You’re Invited to Visit City Link

 

City Link invitation

TBEX Athens attendees are invited to visit City Link for a taste of the ultimate shopping, living, and culture in Athens. Stop by for a drink and an exclusive TBEX gift bag.

DATE:  Tuesday, October 21st, 6-8 pm

WHERE:  City Bar cafe-restaurant, located within Spyromiliou Arcade at City Link (just a few minutes away from Syntagma Square)

 

 

10 Reasons Instagram Should be a Major Part of your Social Media Strategy

 

colmhanratty-tbex-guestpost-main-imageWith so many social networks out there these days (who’s already got an Ello profile?), it’s hard being active on all of them. Twitter and Facebook are the two obvious ones, but then there are many more to choose from between Vine, Pinterest, YouTube and others. But the one other channel that you should make sure you’re active on if you’re online and in the travel space is Instagram. Here are 10 reasons why:

1. It’s quick

I love Instagram for many reasons. One of them is that it’s quick. Once you’ve something to take a photo of, or if you have a bank of images you can upload, you can have a presence on the world’s number one mobile-specific social network by using just ten minutes a day of your time.

2. It’s engaging

Because Instagram is all about images, it’s rich, engaging content. This means users can really get a taste of your coffee, food, office, daily routine, current destination, past destination via a #latergram or more.

3. Your followers don’t need to devote too much time to engage with your photos

Do you know why the most talked about and increasingly popular social networks over the last two years have been Pinterest and Instagram? It’s because people don’t have the time to commit to reading a blog post, listening to a podcast or watching a video. But present a photo to them and they can spare those five seconds to engage with it or not. Instagram isn’t just quick for you – it’s quick for your audience too.

4. It makes your photos look cool

I’ve been a budding photographer for years, but I’ve never sat down at my computer and touched up my images using Lightroom or Photobox. Now, because of Instagram, I don’t have to. Adding a tilt shift effect here and a Lo-Fi filter there means it’s touched up within seconds, resulting in my photos looking that little bit sharper. Here’s an example:

colmhanratty-instagram-example

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5. Growing your following organically is easier than on other social networks

A phrase that has been doing the rounds in social media circles for a while now is ‘the free ride is over’. Anybody who has been using social networks such as Facebook and Twitter knows that growing your following and having wider reach organically is harder than ever before. Since Instagram hasn’t introduced an advertising model yet, this isn’t the case. Upload quality photos regularly, laden them with hashtags and you’ll see that follower count growing slowly but surely.

6. Instagram can generate content for other social networks

How many times have you come across posts like ‘Dublin, as seen by Instagram’ on travel blogs? Or Pinterest boards titled ‘My Instagram photos from around the world’? Without Instagram, this content wouldn’t exist. Regularly share photos on Instagram and you’ll regularly generate content for other social channels.

7. Instagram’s Hyperlapse app

This app caused a bit of controversy among videographers when it was first released because videos created on Hyperlapse might not really be hyperlapses – they’re simply timelapses. My answer to that is ‘so what?’ If there’s an app that makes my walk down a street of a city look cool, by way of a timelapse video or otherwise, I’m all for it. Here’s one I shot of my hometown recently:

8. It’s fun

Taking a photo of a landmark, colleague, new product or cup of coffee, adding a filter to it and coming up with a catchy narrative to go with it is a lot more fun that writing a thousand word post on anything. Instagram shouldn’t be seen as marketing your brand or your blog – it should be seen as a fun thing to do that happens to also be marketing your brand or blog.

9. It’s all about mobile

Once you have a smartphone with a half-decent camera and a sense of what type of imagery you want to share, and once your followers have a phone that has Instagram installed, you’ve got yourself presence on this platform. It’s that simple.

10. You can produce videos as well as photos

Almost exactly six months after Twitter released Vine, Instagram introduced video. Different to Hyperlapse, Instagram’s videos are free-flowing video footage that can last up to 15 seconds. Similar to Vine videos, they can be an amalgamation of a series of shots while still giving you functionality such as filters and auto enhance. One app; two types of content (three including Hyperlapse).

Author bio: Colm Hanratty has been in the online travel space for over 13 years. He first got involved when he made a personal website about backpacking around Australia in 2001 before working in Hostelworld.com for almost 11 years. Today he runs digital marketing consultancy sixtwo digital, continuing to work with travel brands that collaborate with travel bloggers. He’ll be speaking on Friday at 12 noon in the Commerce track on outlining a 12 month plan to building better blogger relationships.

Expedia Appy Hour at TBEX Athens

Expedia Appy Hour

You are invited to attend a special Appy Hour at TBEX Athens, sponsored by our global partner, Expedia. The evening will include drinks and appetizers, and mark Expedia’s mobile milestones and some big reveals of their Viewfinder blogger program.

Date:  Friday, October 24th

Time:  7-1o pm

Location:  Skyfall Bar (Markou Mousourou1, Athens 116 36)

Special Notes:  You must be a registered TBEX Athens attendee to attend; please wear your badge. The Expedia App will be your ticket to get it. Please download it in advance and show it on your smartphone or tablet at the door. No RSVP required. Hashtags for Appy Hour are #TBEX and #ExpediaTBEX.

 

Travel Video: Equipment Recommendations for Travel Bloggers

The vast world of travel video is a rapidly growing industry. It used to be that if you wanted to record video you’d need a heavy VHS camcorder and a great deal of upper body strength. Today, you have more recording options than countries to explore and each branch has become specific to varying skill sets and needs. Here’s a quick rundown on what to consider if you want to get into travel video and are wondering where to start.

Captain and ClarkOne of the biggest things we’ve learned about travel video is that good audio is key. The average viewer will gladly suffer through ten minutes of blurry nonsense if it has solid audio, whereas they will click away in under a couple of seconds if they can’t hear what’s going on. The first big purchase for our travel video kit was the Rode II shotgun mic. This super versatile mic sits right on top of our camera and is powered by a single 9 volt battery. It cuts down the rumble of wind, picks up subjects from over 30 yards away, and gives a strong clear sound to our videos. Many video bloggers swear by wireless lavalier “lav” (lapel microphone) mics as well. The trade off is that occasionally the lav signal can interfere with any other sound equipment (only important if you’re filming something like a set of a big shows like in Vegas) and they require you to attach the microphone to your subject. The shotgun mic is simply point and shoot.

When it comes to cameras, the first thing to consider is what your travel style is like. Are you active with emphasis on extreme sports or water activities? Are you always on the move and need a quick way to capture the organic moments? Perhaps you like to plan ahead and have a set itinerary. Maybe you want more control over your videos? In our experience, the most common families of video device can be separated into four categories: sport, DSLR, camcorder, and phone.

For the Active Traveler:

Our recommendation – GoPro HERO Black or Nikon COOLPIX AW110

The most common and obvious choice for sport recording is the GoPro. A GoPro kit will retail between $400 to $600, depending on setup and add ons. This versatile camera has more gizmos and customization options than any other comparable camera in its class. We know some video bloggers who only use a GoPro to fuel their YouTube channels. These devices are compact, waterproof, rugged, and can attach to aerial drones. The trade off is quality and versatility in image. No matter how HD a camera claims to be, image quality will always boil down to sensor size and controls. A GoPro can take you really far in life for a modest sum. However, it’s true proving ground is in sunny, outdoor, and fast paced moments.

For the Renaissance Traveler:

Our recommendation – Canon EOS Rebel T4i or Canon 5D Mark III

If you want a camera that allows you control of every aspect, a DSLR might be for you. The beauty of the DSLR is in its large sensor size and myriad of controls. From manual focus to adjustable FPS (frames per second) and aperture, the sky is the limit with a DSLR.

DSLRs have the added charm of being more low profile. It’s significantly harder to tell if someone if filming with a DSLR than when they pull out a large camcorder. This has the nice touch of putting subjects as ease for interviews or even drawing attention away from zealous border guards and sensitive security areas.

A DSLR doubles as a great camera and can allow for a lot of customization. For any blogger whose travel style is constantly changing, this is a great option. The trade off is that is a big investment. A solid DSLR camera runs upwards of $2000 for a good body and lens. The great news is that you can later play with different lenses, adding great breadth to your video quality. The learning curve is also pretty steep. Unless you’re already familiar with ISO and FPS settings it can take some time to really get to know your DSLR and how to film with it. The pay off is well worth it though.

For the Solo Traveler:

Our recommendation – Canon Vixia HF G20 or Canon Vixia HF R50

One of the best parts of a point-and-shoot camcorder is that it is so simple to use. Our first camera was a Canon Vixia HV30. It retailed for $400 and all we had to do was turn it on. For any solo travelers, a camcorder is a sweet option as it offers to bear the brunt of the work load. DSLRs are amazing, but they require someone to man the helm in order to keep focusing and changing the lighting. If you prefer to film yourself with arm outstretched or by setting the camera on a ledge and jumping in the frame, it can be hard to argue with such an easy camera. The trade off comes in control. If you really want to add that artistic edge in your storytelling or to master the illusive bokeh effect (subject in focus with the background all blurry) then you’re fairly limited. Most high-end camcorders run between $500 to $1500 depending on what you want and offer a range of high quality footage.

For the Quick Draw Traveler:

Our recommendation – The iPhone 5s

If you are wanting to dip your toe into travel video and aren’t ready to drop the cash on a huge equipment run, you’re in luck. The cameras on most smart phones now record at a better quality than most of the cameras I first started using eight years ago. The ease and versatility of an iPhone is really incredible. While you won’t get the crisp image of a camera with a larger sensor, it doesn’t really matter for most videos. The majority of travel videos are watched on a cropped YouTube screen anyhow so quality doesn’t start to betray you until your videos get blown up to full screen. You can get away with a lot by using some cool visual tricks too. The iPhone now records at 120 frames per second, lending itself to some super smooth slow motion video. Not to mention the slick autofocus and slim size allow you to get some amazing panning shots and impromptu videos.

Over all, the most important parts of video are really in finding your own personal style of storytelling. Are your videos going to focus more on capturing large sensor, high HD images? Or will you highlight your personal narrative and storytelling? Once you can identify what works for you it is much easier to determine the right equipment for your style.

Author Bio:  Chris Staudinger and Tawny Clark, better known in the travel blogging community as Captain and Clark. Tawny Clark and Chris Staudinger met on the summit of Kilimanjaro, courted in South Korea, got engaged at the Taj Mahal, and most recently were married at a Bavarian theme town in their home state of Washington. Their passions are travel, adventure, and storytelling. It’s their goal to inspire, excited, and encourage others to get out and explore this beautiful world. Video will be one of the things they talk about in the TBEX Athens Saturday morning keynote with Paula Froelich.

Painlessly Prospecting for New Travelers to Grow Your Travel Brand

A lot can happen in 60 seconds. Every minute of the day, Facebook users share 2.46 million pieces of content. Twitter users tweet 277 thousand times, Google receives over 4 million search queries, and YouTube users upload 72 hours of new video. That’s a whole lot of new content in just one minute.

tommartinThe competition for travelers’ attention, especially repeat attention, is incredibly high and growing literally by the minute. That’s why it is so imperative to establish a digital footprint that extends far beyond your own corporate website or blog. The key to winning the Invisible Sale is to create propinquity — or the opportunity for repeated interactions— between you and an unqualified traveler. In the buzz of all that content being created, you have to make sure your a prospective is seeing your brand.

The art of generating helpful, relevant content that is strategically dispersed throughout the websites and social networks favored by your today’s digital planning travelers is creating what I call your Painless Prospecting platform. As your unqualified prospects move through your platform and run into you and your content repeatedly, they begin to qualify themselves through their actions and interactions with you and your content.

As you set about establishing Painless Prospecting platform, there are three legs you’ll need to focus on:

1) Home Base

Everything you do online and offline is designed to drive prospects to your Home Base. Your Home Base needs to be a website, a blog, or both. If your company has multiple brands, you might have multiple Home Bases. Regardless, your goal is to always drive prospects back to your Home Base, where you can use your content and tracking technology to qualify prospects and drive them down the appropriate sales funnel.

The single most important thing to think about when crafting your home base is how well it functions. In your website, you want to create a funnel-optimized, mobile friendly, qualified lead-generation machine that is committed to achieving only one goal: the constant creation and qualification of convertible leads for your brand.

2) Outposts

In the simplest terms, an outpost is a place where you and your content show up from time to time and where your prospects congregate. A good example is submitting a guest post on a popular travel blog, authoring an article for a magazine or some kind of review penned by an influential travel blogger. You create and post the content there, but you’re not investing a lot of time in doing so because your goal is to generate awareness. You’re trying to leverage the platform owner’s audience to create awareness of you and your product or service, and give prospects a simple way to follow you back to your Home Base.

3) Embassies

Similar to outposts, embassies are places where you find and interact with prospective guests, but in a much deeper and engaged manner—embassies are where you’ll plant a flag and plan to spend a good amount of time interacting with the people you find there. Embassies are the place you’re going to meet people, introduce people to one another, and get introduced to people.

Unlike outposts, effective embassy management requires plenty of work and a hefty time investment on your part. But that effort should translate into significant value in the form of new leads, reputation enhancement, or opportunities to connect with resources that enhance your ability to grow visitor usage of your brand or destination. You’ll have only a few embassies in your platform, so you need to select them strategically to maximize the effectiveness of your prospecting platform.

Your Ever-Changing Prospecting Platform

Keep in mind that your prospecting platform is not a static digital footprint. It ebbs and flows as you, or your company, emphasize different products or services. As you move in new directions or target new audiences, any propinquity point can vacillate between serving as an outpost or acting as an embassy. This might be due to a change in your strategy, a changing business climate, or just a realization that a particular propinquity point is under- or over-delivering based on your current effort level.

As you embark on this journey to build your own Painless Prospecting platform, know that you will make mistakes along the way. Failures will occur. Platforms or outposts will end up not making sense or not generating a big enough return on your time and investment to justify continued involvement. That’s okay. Failure is the price of learning. The key is to fail small while simultaneously setting yourself up to win big.

For more information on creating a painless prospecting platform for your own company, join me at TBEX Europe in Athens when I’ll present Propinquity: Leveraging the Secret Science of Relationship Formation to Grow Your Sales on Friday, October 24th at 10:45am or pick up a copy of The Invisible Sale.

Author Bio:  Tom Martin is a no nonsense, straight-talking 20-year veteran of the advertising and marketing business who favors stiff drinks, good debates and helping travel brands grow their businesses. As an internationally recognized digital marketing keynote speaker, blogger, founder of Converse Digital, and Author of The Invisible Sale, Tom marries his two passions, marketing & technology, to teach companies how to leverage digital marketing channels to achieve and sustain sales growth, enhance brand perception and painlessly prospect for new customers. Follow him on Twitter at @TomMartin.

 

The Nuts and Bolts: Why You Should Understand the Technology Behind Your Website.

The website, over the past several years, has evolved.  The web started out as a way for tech-savvy people and businesses to monotonously display their information.  Now, the web is an expression of the caricatures of the human race.  The moments of greatness – and the occasional moment of darkness – are displayed in full high-resolution for everyone to experience.  Centuries ago, only the rich and powerful could print words.  Now, the power of the press is available to anyone and everyone. A website is a beautiful representation of a person’s soul and passion.  Why, then, would a person not strive to understand the inner workings of their own soul?

Mitch CanterOK, maybe that’s a bit on the melodramatic side, but I do know this: learning the inner workings of a website empowers people.  It’s an amazing feeling to be able to fix a problem on your blog – especially since you don’t have to to call your web developer friend when something looks out of place.  Being able to make (or fix) something with your hands – even if that something is made of bits and bytes – is a great feeling.

The biggest deterrent, I’ve seen, is that people just don’t know what they don’t know.  They’ve stumbled haphazardly onto their WordPress theme editor and panicked at the sight of lines and lines of code.  To best understand what’s going on in our website, we must first know what we need to know.  When people ask me what they should learn, there are three things without fail that I recommend they study.

HTML

HTML tags are the fundamental building blocks of the internet.  No matter what language you write in, the resulting output is usually HTML.  HTML stands for “Hypertext Markup Language”, and serves the purpose of taking raw content and applying basic structure and form.  HTML won’t tell you how wide or what color something is, but it does provide the backbone for being able to set those attributes.  Paragraphs (<p>) are separated from headlines (<h1>) and lists (<ul> or <ol>), and documents go from a mass jumble of words to a neatly formatted set of instructions for the browser to follow.

CSS

HTML tags only display information.  It’s the CSS (Cascading Stylesheets) that takes that information and applies true form and style.  You can make those paragraphs grey, change the headlines’ font, and ensure your lists have a colored background.  You can even take whole sections of content and position them exactly where you want to on a page.  Most browsers already have styles built into them, but we can over-ride those styles by changing their rules in a stylesheet document – a top-down approach that “cascades” the style rules down a specific order of operation.

PHP (WordPress)

Now that we’ve determined the structure and color, we can start talking about the content.  Running a site that’s pure HTML is a daunting task.  Fortunately, content management systems like WordPress have made it easy to “templatize” a site – you supply the style and function rules, and the machine spits out your content depending on where you are.  Going to a single page pulls only that content from a database, and a category only shows posts that are specifically marked to show.

PHP uses defined functions – meaning that you can write rules that can then be called again and again as needed.  A WordPress site, at it’s most basic form, only changes the ID number to figure out which content to grab – everything else is just a template.Yes, this is a gross simplification of a larger process, but once you learn the basics it’s amazing what you realize you can do.  I encourage anyone who owns or operates a website to at least pick up a few of the basics.  Your website is an extension of you – it’s your place on the web to make art, write, and even sell your wares. And I’d dare say that having a website is no longer optional – not even for your regular people.

I do workshops weekly for people to learn the inner-workings of WordPress and other design-related topics (and I’ll be doing a Design & Tech Workshop in TBEX Athens to teach people some of the very things I talked about above).  I’ve seen people’s lives changed because the act of learning, even if it’s just a small fix here or there, has empowered them to make the most out of their website.  Learn the basics, take control of your website, and make the world a better place.  Who could ask for more?

Author Bio:  Mitch Canter is a WordPress Designer / Developer from Nashville, TN.  He strives to make the web a more beautiful place, and to empower his clients better understand WordPress and how to use it.  You can see his work at http://www.studionashvegas.com, and find helpful WordPress resources athttp://www.understandwp.com.

TBEX Welcome Kit Will Provide Airport Transportation & More for Attendees

metro (1)

UPDATE

The welcome kits are already at the airport and will be available for pick up through October 23rd.

 

With the help of our generous sponsors and partners in Athens, we are pleased to welcome you to Athens with a welcome kit full of helpful information and resources. These resources will help you navigate airport transportation, public transportation around the city,

The welcome bag can be picked up at the Athens International Airport at the City of Athens Infopoint at Gate A. The Infopoint is open from 8 am-8 pm daily, with extended hours of 8 am-10 pm on October 20-22. Although the Infopoint will have a list of attendees, if you have a hard or digital copy of your registration, it will help speed the process along. The welcome kit can be picked up at the airport Infopoint through October 23rd. If you won’t be arriving via the airport, see note below.

What’s in the welcome kit? A city map and guide, transportation passes, Athens Spotlighted Card, and a letter for free admission to a variety of venues. Here’s more detail on each to help you make your Athens plans.

Airport Transportation Pass

This pass will provide you with hard-copy tickets that are good for transportation to and from the airport, and is courtesy of Athens Urban Transport Organization (please note that not all pages of their website are offered in English). Ask the staff at the Infopoint for help getting pointed in the right direction to get transportation into town. This isn’t a card or pass, but is an actual hard ticket to use, and is good only for transportation to and from the airport. For your return to the airport, please check with the Athens representatives at TBEX for further information, or check with your hotel for pick up locations and times.

City Transportation Card

This card, also courtesy of Athens Urban Transport Organization, will give you 5 days of use on all public transportation – tram, metro, bus, trolley. This card will be good for getting around the city on your own time, with the 5 days starting after the first use, and will let you plan how to best maximize getting around Athens. That’s the metro map above.

Athens Spotlighted Card

The Athens Spotlighted Card provides a variety of discounts at restaurants, arts and cultural attractions, entertainment, shopping, and services around the area. Discounts range from 10-50%, with some restaurants offering a special menu, and some attractions offering a special admission fee. For a full list of participants, addresses, and discounts offered, go here.

Complimentary Archaeological Sites and Museums

The Ministry of Culture has granted official admission to the below archaeological sites and museums.  A special admission letter, written in Greek, will be in your welcome kit and will need to be presented upon entry to the sites/museums. Each attendee will need to have a letter in hand to present to at the site or museum. There welcome kit will also have an English translation of the letter, along with an explanation of what this letter is and which sites it includes admission to and the applicable dates. Please note this admission is strictly controlled and available on specified dates only.

To help you plan out your time, we’ve listed the sites and dates below:

  • The Temple of Aphaia; valid on October 21st and 26th only
  • The Marathon Archaeological Museum; valid on October 22nd
  • The National Archaeological Museum; valid on October 22nd
  • The Archaeological site of the Acropolis, Roman Agora, Dionysus Theater, Ancient Agora, and Adrianou Library; valid on October 22nd and 26th
  • The Temple of Olympian Zeus; valid on October 22nd and 26th
  • The Temple of Poseidon at Sounion; valid October 22nd

NOTE:  If you’re in Athens early, or are arriving by rail, bus, driving, walking, etc., you may pick up a welcome kit from the City of Athens Infopoint. That location is:  at the intersection of Amalias Avenue and Dionysiou Areopagitour Street, near Melina’s Statue (Acropolis Metro Station). This Infopoint will be open 9 am-9 pm, October 20-26.

Top Reasons Why a Cruise is an Ideal Vacation

pool on MSC Fantasia

Did you know more than 21.7 million passengers are expected to cruise in 2014? Will you be one of them?

Cruise lines continue to introduce new and exciting ships as they attempt to dazzle all types of travelers with different amenities and features. If you’ve been considering taking a cruise, but not sure it’s right for you, check out some of the top reasons why cruising makes an ideal vacation:

  1. Hassle-Free:  You only have to pack and unpack once while visiting multiple countries and cities. Go to bed in La Spezia, Italy and wake up the next morning in Cannes, France with no need to arrange flights, hotels, or shuttles in between.
  2. Fun for Family Members of All Ages: With everything from kids clubs to educational lectures, a cruise is the perfect venue for your next multi-generational vacation. Every family member has the chance to choose their own activities during the day and then get together in the evenings for a family dinner in a gourmet restaurant.
  3. Customized to Meet Your Needs: Every cruise line, from contemporary to luxury, offers a unique cruising experience that can be customized to make the most of your vacation. By offering specialty dining restaurants, captivating entertainment, luxurious spas, and other innovative features, cruise lines are able to exceed the expectations of travelers.
  4. Unique Destinations: Choose from visiting the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Northern Europe, South Africa, South America, and other exciting destinations. Each cruise port offers you the opportunity to explore the hottest sights and attractions of each unique city such as the Acropolis in Athens, Greece or the Mayan Ruins in Cozumel, Mexico. Just take your pick.
  5. Meet New People: Cruising is an international experience. Meet fellow travelers from around the world and learn about their culture while relaxing in the spa, the pools or at the restaurants and bars, enjoying sublime food served by our amazing chefs.

Still have questions about cruising? MSC Cruises is coming to TBEX Europe to meet you! Please stop by our table and introduce yourself.

Want to see what else MSC Cruises is up to at TBEX Europe and how you can win a FREE CRUISE? Make sure to connect with us on social and use #MSCTBEX. Find us on social media on Facebook, @MSCCruisesUSA on Twitter, Google+, @MSCCruisesOfficial on Instagram, and on YouTube.

 

Company Bio:  MSC Cruises is a privately-held, family-owned, Italian cruise line with a fleet of 12 ships. The fleet cruises year-round in the Mediterranean and seasonally in the CaribbeanNorthern Europe, the Atlantic Ocean, the French Antilles, South AmericaSouth Africa, The United Arab Emirates and the Red Sea. In March 2014, the line announced the construction of two new cruise ships by STX France due for delivery respectively in 2017 and 2019. Two months later, the line announced the construction of two additional new builds by Fincantieri due for delivery respectively in Nov. 2017 and May 2018.MSC Cruises believes that global leadership brings increased responsibility towards the physical and human environments in which it operates. As such, MSC entered in a long-term partnership with UNICEF in 2009 to support educational programmes for children in Brazil. The partnership was renewed early 2014, this time to support UNICEF’s efforts to tackle famine and malnutrition in developing countries and in emergency situations. Since the beginning of the partnership, MSC collected three million euros in MSC guests donations.

 

Why Photography Matters as a Travel Blogger

sunset athens

As travel bloggers, our primary role is that of content creators. We weave stories from our experiences to share with our readers.

We have a number of mediums to do that. The main four, in my mind, are Video, Audio, Text and Photography. None of these are easy, and like any skill they all take a significant amount of time and investment to properly master.

So where to focus your attention?

Personally, I believe that Photography is the easiest medium in terms of connecting with your audience quickly, and making a long lasting impact on a user.

Take this picture.

Eiffel Tower paris scaled

 

It’s a picture of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. But you know that already, right? I don’t need text to tell you.

I shared this picture on my Facebook Page, and it reached 148,000 people, organically. Here are the numbers, if you like that sort of thing.

paris screenshot

Now, I could have done a wall of text instead, a status update perhaps on my trip to Paris. Or a video, that people would have to decide to click, find their headphones, and then get distracted by a notification. Or a podcast, describing my adventure.

Those are all great options too. But for instant impact, for something that can’t be unseen, for something that transports your reader right there and then to the moment, a photo can’t be beaten.

Once you have your readers attention, without having to resort to headline titles such as 26 Reasons Why You Wouldn’t Believe Paris Has Kittens In Every Window, you’re well over half way to having an audience.

Another real world example: I have almost 300,000 facebook fans. My secret to success? It’s pretty simple really. Share great, unique, photos. My fans are passionate, engaged, and I love interacting with them and sharing my adventures.

Of course, it’s easy for me to say that it’s simple. Photography is not simple. There’s a lot of technical jargon. There are a lot of different ways to approach a subject. There’s a whole side to optimising your images for your blog, and optimising your blog for your images.

If you want to know a little bit more, and get real first-hand, unfiltered advice, on all aspects of your photography as a travel blogger, from the practical aspects through to using it to grow your community (and yes, some more tips on using Facebook beyond “share great stuff!”), then come along to the workshop I’m running with Daniel before TBEX – there are still a few spots left.

It does cost money, and yes, there is a bunch of great free stuff you could be doing instead. Investing in your skills though is something you won’t regret. I look forward to seeing you there!

Author Bio: A photographer, writer and traveller, Laurence has spent much of the last five years on the road, documenting his journeys and adventures at his popular travel and photography blog: Finding the Universe, which he runs with his partner Vera. He is also a founding member of Lightmoves Creative, a photography firm which offers bespoke photography and learning opportunities to brands and individuals.

 

Last Minute TBEX Travel Tips Before You Cross the Pond/Border

 

amyjacksonI’m sitting here in Santorini looking out on the gorgeous, tranquil Aegean waters and jagged cliffs of the caldera. My pre-TBEX relaxation is in full effect, but the 30-hour journey was very humbling for this road warrior. Here are some to help your travels go smoothly, and get the most out of TBEX:

 

  1. Pack a change of clothes, contact lenses and prescriptions in your carry-on: The odds of luggage not arriving on time increases with each layover. All I can say is thank goodness for hotel robes!
  2. Sleep masks and noise canceling headphones are a must: These came in handy for me in a multitude of ways: sleeping on the plane, sleeping in the airport, and tricking your circadian rhythms into adjusting to the time zone.
  3. Stay in the loop on flight status: While I’m naturally partial to TripIt Pro, the bottom line is that early notification of flight delays, gate changes and access to alternate flights (to make it easier on you and the ticket agent to rebook you) can mean the difference between getting to Athens on time and having to spend the night in the airport. (And if you do find yourself in FRA or ATH, I can recommend a couple of comfy spots for cat naps.)
  4. Take out your liquids, laptop and tablets too, when passing through security: TSA approved sleeves aren’t really a thing here. But on the bright side, I didn’t have to take my shoes off.
  5. Rethink the last row: When I had to be rebooked due to a missed connection, having a seat in the last row initially felt like salt in the wound. But that’s when the silver lining appeared: a whole row to myself meant extra room for spreading out and catching up on ZZZs.
  6. Keep your eye on the prize: You’re about to arrive in a city with some of the most amazing history in the world, further enhanced by a 72+ hour period of inspirational ideas shared in sessions and keynotes, invaluable industry contacts and new friends.
  7. Get on Twitter and Instagram: This gives you the extra bonus of making connections online, simultaneously while participating in TBEX offline (no international data plan pun intended). For me, the pairing of TBEX photos and tweets with “in real life” relationship-building creates a group hug sensation, and it’s one of the reasons I come back to TBEX again and again.

Have tips to add to the list? Share in the comments section below.

Author Bio:  Amy leads brand strategy and consumer marketing for TripIt, the world’s highest-rated travel organizing app from Concur. For more than a decade, she generated national media coverage and pioneered social media programs for award-winning technology and consumer brands. Amy is a frequent traveler and a reward point geek. She’s especially passionate about mobile apps that make life easier, 5-star hotels and local cuisine.

Amy will be speaking with Angie Orth in the TBEX Business track, helping the industry learn about tools for press trips.