience, and can break down the complex parts of running a website down to easy to understand steps.  From the basics of the web such as HTML and CSS to an in-depth overview of WordPress, Mitch can empower even the newest blogger make their website amazing.

About Mitch Canter:  Mitch Canter is a WordPress Developer and marketing strategist from Franklin, TN. He strives to push technology and online media to new levels to help businesses, non-profits, and industry leaders tell their story online.

This workshop is limited to 6 participants.

Branding Workshop

The branding breakout session in Athens connected with many attendees who are struggling to find their voice in the travel blogging world or who, as their focus has changed, are considering a re-brand of themselves and their blog. This workshop will dig deeper into the hows and whys, and help you leave with concrete ways to improve your brand strategy.

Workshop description:  This workshop is designed for intermediate travel bloggers, with a strong business focus, or for those looking on a rebrand or a launch of a new brand, as well as for small businesss who are looking to solidify their brand in the marketplace. The workshop will take a mastermind approach, combining a tangible step-by-step outline with detailed analysis and feedbck.

Topics covered will include everything from brand name, logo, mission statement and tagline, to content, social media strategy, PR outreach, freelance work and monetization strategies. Participants will get help honing and refining their branding message, along with tips on how to use that message in every aspect of their business.

About Bret Love and Mary Gabbett:  This husband and wife team combine years of experience in journalism and industrial psychology into their passion for eco-tourism. The founders of Green Global Travel, and creative services agency Green Travel Media, they have created one of the leading brands in their field.

This workshop is limited to 12 participants.

Go here to sign up for a TBEX Workshop



What We’re Reading This Week

James Bond Island, Phuket, Thailand

James Bond Island, Phuket, Thailand

Do you have something you think we’d be interested in knowing about? Add #TBEX to your tweets or Facebook posts and we’ll take a look. We’ll share the best of what we find each week here on the blog.

Here’s what we’re reading this week:

About Content

About Commerce

About Community

About the Travel & Tourism Industry

About Travel

Michael Collins to Keynote at TBEX Europe 2015

michael_collins_travelmedia.ie_headshot_for_tbexWe are very pleased to announce that Michael Collins will be a keynote speaker at TBEX Europe 2015 in Lloret de Mar.

Michael packed his breakout room in Dublin, and then again in Athens. Both times he received rave reviews.  We are excited to have him presenting on a larger stage to the entire TBEX audience. His lively and informative style has made him popular with bloggers and industry attendees alike, and we know you’ll love his take on The Future of Travel Media and Travel PR.

Michael loves to travel. That’s why he works in the travel industry. It’s as simple as that.

He started out in the travel industry as a travel publisher with Backpacker, Abroad, and Irish Business Traveller magazines.

In 2006 he founded, a specialist travel PR and trade representation company, working with airlines, tour operators, travel agents, hoteliers and tourist boards. His companies assists the industry with all their travel media needs, from media buying, social media, and PR, to SEO and strategy.

Make sure you’re  in the audience to hear Michael by registering now.

Discount Train Travel Available for TBEX Europe 2015

If you’re traveling to TBEX Europe 2015 in Lloret de Mar by train, this discount may be a good savings for you.

Renfe, the National train company of Spain, is offering TBEX attendees a 35% discount on all national train tickets. The discount is valid from travel between April 22nd and May 10th, so you can use it for extending your stay in Spain.

The voucher is below, with an English translation. You can get your ticket online using the discount code found on the voucher, or print out and show your voucher at the station when you purchase your ticket.







What We’re Reading This Week

The Highline elevated Park is one of many reasons people choose to visit New York City

Do you have something you think we’d be interested in knowing about? Add #TBEX to your tweets or Facebook posts and we’ll take a look. We’ll share the best of what we find each week here on the blog.

Here’s what we’re reading this week:

About Content

About Commerce

 About Community

About the Travel & Tourism Industry

About Travel

Announcing TBEX North America 2015 & TBEX at Sea

convention center

Today we enthusiastically announce the destination for TBEX North America 2015, along with a new, companion TBEX event.

TBEX North America 2015 will be held in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, on October 28-30th, 2015. The venue will be the Greater Ft. Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center, located at 1950 Eisenhower Boulevard, Ft. Lauderdale.

Embraced by the Atlantic Ocean, New River and a myriad of scenic inland waterways, Fort Lauderdale truly lives up to its designation as the “Venice of America.” Blessed with over 3,000 hours of sunshine each year and pleasant year-round ocean breezes, world-famous Fort Lauderdale Beach offers premier opportunities for recreation, relaxation and enjoyment. The picturesque Riverwalk serves as the cornerstone of the City’s arts, science, cultural and historic district which features the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, Museum of Discovery and Science, Museum of Art and Old Fort Lauderdale Village and Museum. Las Olas Boulevard has gained international acclaim as Fort Lauderdale’s centerpiece of fashion, fine dining and entertainment.

paddle boarding fort lauderdale

Registration for TBEX North America 2015 in Ft. Lauderdale is now open, with super early bird rates of $127 for bloggers and $397 for industry representatives. The call for speakers will open next week.

Click here to go the TBEX North America 2015 registration page

Immediately following TBEX North America 2015 will be a new event, TBEX at Sea, October 31-November 7, 2015. Our venue for this niche event will be onboard Royal Caribbean’s beautiful Oasis of the Sea.

Oasis of the Sea is one Royal Caribbean’s most innovative and imaginative ships, featuring the first-ever neighborhood concept where everyone can find their unique experiences in one of seven distinct onboard districts, including: Central Park – a public space combining nature and nautical; Boardwalk – dedicated to family, fun and featuring the new and entertaining AquaTheater; and the Royal Promenade – the heart of many Royal Caribbean ships, that’s now bigger and better than ever.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line Oasis of the Sea

The Oasis of the Sea will depart Ft. Lauderdale on October 31st at 4:30 pm, with ports of call at Nassau, Bahamas, St. Thomas, USVI, and St. Maarten, returning to Ft. Lauderdale in the morning of November 7th.

This event is ideally suited for bloggers in the following niches:  cruising, family travel, luxury travel, couples travel, adventure, and baby boomer travel. Sessions will be designed as advanced, indepth workshops suitable for experienced bloggers, and will be held on days when the ship is at sea. There will be special TBEX events onboard as well as free time to enjoy all the amenities the ship offers, or just to kick back and relax. Port time will be available for shore activities and excursions at your option.

Registration for TBEX at Sea 2015, to be held on the Oasis of the Sea,  will open on February 23rd. If you are attending TBEX North America 2015, there will be no additional registration fee, you need only to book your cabin at the low TBEX rate. Friends and family are invited to book cabins at the same low rate, making this a great getaway option as well.

Speaker selection will be by invitation only; there will not be a submission process.

Click here for additional information about TBEX at Sea 2015


What We’re Reading this Week

gardens in Lloret de Mar Spain

Do you have something you think we’d be interested in knowing about? Add #TBEX to your tweets or Facebook posts and we’ll take a look. We’ll share the best of what we find each week here on the blog.

Here’s what we’re reading this week:

About Content

About Community

About Commerce

About the Travel & Tourism Industry

About Travel

  • 15 reasons to visit Spain in 2015 – And we’d add on attending TBEX Europe 2105! The week after TBEX, Girona hosts the Temps de Flors, with elaborate carpets and sculptures made out of flowers. Read more here 15 reasons to visit Spain in 2015
  • My Camino de Santiago – The Camino de Santiago pilgrimage may call to you to stay on in Spain after TBEX Europe 2015. These tips and recommendations can help you prepare for the journey and the experience. Read more here My Camino de Santiago

How to Get to Lloret de Mar

Barcelona Airport

Barcelona Airport (BCN)

TBEX Europe 2015 will be held at the Evenia Olympic Resort, located in a quiet residential area of Lloret de Mar. The closest major airport to Lloret de Mar is in Barcelona (airport code BCN), about 90km (56 miles) away. A regional airport is located in Girona-Costa Brava (airport code GRO), and is about 30km (19 miles) away.

Here are the best ways to get from Barcelona to the Evenia Olympic Resort:

  • By Car:  Travel north from Barcelona via the coastal C-32 motorway as far as Palafolls, then drive the last 10km along the Gi-600 to Blanes, then on to Lloret de Mar. Approximate travel time 1:10.
  • By Car:  Traveling south from France, take the AP-7 to Exit 9 (Lloret de Mar), then drive the last 14km along the C-63 road.
  • By Bus:  Take the bus (Sarbus line) Sarfa from the Airport directly to Lloret de Mar. There are two bus stops in the airport, one in front of Terminal 1, and another in front of Terminal 2 between gates B and C. Buses run every one-two hours, depending on the time of the day. The bus stop in Lloret is about an 8 minute walk or a 3 minute taxi ride. The bus cost is 12.90 Euro. Look for discount ticket information coming soon.
  • By Train:  There is no train directly to Lloret de Mar. From Terminal 2 of Barcelona Airport take the train to Sants Estació, then change to R1 to Blanes. In Blanes there is a bus every 30 minutes from Blanes to Lloret de Mar, departing every 30 minutes betwen 7:00 to 23:40. The bus takes 20 minutes. A one-way ticket costs 6,15€ for the train, and 1,85€ for the bus (total 8€).

Here is the best way to get from Girona to the Evenia Olympic Resort:

  • By Bus:  Take the bus Sarfa at the Airport to Lloret de Mar (Sarbus). This service is offered together with Sagales, and the departures are at 8:50, 10:00, 11:50, 14:30, 15:30, 18:00, 20:20 and 23:20. From the bus stop in Lloret to Evenia is about an 8 minute walk or a 3 minute taxi ride. The bus is approximately 35 minutes and costs 10 Euros. Purchase the tickets on the bus.

This transporation information can also be found on the TBEX 2015 page located here.