TBEX 13 Toronto: Call for Speakers


audience at tbex 12 keystone

Today we are opening the call for speakers for TBEX 13 in Toronto.

We get tons of emails and phone calls from people who want to be speakers at our events. We get way more proposals than we could ever use. So how can YOU stand out among the hundreds of proposals that we receive? Simple. First off, head over to read the post full of tips on being a speaker. Go ahead, do that now. That post will let you know what we expect of our speakers, and it also gives you information on what we’re looking for in selecting speakers and topics. It’s a long post, but it will ultimately save you time and give your proposal a better chance of being selected. Seriously. Read it. Even if you’ve spoken at one of our events before, we want you to read through it and note the changes.

A few key things to remember:

  • You must fill out the online speaker form to be considered as a speaker. Not only is this your opportunity to tell us what your idea is all about, it’s full of the necessary legal information needed.
  • We are a B2B event. Our attendees are people in the travel business, whether blogging or otherwise. This is not a consumer travel show.
  • Remember that it’s not about you (the speaker), it’s about the takeaways our attendees will leave with. That’s why the photo at the top of this post is of our audience (at TBEX 12 in Keystone).

We anticipate that we will be able to cover travel expenses for those who are chosen as speakers. We work with a budget, that does influence how many speakers we can have and how much travel expense we can assume, and at the time we notify speakers we will be able to advise on travel expenses.

The call for speakers will remain open until February 1st, 2013. We expect to notify speakers by March 1st, 2013.

Now, before you rush over to fill out the form, please do yourself a favor and go read the post on what we need and expect.

I’m happy to answer any questions you might have, explain anything you don’t understand, or try to help you figure out the process — AFTER you’ve read that post.  Feel free to email me if you have questions.

See you in Toronto!

Photo credit:  TBEX 12 flickr pool


See You in Dublin for TBEX Europe 2013

TBEX Europe 2013 Dublin Ireland

The emails have been flying, the phone a-ringing, and the buzz, well, a-buzzing. Now we can finally share it all with you – TBEX Europe 2013 will be in Dublin, Ireland.

Dublin is a historical and cultural center of Ireland. From the Book of Kells to Guinness, from the Spire of Dublin to Trinity College, from the Christchurch Cathedral to National Museum of Ireland, Dublin has something to offer every travel blogging niche and every travel blogger budget. Rest assured – we’ll be scouting out everything the city has to offer in terms of food, drink, sightseeing, accommodations, and more.

Dublin, the region, and the country of Ireland are excited to be welcoming YOU to TBEX Europe. And we’re very happy and excited to take them up on that renowned hospitality.

TBEX Dublin will be held in October 2013. The exact dates and venue will be confirmed later in the week, but we couldn’t wait one more day to share this news with you.

If you’re as excited as we are, and are interested in attending or being a sponsor for TBEX Dublin, just let us know and we’ll make sure you get the information as soon as it becomes available.

[stextbox id=”alert” caption=”FACTOID” color=”131000″ ccolor=”16e85d” bgcolor=”16e85d” cbgcolor=”131000″]For those of you who live in San Jose (California), Liverpool (U.K.), Matsue (Japan), Barcelona, and Beijing – did you know that Dublin is your twin city?[/stextbox]


Photo credit:  Half Penny Bridge via wikimedia commons

Talking Social Engagement at PhoCus Wright


Hot on the heels of our news that TBEX CEO Rick Calvert will be speaking at WTM this year, we’re pleased to announced that  TBEX Conference Director Mary Jo Manzanares will be speaking at the 2012 PhoCusWright Conference in Arizona.

PhoCusWright is a travel industry research authority that fosters smart strategic planning and tactical decision-making by delivering research on the evolving dynamics that influence travel, tourism and hospitality distribution.  You may have read one of its many white papers on the industry.  PhoCus Wright also offers an annual conference that brings together executives and thought leaders in the travel industry along with travel technology start ups and exhibitors.

Mary Jo will represent TBEX on a panel called “The New Rules of Social Engagement.” Here’s the official description:

Want to build buzz? Connect with bloggers? Drive trial and awareness? Traditional marketing has reached its own “Pivot Point” where the key to driving traffic and hitting milestones is about building and engaging in meaningful conversations with your followers, influencers and the travel blogger community. Join this executive-level discussion on how you should be thinking about your social media investments and PR strategy and help your team efficiently navigate the pitfalls and opportunities in social media to build measurable campaigns that grow your business.

Also on the panel will be Anne Taylor Hartzell of Hip Travel Mama and Spencer Spellman of The Traveling Philosopher, with moderator Joe Megibow of Expedia.  The session will start at 11:30 am on Wednesday, November 14. The full PhoCusWright program is here

Now, we realize that PhoCusWright is beyond the budget of most travel bloggers – honestly, it’s beyond the budget of many travel companies – but don’t worry, Mary Jo will bring back all kinds of great information and contacts that will benefit TBEXers in the future.  And if you’ll  be at PhoCusWright, be sure to contact Mary Jo and schedule a good time to meet up.

[stextbox id=”info” caption=”What do you think?”]What do you hope Mary Jo and the others discuss on their social engagement panel at PhoCusWright? Share in the comments below![/stextbox]

Sorting the Bloggers from the Blaggers at WTM


The “EX” in TBEX covers many bases – an exchange of ideas, knowledge, and (when we get together at conferences) business cards.  Increasingly that exchange is growing to include exchanges with destinations and  travel industry representatives. And that latter exchange is something we want to keep improving upon.

Next month, TBEX’s CEO, Rick Calvert, is headed to London for the World Travel Market trade show where, among other activities, he’ll be speaking on a panel at the WTM Social Travel Market on the topic of  “How to sort the bloggers from the blaggers.” This session is geared toward travel companies and PR representatives who want to work with travel bloggers, but who might not know how to tell whether they’ve got the best bloggers for their particular clients.

As we heard during a session at TBEX in Girona, quantifying the “value” of a blogger is tricky (if not impossible), so what is the travel industry to do? Rick and his co-panelist, Ayngelina Brogan (of Bacon is Magic), will attempt to sort some of this out for WTM attendees, giving suggestions and recommendations for how to find the right blogger for the right project.

Here’s the official session description:

By now, every PR and travel company has its own list of favoured bloggers. But there is no centralised list, no directory of the good – and the poor – bloggers. There was a stab at Tbex in Girona recently to quantify the value of a blogger – and semantic algorithms are on their way. Meanwhile, it’s the Wild West out there, so enter two speakers to help clarify things. Ayngelina is part of a team who have created the Professional Travel Bloggers Association, while Rick runs Blogworld out of North America and, a year ago, bought The Travel Bloggers’ Exchange (TBEX). They’ll tell you what it takes, and what 2013 holds in terms of sorting the blaggers from the bloggers.

This is, of course, a much bigger discussion than just an hour-long chat at WTM.

Some of you may remember discussions about an independent vetting process for bloggers and a sort of blogger code of conduct at previous editions of TBEX, and the subsequent creation of TBEX Connect.

It seems like there’s a desire to have a quick-fix directory where connections can be made based on quantifiable criteria as well as qualitative research.  But has that concept reached critical mass yet? Does a directory run the risk of short cutting the due diligence that needs to be done by both sides?  Or is it maybe that the perfect system hasn’t yet been put forward?

[stextbox id=”info” caption=”What do you think?”]What do you want to hear Rick and Ayngelina address during their WTM panel? Share in the comments below![/stextbox]

If you’ll be attending the WTM Social Travel Market, Rick and Ayngelina’s session, “How to sort the bloggers from the blaggers,” is in the South Gallery, Rooms 23-26 from 2:30-3:30 on Wednesday, November 7. The discussion will be moderated by Steve Keenan.

So You Want to be a Speaker at TBEX 13: Tips, Procedures & Information


Toronto skyline

Next week we’ll be opening up the speaker submissions for TBEX 2013 in Toronto. We get tons of speakers submissions and even more emails about wanting to be a speaker at one of our events. Unfortunately, far too many of these ideas and submissions are the wrong fit for our audience. Sometimes we have been able to take the germ of an idea, have further discussion, and turn it into a great submission. Other times we can’t.

We want to introduce new speakers and new topics to our TBEX attendees. To help you with the submission process, to let you know what we expect of our speakers, and to give you information on what we’re looking for, we’ve prepared this list tips and information. Fair warning, it’s a lengthy list. That’s because we take our obligation to provide a quality program seriously. If you’re serious about being a speaker at TBEX, reading, understanding and following these guidelines will serve you well.

Here’s the best advice I can give you on how to be selected as a speaker for TBEX Toronto.

The call for speakers for TBEX Toronto is now open. Here’s the submission form to use, after you read the rest of this post!

Choose Your Topic Carefully

Make your topic narrow. All too often we see topics so broad that the information about it could fill several shelves at the library. Attendees universally complain about sessions with too broad of a focus. Instead, zero in on one or two aspects of the topic and see if that makes for a more manageable focus. Sessions are slotted for one hour, which should include about 10-15 minutes for questions and answers, and without a laser-like focus you won’t be able to send attendees home with useful information.

Attendees don’t really care about you, what you’ve done, or how important the topic is to you. They care about what’s in it for them, about what they can take away and use on their own blog or in their own business. Make sure you provide them with a valuable answer to the question “what’s in it for me?” Just because it’s your pet topic doesn’t mean everyone else will care, so make sure you’ve thought about it from the attendee perspective.

If your topic is all about your product, your website, or you, it’s probably not the right topic for a session. Our focus is strongly on education and we have a no selling from the platform policy. If you have a product to sell we’re excited for you, and we’ll gladly quote you a rate for a marketplace table. This applies to bloggers as well as industry representatives.

Are you committed to TBEX or committed only to speaking? Do you believe in what we’re trying to do to provide learning and networking opportunities for travel bloggers or are you looking for a free trip to somewhere fun. We select topics and speakers who can held educate our attendees both in their sessions and through networking over the course of our entire event. Preference is given to speakers who are available and who plan to attend the full event, not just speak and leave.

Co-presentations, with each speaker taking a portion of a topic, are generally better received than solo ones. While you may be a subject matter expert, ask yourself if including co-presenters might give the topic a more well rounded coverage.

Presentations should not always be about presenters agreeing with one another, so don’t be afraid to get differing opinions and viewpoints in a session. It gives the attendees more to relate to and think about.

Most sessions should be targeted toward an intermediate skill level, although a few beginner and advanced sessions will be included. Most of our attendees consider themselves at an intermediate skill level, but we also need to provide content to attract beginners to TBEX and to keep and challenge the advanced bloggers. In submitting your proposal, give us an honest appraisal of the skill level you are aiming at. We are looking for some advanced sessions for Toronto – those geared to bloggers who’ve been at it for awhile, who are established and successful. These sessions should focus on advanced, in depth discussions that can provide a different way of looking at the status quo, that challenge long-held beliefs, and that create the rumblings of a philosophical discussion that can revolutionize travel blogging.

You should be able to provide a brief description of what your session is about. If it takes too long to explain it, chances are that you need to go back and re-think the focus.

Pay attention to writing about the takeaways an attendee will get from your session. This is the most important part of the conference for attendees, so spend some time thinking about what message and information you want to convey. If these aren’t specific, go back to the drawing board. Keep in mind that attendees will be evaluating your session on how you lived up to your promise of the takeaways – your session needs to deliver what you say it will.

But wait, there’s more, so keep reading

[Read more…]

TBEX Europe Survey is Out

Now that nearly everyone is back home from their extended travels in Europe post-TBEX, we’ve got our survey together and ready to hit your inbox.

We want to know what you think about TBEX Europe! From the parties to the keynotes. From the pre and post-conference day trips to the break out sessions. From the party at the castle to the extended stay hotel options. From the topics to the speakers to the venue, it’s all fair game as you give us your feedback on what worked, what didn’t, and what you’d like to see next year for TBEX Europe 13.

The survey is anonymous, although you have the option to leave contact information if you wish. You feedback is important to us, so please take the time to tell us what you think.

Check your email inbox- and your spam file, too, just in case.  If you don’t receive the survey please let us know.

Photo credit: SXC

New Media Expo Launches #NMXU Scholarship


There may be relatively low barriers to entry when it comes to starting a blog, but in order to get to the next level of blogging success sometimes there are investments to make. For many bloggers, that includes attending a blogging conference in order to meet and learn from the people who have blazed the trail. The price tag on big conferences can be cost-prohibitive for some bloggers just starting out, which is why we’re excited to announce today the launch of the New Media Expo University Scholarship.

New Media Expo, TBEX’s parent company, is the first and only industry-wide tradeshow, conference and media event dedicated to promoting blogging and new media. It’s an awesome opportunity to learn from and be inspired by some of the leaders in our still-growing world. With today’s announcement of a New Media Expo University Scholarship, attending the conference is about to become easier for one person.

What You Can Win

Offered as part of the new New Media Expo University (#NMXU) educational project, this scholarship will provide a complete educational experience at New Media Expo in Las Vegas from January 6-8, 2013, to one lucky recipient. The #NMXU scholarship winner will receive:

  • A three-day Blogger/Podcaster/Web TV & Video pass
  • Travel from anywhere in the Continental United States
  • Four days hotel stay at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas (while New Media Expo ’13 is in session)

Who Can Apply

The scholarship is only open to content creators – that means bloggers, podcasters, or webTV/video producers – who are in the early stages of their new media careers or promising up-and-comers but who may not have the financial means to attend NMX otherwise. The #NMXU scholarship is open to applicants from anywhere in the world, but please note that the scholarship only includes transportation to/from Las Vegas once you’re in the continental U.S. Two runners up will each receive a three day Blogger/Podcaster/WebTV and Video pass.

How to Apply

Applications will be accepted through October 31, and you’ll need to answer an essay question in your chosen medium – a 250-word written paragraph, a 30-second audio recording, or a 30-second video. The #NMXU Deans (AKA judges) will review all entries and choose the eventual scholarship recipient.

You’ll find all the details about how to enter, what’s expected of the #NMXU scholarship recipient while at the conference, who the Deans are, and a link to the application form on the #NMXU page.

What are you waiting for?

We love all sorts of bloggers, and of course we’d be over the moon if a TBEXer was chosen to receive the #NMXU scholarship. We know there are plenty of you who are just getting started with travel blogging and want to kick-start your learning curve – and this is a fine way to do it. So get your thinking caps on, put together a great application, and GOOD LUCK!

(Oh, and hey – when you’re telling your friends about it on the Twitterz, be sure to use the #NMXU hashtag, wouldja?)

photo by Ken Yeung @thekenyeung

It’s a Wrap: TBEX Europe in Girona, Spain

houses along the river in Girona, Costa Brava

It seems like we were just getting excited about going to Spain and now TBEX Europe is a thing of the past.  It came and went, and in between there was plenty of great food, opportunities for learning and to do business, and plenty of fun.  But don’t take our word for it, read what others are saying.  (And while you’re at it, why not register for TBEX 13 in Toronto.)

Here’s what you’re saying about TBEX:

  1. I’m on Spanish TV
  2. 5 Ways TBEX Could Have Been Better
  3. Catalunya Castell Human Towers
  4. Postcard from Girona, Spain
  5. Success as a Travel Blogger
  6. Word Press at TBEX Europe
  7. What Can 350 Bloggers at TBEX Teach?
  8. The TBEX Girona Sessions
  9. Live at TBEX Europe
  10. TBEX Girona, the Pyrenees and Beaches of Costa Brava
  11. Destination TBEX
  12. TBEX Europe:  Blogging, Medieval Castles, and Endless Ham
  13. Von Reisebloggern, mongolischen Knochen und dem spanischen Willy Wonka – die TBEX in Girona
  14. My Thoughts on TBEX Girona
  15. Things to Think about after TBEX
  16. TBEX Conference – Girona, Costa Brava Spain
  17. Marketing, manipulation and authenticity: lessons learned at TBEX
  18. TBEX Girona 2012 Slideshow set to Spanish Pop
  19. Girona, Spain: Diamonds are a girl’s best friend.
  20. TBEX: Reisebloggen wird professioneller
  21. About TBEX Europe…
  22. Travel Blogger Conference TBEX 2012: SWAG
  23. #TBEX in Gerona – A Wrap Up
  24. I got my 1st tattoo ever at the annual TBEX circus in Girona this year.
  25. Making friends around the world
  26. I came, I saw, I kissed ass…
  27. TBEX From a Newbie’s Perspective
  28. Costa Brava in an Instagram
  29. A newbie in TBEX: a catalan impression
  30. TBU or TBEX? Travel Blogging Conferences
  31. Review: TBEX in Costa Brava (this post also appeared on the Lonely Planet blog here)
  32. Girona – Das geheime Herz von Katalonien
  33. TBEX EU Keynote – This Week in Travel #124
  34. Palate Perfeccion
  35. TBEX Europe Offers A Taste of Spain
  36. Costa Brava in Photos via Instagram
  37. In BIG pictures: Girona and Barcelona
  38. TBEX Does Europe
  39. Sopar Inaugural TBEX Europe Costa Brava 2012
  40. Photo Essay from around Costa Brava
  41. Girona – For Ever In My And Other Travel Bloggers Hearts
  42. Post TBEX Reflections
  43. TBEX – Girona, Spain
  44. Facing my Fears – Hot Air Ballooning in Costa Brava, Spain
  45. TBEX Speed Blogging Competition Results
  46. Remember how I told you I was invited to a party in a Castle in Spain?
  47. El celler de Can Roca 2nd best restaurant in the world
  48. Case study #inCostaBrava campaign – Podcast interview with Jaume Marin
  49. Costa Brava, Spain’s Northeast Coast: Getting There
  50. So, you want to go to Spain’s Brave Coast? Seaside L’Estartit
  51. Medieval villages along the Costa Brava of Spain: Begur
  52. TBEX Europe – Been there, done that (Travel bloggers exchange)
  53. Through the lens: Girona, Spain
  54. Flavors of Catalonia
  55. Bacon Wrapped Bananas & Other Discoveries in Girona
  56. Dalí! Amazing Museum: Adventure-a-Day #20
  57. What I REALLY Learned at TBEX Europe
  58. TBEX12 in Girona, Spain
  59. All-in-One Month: A TBU, TBEX, & Danish Experience
  60. Travel Blogging: Viable career or self-congratulatory flautence?
  61. TBEX Europe 2012 in Review
  62. A week in Costa Brava: initial photos
  63. Gaudi in “Context”
  64. Five Things I Never Knew Until TBEX Europe 2012 In Costa Brava
  65. Europe vs USA: Does it Really Matter? A Few Post-TBEX Thoughts
  66. Some place to deserve a second chance
  67. Old Town Girona in Catalonia, Spain for Historic Travel
  68. Hotel Balneari Prats TBEX 2012 Blogtrip
  69. #TBE12 vs #TBEX Girona: Italy beats Spain 4-1
  70. Girona. More than a six-letter word near Barcelona while booking a Ryanair flight.
  71. Solo Female Travel Tips from Adventurous Kate
  72. Getting to Know Girona
  73. Why Attend a Travel Blogging Conference: TBEX Castle Party
  74. Girona a medieval revelation
  75. Rocambolesc: could it be Spain’s finest ice cream parlour?
  76. Takeaways from TBEX
  77. Girona. Barcelona. David. Goliath?
  78. An Alien Universe

 NOTE:  We will be updating this list regularly. Have you written a post-Girona review, wrap-up, photo essay, or anything else related to the conference? Leave a comment below with the link, send us a tweet @TBEXevents, or let us know on the Facebook page – we want to hear your feedback, and we want to share your posts with other TBEX blog readers!

Blogger Opportunity with Eric Vökel


Eric Vokel apartments Barcelona & Madrid


Having a well located, upscale apartment as a home base is a great way to explore a city.  TBEX sponsor Eric Vökel has launched an ongoing promotion with bloggers who are planning a visit to Barcelona or Madrid to provide them with just such a home base.

Eric Vökel boutique apartments provide a welcoming and comfortable place to stay, offering fully furnished and appointed residences in Barcelona (three locations) and Madrid. All of the building have been recently built or completely renovated and are used solely for guests. The apartments are eco-friendly in design and use efficient solar panels to provide energy. Each apartment is equipped with all household apartments, a full equipped kitchen, washer and dryer, large screen television, wi-fi, and other upscale features.

Bloggers interested in a complimentary stay at one of the Eric Vökel apartments may request a stay subject to the following requirements:

  • Write a blog post or social media reference prior to the stay
  • Write a blog post after the stay providing a review of the apartment or an explanation of the stay. Your honest opinion in requested.
  • Your blog must be related to travel, lifestyle, family activities, or interior design.
  • You should have at least 1,000 followers on Twitter
  • You should have at least 500 fans on Facebook

If you meet all of the above requirements, you can request your stay by contacting their PR agency via email, using the subject line “Bloggers and Eric” and include the following information:

  • Blogger name
  • One sentence describing yourself
  • URL of your blog, and links to your Twitter account and Facebook page
  • Indicate the city you are interested in (Barcelona or Madrid)
  • Date you would like to stay
  • Number of guests

The selection process includes a review of the provided information and then a check on availability. Bloggers will be contacted personally to discuss options, potential for coverage, and to answer any other questions. And hey – do we need to say it? Following these instructions helps to increase the likelihood of your request being granted.

A big thanks to Eric Vökel for sponsoring TBEX and providing this opportunity to bloggers planning a future visit to Spain. If you’re at TBEX in Girona stop by the Eric Vökel table located in the lobby and let them know how much you appreciate their commitment to travel bloggers.

TBEX is Looking for Guest Bloggers

Did you know the TBEX blog has a guest room?

Well, metaphorically speaking, anyway.

While most of the blog posts here recently have been dedicated to the upcoming conference in Costa Brava, we’re always looking for bloggers who are interested in submitting guest posts. We’re happy to feature all kinds of blog-related and travel-related topics – tips about photography or writing, advice on the tech side of blogging, information about marketing oneself as a travel blogger, creative revenue-generation ideas, and more.

Maybe you’ve got visitor tips for an upcoming TBEX conference destination? Perhaps you’d like to share your thoughts on how attendees can get the most out of a travel blogging conference? Get creative with your ideas – convince us that it’s of interest to the travel blogging community!

Do you have an idea for a blog post you think would fit on the TBEX blog? We want to hear about it. Send me an email (jessica [at] tbexcon [dot] com) with your post idea in a few sentences, and why you’re the right person to write about that topic. If we like your idea, we’ll set a date – and fluff the guest room pillows for your arrival.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Creative Commons photo by Spree2010 on Flickr