Call for Speakers: TBEX North America 2016 in Minnesota


Today we are opening the Call for Speakers for TBEX North America 2016 in Minnesota. Our venue for the event is the Radisson Blu Hotel located at the Mall of America. This convenient location will provide a convenient location for attendes arriving into the international airport (MSP), and will serve as an easy home base for tours, activities, and Blogger FAM trips throughout the rest of the region and state.

For planning purposes, and to maximize your TBEX experience, we recommend speakers and attendees allow a few days before and after the conference dates to enjoy the pre- and post- tours and activities, along with Blogger FAM trips. Put the dates are your calendar (May 29-31, 2016), and start planning for TBEX North America 2016.

More information about the pre- and post-BEX programming will be announced as it becomes available; this general time frame is provided to help you decide if you can commit to the dates and schedule before submitting your speaker application.

If you are interested in speaking at TBEX North America 2016, we ask that you read this information about what we are looking for before submitting your application.

Our goal with this information is to help you understand what we are looking to feature on the program, which will, in turn, help you determine the best topic for your proposal.

Please read this information in its entirety, even if you’ve submitted or spoken at past TBEX events. We have tried to be specific about what we are looking for, and it varies from year-to-year and by event. Understanding our programming style and focus will help you submit a successful proposal. Your submission is your chance to make a great first impression, and here are some tips to help you do just that.

How to Select a Topic and Submit Your Session

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

What to Avoid in Your Topic Selection & Submission

  • No consumer travel topics.
  • Your session should not be a product pitch, nor promotional for your blog, company, or services. Promotion and buzz about your company will naturally flow from delivering a high quality session. Attendees do not want to pay to attend a self promoting session.

Other helpful information

  • All speaker submissions must be submitted via the submission form.
  • If you have an idea for a educational session and want some help in narrowing it down, crafting a better angle, etc., I am happy to discuss ideas with you before you fill out the form. You can email me here, and we can discuss via email, phone call, or Skype chat. However, after all of the brainstorming, I will still refer you back to the submission form.
  • We are always looking for new speakers for our events and are excited to bring fresh new ideas to our community. While it varies at each event, we have in excess of 50% first time speakers on our program every single event.
  • Preference is given to speakers who will attend and participate in the entire TBEX event. If for some reason you are not able to do so, please make a note of this in your submission form.  This is not a deal breaker, but we need to know in advance.
  • We expect that speakers will not promote or attend any event that conflicts with official TBEX programming. This includes pre- and post- events.
  • We do not pay a speaker fee.
  • All speakers receive complimentary registration. We do not cover expenses beyond registration for industry attendees.
  • Coverage of blogger expenses (economy class transportation and accommodations) will be discussed upon confirmation of a speaking slot, and will be based on information provided in your submission. Should you not need travel expenses covered, please let us know in your submission.

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

The Most Important Thing About Speaking at TBEX

It’s fun!

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

Now it’s time to refine your idea, put your best pitching hat on, and send us your submission for a GREAT TBEX session.


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