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).

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

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!

 

Pre-Bex Activities for TBEX Asia in Thailand

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To help all of our TBEX Asia 2015 attendees Discover Thainess, our hosts have put together pre-bex activities around key themes of  Thai Fun, Thai Festivity, Thai Food, Thai Way of Life, Thai Wellness, Thai Arts, and Thai Wisdom. With multiple options within each of these themes, we know you’ll find your own personal way to discover your own special Thainess.

These activities will be offered on October 14-15th, you’ll be finished in time to attend the opening night party on the 15th), and there is also a selection on October 18th. (Please note that Blogger FAM trips will be on October 19-21; information coming soon.)

Please read and understand the following terms and conditions before signing up for one of these activities.

  • Only registered conference attendees can sign up for tours. Pre-bex activities are open to both blogger and industry attendees and are offered on a first come, first serve basis. No guests, companions, or plus-ones are permitted.
  • You must be 18 years of age or older to participate in these activities.
  • You must sign up with the same email address used as when you registered for TBEX Asia 2015. If you haven’t done so yet, head over to register now so you won’t miss out on your top choice activity. If you are not registered for TBEX Asia 2015, your sign up will be cancelled.
  • You must sign up individually for your selected activity; you cannot sign up on behalf of another person.
  • You may only sign up for one activity per person. If you sign up for more than one, both sign ups will be cancelled and space will be released. Choose carefully. The activities will be opened up for additional signups closer to the event date.
  • If you make an error in your selection, you should log into your Eventbrite account and cancel the erroneous selection. You can then sign up for your preferred selection.
  • Our hosts have additional tours and activities that will be added next week. We didn’t want to hold off of announcing what we have any longer as we know that many of you are waiting for these details to finalize your travel plans. Please check back frequently as we’ll update these activities as more become available.

SIGN UP FOR THESE ACTIVITIES WILL OPEN AT 10 AM PACIFIC TIME ON SUNDAY, AUGUST 23rd

A very BIG THANK YOU to the Tourism Authority of Thailand and their partners for putting together this great group of activities.

Ready? Go take a look at the TBEX 2015 Asia pre-bex activity and post-bex activity pages. Then get ready for sign up to open. Remember – only ONE activity (in total) per person at this time.

NOTE:  Information about multi-day blogger trips will be announced separately.

Applications for TBEX North America 2015 Blogger FAM Trips Now Open

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UPDATE:  The deadline for application for these Blogger FAM trips has been extended to September 8th, 5 pm Pacific Time.

 

The application for the Blogger FAM trips are now open. The dates for the trips are October 25-28th, and you will return in time to participate in the opening night party on the evening of October 28th.

The trips are planned around three themes:  Food Journey, Thrill Seeker, and Luxury Lauderdale. You will find general information about these trips on our Blogger FAM Trip page.  Additional information will be provided to all invited participants.

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 and second choice of trips.

The deadline to apply for these trips is September 4th, 5 pm Pacific Time.

At that time, the application process will be closed, organized, and submitted to our hosts in Fort Lauderdale. 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 apply for the Blogger FAM trips here.

Kei Shibata to Keynote at TBEX Asia 2015

kei_shibata_photoWe are excited to announce that Kei Shibata will keynote at TBEX Asia 2015 in Bangkok, Thailand.

Talking about TBEX gives us the opportunity to meet and talk with a lot of interesting people, and after talking with Kei we knew that his knowledge of technology and travel, along with his infectious way of sharing it , was something that we wanted to share with you.

Kei co-founded and runs Venture Republic Inc., the company that owns Japan’s largest online travel search engine and online travel guide media “Travel.jp”. As CEO, he took the company public in 2008 (2177. JASDAQ) after 7 years of operations.

A seasoned executive with extensive knowledge of online media, online travel and e-commerce, Kei is responsible for driving the company by shaping its strategy, making commercialization efforts and building organization.

While running the company, he serves as an active investor and board member of various tech startups including Flocations (Singapore), Telunjuk (Indonesia) and Allstay (South Korea). Previously, Kei worked at Mitsubishi Corporation, Japan’s leading trading & investment firm.

He received a BA of Laws from Keio University and an MBA from the Harvard Business School. He also serves as co-founder of WIT (Web in Travel) Japan, President of Venture Mitakai at Keio University, and Executive Committee Member of Harvard Business School Club of Japan.

Please join us at TBEX Asia 2015 to hear Kei talk about the intersection of travel and technology, his predictions for future growth, and what that means to travel bloggers.

See you there!

Fort Lauderdale Hotels Announced for TBEX North America 2015

FLL map

We’ve got hotel information for community members who will be joining us in Fort Lauderale for TBEX North America 2015.

Our headquarters hotel will be the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina, and we’ll have special rates available for those who want to stay there. This is the closest hotel to the Convention Center and is within walking distance (about 500 steps). We will have that information updated to the hotel list ASAP.

We have a diverse list of other hotels that have offered special TBEX pricing and amenities ranging from $109 to $159 per night. All official TBEX North America 2015 hotels offer free wifi. Some offer kitchens in the room, complimentary airport transportation, and/or complimentary breakfast.

The map above is for general reference only. Most of hotels are within walking distance to the Convention Center, some as close as three blocks, others a bit farther at about half a mile (or so) away. Since definitions of “walking distance” may vary, we suggest that you use your preferred mapping program to see how close your hotel is to the Convention Center using the “walking” route. We have mapped out the official hotels here.

There is no public transportation to the Convention Center.

NOTE:  Our hosts have provided the list of negotiated deals for your consideration, but please note that you are not required to stay at one of the official TBEX hotels.

Another TBEX North America 2015 Speaker Announcement

FLL speaker group 2

We’re please to announce another group of speakers for TBEX North America in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Auston Matta

Auston is a blogger and freelance writer and has contributed to Edge Travel, Man About World, Gaycation Magazine, and more. He grew up in Phoenix, later moved to Chicago and in 2012 sold his belongings and embarked on a round-the-world trip. After traveling non-stop for a year, he finally settled in Spain with his husband. When he’s not traveling or writing about events, festivals or the best LGBT destinations, he enjoys the long sunny days and nightlife of Madrid.

Auston will be speaking in the industry track about marketing to the LGBT community.

Chris Gray Faust

Chris Gray Faust is Senior Editor at Cruise Critic, where she oversees all of the website’s destination and port content, as well as news coverage and blog. Creator and publisher of Chris Around The World, Chris has won a Lowell Thomas Travel Writing award for blogging and has worked as a staff writer at the (New Orleans) Times-Picayune, the Philadelphia Inquirer and USA TODAY, where she served as travel editor. She has a journalism degree from Northwestern University and a master’s degree from Brown University.

Chris will be leading a session on how to write a review.

Dave Bouskill & Deb Corbeil

Dave Bouskill and Deb Corbeil founded ThePlanetD after cycling the continent of Africa. Now well-known travel personalities both online and in mainstream media, they make regular TV and radio appearances as travel experts. ThePlanetD won Gold Medal for Best Travel blog at the Society of American Travel writers, and has been featured in major international media outlets such as The Today Show, BBC Travel, Canada AM, National Geographic and more. Dave won SATW’s best Photo Illustration of Travel, and has been named one of the top travel instagrammers by publications such as USA Today, Yahoo Travel, Forbes, and more. Dave and Deb have worked closely with destinations on major campaigns, and have worked with dozens of brands and tourism boards on individual travel projects.

Dave and Deb will be speaking in the industry track on strategic blogger-brand campaigns.

Jessica Woodbury

Jessica Woodbury has been blogging since 2001 and had a previous career as a lawyer before she pivoted to digital marketing. Jessica was on the SEO team at Wayfair.com where she started the innovative Homemaker blogger program. She is now at Commision Junction helping bloggers monetize and build their businesses through affiliate marketing. She still blogs regularly and is a contributor for several sites including the Huffington Post.

Jessica will be speaking on affiliate marketing.

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 on how to be the blogger that all brands want to work with.

Marko & Alex Ayling

Marko and Alex Ayling, vagabonds and brothers, are known online as the Vaga-brothers. They’re travel videographers, photographers and writers – globally-engaged storytellers on a mission to explore the planet by connecting with other young people and inspiring viewers to do the same. They produce a weekly online travel show aimed at young travelers who are interested in discovering the world through its cultures.

Marko and Alex will be speaking about building a YouTube channel and community.

Rachelle Lucas

A foodie with a zest for life and passion for travel, Rachelle Lucas has been blogging since 2007 when she started documenting her life as an innkeeper. As her wanderlust grew, she sold the inn to pursue travel writing full-time and has since been to over 40 countries in pursuit of the tastiest meal. She’s been recognized in PEOPLE Magazine, USA Today, and Trip Advisor.  as one of the Top 25 Culinary Travel Blogs to follow.

Rachelle will be talking about how to use your community presence to become a paid Twitter influencer.

Syed Balkhi

Syed is the founder of WPBeginner (the largest free WordPress resource site) and List25, a fairly large entertainment site with over 1.4 Million subscribers and 245 Million video views. Syed’s work has been featured in Inc, Fox Business, Forbes, Entrepreneur, Washington Post, and countless other well-reputed online magazines.

Syed will be speaking about content strategy.

Sharon Gourlay

Sharon Gourlay is a travel blogger, internet marketer and passionate about working online and being location independent. She is a permanent nomad and shares her travels with her young family with the world, as well as how she makes an online income.

Sharon will be speaking about SEO.

Look for additional speaker and program announcements about TBEX at Sea, TBEX Asia, and TBEX North America, all coming up this week.

TBEX North America 2015 Pre-Bex Tours and Activities

 

paddle boarding fort lauderdale

Pre-bex tours for TBEX North America 2015 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, are now available for review. There are activity choices available for October 27-28th at various time throughout the day.

UPDATE:  Please read out policy regarding children at TBEX here. Children are unable to be accommodated on these pre-bex activities and excursions. If you have registered your children for TBEX and are looking for appropriate activities, please contact Mary Jo for further information.

What do you have to look forward to?

There are tours and activities themed around kayaking, history, nature, and beer. Around sailing, eco-tourism, LGBQT interests, and the Seminole Nation. Around shopping, photography, fishing, and so much more. We know you’ll have a tough time choosing what to sign up for.

But choose  you must. That’s why we’re giving you a preview of the list of activities in advance of the sign up opening. The listing includes specific information about the activity, including the date, time and duration, and how many people the tour can accommodate. There are lots of activities to review and we want to give you plenty of time to look them over and make your selection.

Here’s what you should know about signing up for the trips:

  • Only registered conference attendees can sign up for tours.
  • You must sign up with the same email address used as when you registered for TBEX North America 2015. If you haven’t done so yet, head over to register now so you won’t miss out on your top choice activity. If you are not registered for TBEX North America 2015, your sign up will be cancelled.
  • Pre-bex activities are open to both blogger and industry attendees and are offered on a first come, first serve basis.
  • You must sign up individually for your selected activity; you cannot sign up on behalf of another person.
  • You may only sign up for one activity per person. If you sign up for more than one, both sign ups will be cancelled and space will be released. Choose carefully.
  • However, if you make an error in your selection, you should log into your Eventbrite account and cancel the erroneous selection. You can then sign up for your preferred selection.
  • The page will be updated if additional tours become available.

Sign up for these activities will open at 10 am Pacific Time on Monday, August 10th.

A very BIG THANK YOU to Greater Fort Lauderdale and their partners for putting together this great group of activities.

Ready? Go take a look at the TBEX 2015 North America pre-bex activity page. Then get ready for sign up to open on Monday.

NOTE:  Information about multi-day blogger trips will be announced separately.

Register for TBEX Travel Writing Workshop at TBEX Asia 2015

Don George headshot

Don George wrote the book on travel writing. Literally. And as the co-founder and chairman of the acclaimed Book Passage Travel Writers and Photographers Conference, he knows a thing or two about teaching travel writing.

Don is returning to TBEX to teach this small group travel writing workshop, and we open registration for it today.

During the workshop, Don  will focus on the art and craft of travel writing: how to find, shape and build a successful travel story. You’ll learn what can make your travel story stand out from the crowd.  He’ll cover some of the practicalities of being a travel writer in the field – what to do when you land in a place, how to move through it, how to process what are you looking for.

The workshop will be a mix of lectures and in-the-field writing exercises and discussion.

Don’s goal – and ours – is for you to come away from this workshop with a clear sense of your options for travel publishing, how to construct a compelling travel story, what it takes to break into different media and how to move from one level to the next, and how to apprehend and evoke a place most effectively as a travel writer.

This small group session is limited to a maximum of 10 participants, and is open to registered TBEX Asia 2015 attendees only. Add on workshop fee is $200.

Register for the Travel Writing Workshop at TBEX Asia 2015 here.