4 Ways to Discover Ontario, Canada this Fall

Girls Glam Getaway

From a girls’ weekend in the city, to a farm inspired foodie adventure, there’s so many ways to make the most of your fall weekend in Canada. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Girls’ Glam Getaway

Head to Toronto, Canada for one-of-a-kind retail therapy, hip neighbourhoods and rhythmic nightlife.

Don’t Miss:  WEST QUEEN WEST.

Touted Toronto’s coolest neighbourhood by Lonely Planet, there are still some hidden gems to be found in this fashion hub. Find gender-neutral silhouettes at Parloqueand up-and-coming labels at Fawn

A Niagara Weekend

Niagara is adored by locals for its unique spirits and Instagram-worthy settings – see what all the toasting is about.

Niagara Weekend

Don’t Miss:  THE AWARD-WINNING WINE.

Begin your grape escape at local favourite wineries, including the limited production Thirty Bench Wine Makers for a vineyard tour that includes a Govino stemless wine glass; the organically farmed Redstone Winery with its seasonal and locally inspired restaurant menu; and Vineland Estates Wineryfor an ‘all access’ photo safari to capture historic buildings and an underground barrel cellar.

Hip Side of the Hill

Known for its national treasures, Canada’s capital – Ottawa – is a cool city demanding attention.

Hip Side of the Hill 1

Don’t Miss:  FOODIE FINDS.

Get a sweet start to your day with a gourmet treat from The Cupcake Lounge. Quench your thirst and experience the best in local ales with Brew Donkey’s craft brewery tour. Enjoy foodie fare at Sidedoor, famous for its Asian fusion tacos and mini donuts. Finish off the night at the city’s oldest tavern, The Laff, with a round of ByWash Bulleits.

Lakeside Get-Together

Don’t Miss:  THE FALL COLORS.

Lakeside Get-Together

Climb Tower Hill in Parry Sound and get a spectacular view of Georgian Bay. Drive north, then rent a canoe and paddle alongside the 100-metre (328-foot) high Stormy Lake Bluffs at Restoule Provincial Park.

Get the complete day-by-day itineraries for ideas for all 10 Ontario weekends at ontariotravel.net.

Disclosure:  Ontario Tourism is a TBEX Sponsor.

VIDEO: How to Use Blogger Bridge

We offered two webinars last week and Chris Christensen, the founder of BloggerBridge explained how to use the platform for our upcoming Speed Networking sessions.

In addition to the basic mechanics of setting up your profile, he gave some great suggesting on how to create a compelling profile, some tips for requesting appointments, and how to prepare for your appointments.

Here’s the video replay.

Loy Krathong Festival for Opening Night Party at TBEX Asia 2015

loy krathong

Loy Krathong Day is one of the most popular festivals in Thailand and is celebrated each year on the Full Moon Day of the Twelfth Lunar Month, a time when the weather is nice, the rainy season is over, and there is a high water level all over the country.

This year, Loy Krathong will be in late November, but our hosts in Thailand are helping us celebrate a little early – at our opening night party for TBEX Asia 2015 with a Loy Krathong Festival to launch the first ever TBEX Asia.

What’s Loy Krathong all about? Here are some fun facts:

  • “Loy” means “to float” and a “Krathong” is a lotus-shaped vessel made of banana leaves.
  • The Krathong usually contains a candle, three joss-sticks, some flowers and coins.
  • The festival is of Brahmin origin in which people offer thanks to the Goddess of the water.
  • By moonlight, people light the candles and joss-sticks, make a wish and launch their Krathongs on canals, rivers or even small ponds.
  • It is believed that the Krathongs carry away sins and bad luck, and the wishes that have been made for the new year that will soon start. It is the time to be joyful and happy as the sufferings are floated away.
  • The festival starts in the evening when there is a full moon in the sky. People of all walks of life carry their Krathongs to the nearby rivers. After lighting candles and josssticks and making a wish, they gently place the Krathongs on the water and let them drift away till they go out of sight.
  • A Beauty Queen Contest is an important part of the festival and for this occasion it is called “The Noppamas Queen Contest”. Noppamas is a legendary figure from the Sukhothai period. Old documents refer to her as the chief royal consort of a Sukhothai Kng named “Lithai”. Noppamas was said to have made the first decorated Krathong to float in the river on the occasion.

The TBEX version of Loy Krathong will occur at our Opening Night Party on October 15th, 2015, starting at 6 pm, at the Retro Live Cafe on the grounds of our venue the Queen Sirikit National Conference Center. It will feature activities that include:  making your own Krathong, Thai dessert demonstrations, music and other entertainment, fireworks, and, of course, fabulous food and drink.

It will be an exciting party, filled with events and activities to last the entire evening. For planning purposes, here is an overview of the major events:

  • 6 pm – Festivities begin (registration will be available at this time also) with a variety of activities for you to enjoy.
  • 7 pm – Dinner and entertainment.
  • 8 pm – Loy Krathong ceremony will include a parade in front of the Retro Live Cafe down to the lake to float the Krathongs. Please note that for safety reasons, access to the lake is limited and a representative will float the Krathong for you.

Remember, the TBEX Asia Opening Night Party is a badged event and open to registered TBEX attendees only. All registered attendees are invited to attend the opening night party; there is no minimum age restriction (see our policy on kids at TBEX here).

TBEX Speed Networking Webinar

TBEX Lloret Del Mar by Laurence Norah-14

Get ready for speed networking at TBEX Asia or TBEX North America. This webinar is intended for both bloggers and sponsors. We will show how the BloggerBridge.com speed networking interface works and also talk about how to make the most of the limited time in a speed networking meeting

Here are the details:

What:  TBEX Speed Networking Webinar. Preparing for Speed Networking with BloggerBridge.com.

When:  September 11th, 2015 at 9 a.m. and

Register:  Register here. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Applications for TBEX Asia 2015 Blogger FAM Trips Now Open

bangkok thailand from mary jo

The application for the TBEX Asia 2015 Blogger FAM trips are now open. The dates for the trips are October 19th-21st.

There are 10 trips to choose from, each one highlighting a part of the country and culture. There will be a maximum of five bloggers on each trip, helping to insure a immersive experience for all participants. All transportation and accommodations while on the FAM trip will be covered. You are resposible for hotel nights before and after the trip

These trips are by invitation only following an application process.

Do not apply for a Blogger FAM trip until you have read and understood the following information:

  • You must be a blogger or other content creator to participate. No industry representatives are allowed on these trips. No spouses, partners, or friends may accompany the blogger on these trips (unless they have applied and been invited).
  • You must be registered to attend TBEX to apply for these trips.
  • All participants in the Blogger FAM trips must be 18 years of age or older. No children of any age are permitted on these trips. There is no family themed trip available.
  • If you blog as a couple or group, each person must apply separately for the trips. Please understand that space on these trips are limited and there is no guarantee that you can be accommodated on the same trip. There is no group or couple application form.
  • You may select a first, second, and third choice of trips.

The deadline to apply for these trips is September 18th, 5 pm Pacific Time.

At that time, the application process will be closed, organized, and submitted to our hosts in Thailand. They will go through their selection process and advise us bloggers selected to participate. We will extend invitations to bloggers just as soon as we get this list.

We understand that you need to make travel plans and arrangements, and everyone involved in the process is committed to expediting the process to the extent possible.

Go to the list of Blogger FAM trips NOW

A Responsibility To Your Readers

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Warning: The activities in this post require travel insurance.

As a travel blogger, you have a duty of responsibility for your audience. Your readers have already come to rely on you for the latest destination information and travel advice, but are you keeping their welfare in mind as you’re writing?

Do you think about the situations your readers may face when you recommend:

While you are the expert on travel, you should also be the expert on protecting your readers. Or, at minimum, informing them of the risks that are inherent to the activities you recommend and how to manage those threats.

One of the easiest ways to help protect your readers on their travelers is by recommending travel insurance. While most global travelers know the importance of travel insurance, the majority of US citizens do not. In fact, according to the US Department of Commerce’s National Travel and Tourism Office, nearly 72% of US citizens who traveled overseas last year did so without travel insurance. That’s a lot of people who were exposing themselves to unnecessary risks.

Health Insurance Doesn’t Travel Well

Most US travelers assume their home health insurance will cover them abroad. This is not always the case. Often, US-based health insurance providers, including Medicare, will not pay to a foreign hospital or medical facility. This means that a traveler requiring emergency medical care will have to pay directly out-of-pocket. In our years of experience, we’ve seen travelers max out credit cards, and even mortgage their homes, in order to pay for medical care abroad. If there’s even a remote possibility that something you recommend on your blog could result in the need for medical care (we’re thinking skiing, snowboarding, surfing, etc.), you may want to alert your readers to the need for proper travel insurance coverage.

Violence Is Everywhere and Terrorism Is Real

As scary as it is, violent attacks and terrorism can happen in even the most unsuspecting locations. Just this past year, popular tourist destinations like Paris, Bangkok, and Copenhagen have seen bombings and mass shootings. Your travelers should know what to do – and who to call – to get the most up-to-date information and help if they need it. Most of the time, that’s their travel insurance company. (One great informational resource is the RoamRight mobile app. With a RoamRight policy, travelers get safety and security alerts with actionable advice sent directly to them.)

It Never Hurts To Have A Backup

Finally, do your readers know what to do if the airline loses their luggage? Are they at the mercy of the airline or do they have a support system in place to help them replace – and reimburse them for – their lost items? Having a back-up plan, for any kind of travel situation, is a great way to travel at ease and stress-free. Your travelers should know what you to do – and you can help by educating them!

If you haven’t yet talked to your readers about travel insurance, maybe it’s time you did. If you’d like more information about travel insurance in general – or about RoamRight specifically – come find us at TBEX North America. We’ll be there!

TBEX sponsor RoamRight offers travel insurance plans for leisure, business, student, and group travelers traveling within the U.S. or internationally. Their insurance is underwritten by Arch Insurance Company, a market-leading specialty insurer with an A.M. Best financial strength rating of A+ (superior). Their staff and customer service representatives are travel insurance specialists who offer customers expert information about trip cancellation and travel medical insurance coverage options.

The LGBT Travel Niche

 

Tanya ChurchmuchAdventure travel, budget travel, luxury travel, family travel, foodie travel, solo travel…. Whatever your interest, there’s generally a community out there for you. But there’s one travel niche that’s really come to the forefront in recent years: LGBT travel.

Public discussions about LGBT rights and recognition have exploded in the United States, especially with the June Supreme Court ruling that gave same-sex couples the ability to marry across the country. LGBT visibility has become not only mainstream, but also a bit of a bellwether in regards to niche marketing outreach. What’s a bit different about this niche though, is that it encompasses individuals who are into all kinds of travel. You can be a lesbian foodie or a queer hiker or a retired gay man who is traveling the world solo, or a questioning young person who is visiting a big city to experience Pride for the first time. We all travel for different reasons. So what makes the LGBT travel niche? For the LGB, it’s mainly the sexual orientation of the audience. If we’re being fully honest though, the “T” has been sorely underrepresented in the LGBT travel world (the Ft. Lauderdale CVB is an exception to this rule).

Since the niche in itself is vast and diverse, yet targeted, the main message used by destinations, hotels, airlines and other travel companies is generally, “you are welcome.” It’s an important message because it’s not always easy for LGBT travelers to be their authentic selves, which can be pretty stressful when you just want to have a fun holiday. Here’s a good explainer, and a good follow up, by Meg Ten Eyck from Dopes on the Road about why that is, and what kinds of questions queer travelers have to ask themselves. By marketing to the LGBT community, travel companies are telling us that we can be ourselves with them. It’s something most travelers take for granted, but is not always the case for those of us in the LGBT community.

That said, reaching out to the LGBT community is not only about being a socially responsible corporate entity. LGBT travelers are also a very lucrative market. Here’s just a few statistics from Community Marketing’s 19th annual LGBT Tourism Study (Dec. 2014)

  • The estimated annual economic impact of LGBT travelers is over US $100 billion per year in the U.S. alone.
  • 29% of LGBT survey participants are frequent leisure travelers, taking 5 or more leisure trips per year, with 10 or more leisure hotel room nights per year.
  • 14% of LGBT respondents are frequent business travelers, taking 5 or more business trips per year.
  • Hotel Selection Rankings: Location and value of price for quality of hotel are the two most motivating factors for hotel selection. Of note, LGBT-friendly reputation was more important than a hotel’s loyalty program.

When you consider that the majority of same-sex couples don’t have children (though more and more do!), and they can often travel during shoulder season when there are more rooms available, it’s a bit of dream demographic for the travel industry. Look at what Marriott is doing in the LGBT market.And American Airlines. And Houston, Texas. Yup, the Houston, Texas CVB even has its own LGBT microsite and social media handles. The International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) is the longstanding global organization that supports all of these travel partners who are interested in working with the LGBT market (full disclosure – I’m the Immediate Past-Chair of IGLTA and also serve on the IGLTA Foundation Board. I think they’re both amazing organizations!)

While more and more travel companies are jumping into the LGBT market, there’s also been a great rise in the voices of LGBT travel in the online world. And what’s amazing about so many of these writers and influencers is that they really do address all of those travel interests that were mentioned at the top of this post. Some market themselves as LGBT blogs, others simply incorporate their queerness into the overall content of what they do. They’re diverse, the same way our community is. Here’s just a few for you to check out: Two Bad Tourists, Globetrotter Girls, Davey Wavey, Button and Bly, Travels of Adam, Dopes on the Road, Lez Backpack, Bounding Over Our Steps, Leave Your Daily Hell, and so many more. And their numbers keep growing each day, which is a good thing. Even though LGBT rights are evolving in many ways in many countries, there remains a definite need for the travel industry to understand what it means to be an LGBT traveler, and for LGBT travelers to find their community if they’re looking for it.

NOTE:  The IGLTA is a media partner of TBEX.

Author Bio:  Based in New York City, Tanya Churchmuch is the founder of MuchPR, a public relations firm specializing in tourism, lifestyle and LGBT markets. Prior to launching MuchPR, Tanya lived in Montreal, Canada and was Tourisme Montreal’s Assistant Director of International Media Relations and Leisure Markets, while also overseeing their LGBT outreach. She was also the founder of the (former) lesbian travel website www.girlports.com. In 2009 Tanya was elected to the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) Board of Directors and served as Chair of the IGLTA Board from May 2010- May 2013, and currently serves as Immediate Past Chair. Tanya is also on the Board of the IGLTA Foundation. An expert in lesbian and LGBT travel, she has spoken on the subject at numerous travel industry conferences and written travel articles for many LGBT and mainstream publications. Prior to working in the travel world, Tanya was a television journalist and news anchor in Montreal, including 9 years at Global Television. She is also a former Board member of Reporters Without Borders International, based in Paris, and Past President of Reporters Without Borders Canada.

The Story You Didn’t Know You Were Telling

 

 

Seattle skyline

Did you know you’re already an ambassador for peace? If you use your travel blog to spread insight and understanding about the places you’re visiting, that’s exactly the role you’ve taken.  Every time you write a post, you are enlightening others about a new culture and way of life, with the power to break down stereotypes, build tolerance, and promote a more peaceful world. Your goal might be to review an adventure activity or a 5-star resort, but in between the lines, your readers are finding so much more.

To help you maximize this important role, here are 5 tips:

  1. Put your guidebook away.  After you’ve hit all the checklist tourist stops, it’s time to create your own adventure.  By allowing yourself to veer off the carefully curated tourist path, you’re seeing an uncensored slice of life.  It’s these experiences that provide a deeper understanding of how people live, work, and play.
  2. Have candid conversations with locals.  Now that you’re on your own path, connect with the people who are the heart and soul of the community.  Find opportunities for conversation by taking a yoga or cooking class, striking up conversation with someone at a pub or café, or simply by getting lost and asking for directions or recommendations on where to go.  These casual conversations build your understanding for what life is like from a local perspective, and seeing life through someone else’s eyes is the foundation for spreading tolerance.
  3. Acknowledge your stereotypes and be open to proving them wrong.  As you venture out into the community, you may have some preconceived ideas of what people are like. It’s natural to have generalizations like New Yorkers are always in a rush or San Diegans are always laidback.  These aren’t necessarily bad, but they don’t describe every person and they only tell part of the story.  By acknowledging your own bias, you become more objective in your observations and you’re helping your readers break past cultural divides.
  4. Talk about your experience while you’re still having it.  Traveling can be inspirational, jarring, thought provoking, and everything in between.  Sharing what you saw and what you’re feeling with someone else can help you process your experience and find your angle.  When you stay at an HI USA hostel, you’ll be surrounded by a community of travelers who want to share and learn from you.  You’ll also benefit from other travelers’ recommendations and perspectives.
  5. Celebrate the United Nations International Day of Peace. Held each year on September 21, this important day is honored around the world as a day of peace and cease fire.  As an ambassador for peace, take pride in what your blog has the power to do by commemorating this important day.  For ideas on how to celebrate, or to get involved with other like-minded travelers, learn more about Sleep For Peace, an effort led by HI USA and celebrated by HI hostels around the world.

Millions of people are influenced by travel bloggers like you around the world.  As an ambassador for peace, we hope you embrace the important role you can play in creating a more tolerant world.

Note:  Hostelling International USA (HI USA) is a TBEX Sponsor

Author Bio:  Hostelling International USA (HI USA) is a nonprofit, member organization founded on an enduring belief in the power of travel to foster a deeper understanding of people, places, and the world around.  It’s our commitment to promote a dynamic community of global citizens who have the wisdom and humanity to actively make the world a better place.  As the nation’s leading hostel brand, HI USA hosts more than 1 million overnights annually, with guests from more than 100 countries.  For over 80 years, HI USA has provided a network of affordable hostels in converted mansions, reinvented lighthouses, and historic urban buildings all across the country. Visit www.hiusa.org for more information.

 

Welcome These TBEX North America 2015 Speakers

fll speaker collage 3

We are announcing a few more speakers for North America today, and I hope you find a speaker and a topic that catches your eye. This isn’t the end of speaker announcements, so keep an eye out for more coming up soon. Will we see you there?

Adriena Daunt

Adriena Daunt has 15 years of experience leading public relations strategies for tourism brands globally. In her current role with Tourism New Zealand in Los Angeles, she manages PR across six countries in the Americas.

Adriena will be speaking in the industry track about Film Tourism.

Amie O’Shaughnessy

Amie O’Shaughnessy is the Editor  of Ciao Bambino, a leading global travel planning resource for families with children of all ages. Amie founded Ciao Bambino over a decade ago with a mission to enable families with kids of all ages to fearlessly explore the world together. Ciao Bambino pairs an award-winning blog and hotel reviews powered by a team of Family Travel Experts with a boutique, in-house travel agency. Amie is on the Editors Council of SATW and a board member of the Family Travel Association.

Amie will be speaking in the Commerce track about ways to use travel planning as a revenue stream.

Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen  is the host of the Amateur Traveler, a popular online travel website that focuses primarily on travel destinations. It includes a weekly audio podcast, a video podcast, and a blog. By day Chris has worked for years in technology startups in Silicon Valley. Chris now owns and runs BloggerBridge.com which is a new startup connecting bloggers and industry contacts.

Chris will be leading a session on how to use the speed networking program, BloggerBridge and how to maximize its use to connect the industry and bloggers.

Chris Ducker

Chris Ducker is a serial entrepreneur, keynote speaker and author of the bestseller, “Virtual Freedom”. Originally from the UK, Chris has lived in the Philippines for 15 years where he hosts the annual Tropical Think Tank mastermind event and has founded several businesses, which combined house over 300 full-time employees. He is also a popular business blogger and podcaster at ChrisDucker.com and founder of Youpreneur.com, an exclusive entrepreneurial community.

Chris will be speaking in the Commerce track about building the business of you.

David Griner

David Griner is the digital managing editor of Adweek, and oversees the New York-based publication’s online news team and the popular Adweek Blog Network. Reaching millions of readers a month, Adweek.com has grown into one of the leading marketing, media and tech publications in the U.S. David formerly served as VP of Digital Content for marketing agency Luckie & Company, where he helped lead several tourism-related accounts, including Alabama Tourism and the Asheville (N.C.) Convention & Visitors Bureau.

David will be speaking in the Industry track.

Diana Laskaris

Diana Laskaris has loved eating, traveling and telling stories since she was a tiny tot, making fabulous cakes with her E-Z Bake Oven and carrying them all the way to Grandma’s house. Now Diana is a professional member of the James Beard Foundation, Les Toques Blanches Du Monde, and The World Gourmet Society. She is co-founder of Food Travelist, which connects food travelers around the world with great brands, destinations and experiences.

Diana will be speaking in the Community track about how to accelerate the building of your community.

Jen Leo

Jen Leo writes the nationally syndicated Web Buzz column for the Los Angeles Times, co-hosts the podcast “This Week in Travel” – available on iTunes – and is best known for editing the award-winning Sand in My Bra series published by Travelers’ Tales. Jen also co-founded the family travel-focused Twitter party KidsNTrips.com, as well as BestKidsApps.com, a popular website that reviews children’s iPhone and iPad apps.

Jen will be leading a session for first time TBEX attendees.

Kathy McCabe

Kathy McCabe is the host and executive producer of the new PBS travel series, Dream of Italy. The series is based on her award-winning, 12-year-old subscription travel newsletter of the same name. Kathy  was named one of top 12 Twitter Travel personalities in 2012. She previously worked in USA TODAY’s travel section and began her career in journalism at ABC News in New York, where she was part of the Emmy-Award winning investigative team.

Kathy will be speaking in the Content track about how to create a travel series for PBS.

Sue Reddel

Sue Reddel escaped corporate America after 25 years in global advertisng and created her own dream job as an agency consultant for global brands. She traveled more than 150,000 miles in 6 months and became an expert in smart travel in the process. Sue co-founded Food Travelist to share her knowledge with others and connect with those who love to explore culture through food during their travels, near and far. She has been an adjunct professor in the Integrated Marketing Communications program at Roosevelt University in Chicago since 2008.

Sue will be speaking in the Community track about how to accelerate the building of your community.

Still More Speakers for TBEX Asia 2015

speaker group 3

We’ve got another round up of speakers for TBEX Asia 2015 to share with you today. The program is shaping up, and we update the session page every day or so, so check regularly.

Please join in in welcoming the following speakers:

Alexandra Baackes

Alexandra Baackes is a travel writer and blogger with a passion for sharing colorful stories and energizing images. A New York native with a background in design, she’s spent the past four years living and traveling around the world, and sharing her globetrotting tales with a loyal audience of blog readers. Alex has returned to Thailand over and over again since 2009, making it a home away from home — and thus a meaningful location for her first speaking position at TBEX.

Alexandra will be speaking about brand/blogger relationships.

Andrew Chow

Andrew Chow is a passionate social media and public relations strategist, entrepreneur, speaker and author of Social Media 247 and Public Relations 247. Based in Singapore, his insights into social media strategy, public relations and entrepreneurship have made him a popular speaker across Asia, His mission is to educate professionals on how to leverage social channels for tangible results. Andrew’s career of 27 years has seen him work with an array of clients including BBC, Abbot Medical Optics, Singtel and Sony Pictures.

Andrew will be speaking in the Industry track on using social media for crisis management.

Katie Hammel

Katie Hammel is Viator’s Senior Travel Editor. She manages the Viator blog network and Viator’s blogger ambassador program.

Katie will be speaking about brand/blogger relationships.

Maggie Wu

Maggie Wu is the founder of Fly with Maggie, a conscious and successful effort at enriching the travel sensibilities of modern Chinese travellers. Through her work, Maggie covers a wide spectrum of thoughts that highlight the adventure aspect of travel and the exclusivity of luxurious and exotic getaways. Her goal is to bring like-minded people together and providing with great ways to enjoy culturally rich experiences. With eight years of marketing and PR experience, Maggie is now an entrepreneur creating her own travel brand/

Maggie will be on a panel about the challenges and opportunities about blogging in Asia.

Matt Ridings

Matt Ridings is the former CEO of SideraWorks, and is an entrepreneur, business strategist and speaker who has worked in digital on both the agency and enterprise side since 1994. He ran interactive for the marketing agency of record for such established brands as Levi’s, Cisco, and British Airways as well as the launch of ventures such as Jet Blue and RedSpark. His work over the last 10 years has focused primarily in developing innovation cultures, change management initiatives, and specialized market research.

Matt will be speaking in the Industry track on market research and data.

Michael Collins

Michael Collins has worked in the travel and media industry for 15 years, working as a travel journalist, editor and publisher, In 2006 he founded TravelMedia.ie, a travel specialist PR and representation company. TravelMedia.ie work with airlines, tourist boards, travel agents, hotels and other travel suppliers in Ireland, the UK and Europe. Michael sits on the International Advisory Committee for the French Tourist Board in Paris, advising them of global trends in media, PR and tourism.

Michael willbe speaking in the Industry track about how to integrate media experiences to maximize global trends.

Mitch Canter

Mitch Canter is a digital strategist, WordPress developer, and web designer. He currently works for UpTrending, a Silicon Valley based web design agency. Mitch is also an internationally renowned speaker, traveling across the world to teach people about WordPress and the technologies of the web. He is also a “sometimes-podcaster”, video and text blogger, technology enthusiast, wanna-be swashbuckler and “spoony bard”.

Mitch will be speaking in the Industry track about site usability.

Samantha Wei

Samantha Wei is the co-founder (along with Yeison Kim) of the travel blog My Tan Feet, originally started as a way to document her expat life in Costa Rica and her travels around the country. The blog transitioned into a way to help other travelers experience Costa Rica, as well as to help expats who are considering moving the the country. The blog is now her full time job, sustaining her living expenses and travel habits.

Samantha will be speaking about how to develop an affiliate program.

Yeison Kim

Yeison Kim has a degree in business administration and more than ten years of tourism experience in both the field and in the office. He has mixed his passion for travel, technology, and business in co-founding the travel blog, My Tan Feet (along with Samantha Wei). The blog has now become his full time job, alongside some additional work at internet marketing, web design and consultations.

Yeison will be speaking about how to develop an affiliate program.

We’re still wrapping up a few remaining speaker spots and details and should have the final speaker announcement for you next week. We’re very excited about how the program is shaping up and hoping you’ll find sessions that can help you improve your craft, grow your business, create community, and meet your business goals. See you there!