TBEX: What I Learnt at My First Journey Bloggers Convention


I lately attended my first-ever journey running a blog convention, TBEX Asia 2022 held in Phuket, Thailand. Yep, that’s proper – conferences for journey bloggers are a factor!

I actually wasn’t certain what to anticipate from such a occasion. It was an funding to attend, by way of each money and time. In truth, I had umm’d and ahh’d over whether or not to attend or not for fairly just a few weeks earlier than taking the plunge and reserving my ticket.

That is my private ideas and reflections on my first TBEX. I’ll share my expertise, some insider suggestions and issues to contemplate if you’re attending, in addition to professional’s and con’s from my time at TBEX Asia 2022.

Consider – I’ve been journey running a blog for two years now and would think about myself intermediate to skilled by way of expertise for issues like search engine optimization, working with manufacturers/DMOs and social media.

What’s TBEX?

TBEX stands for Journey Blogger Change. The conferences have been working since 2009 and has grown to be an occasion that’s (normally) held 3 times a 12 months in every of the important thing areas; North America, Europe and Asia.

TBEX Asia 2022 was the primary in a few years because of the pandemic, and I had heard had round 300 attendees.

The attendees have been principally journey bloggers, however there have been additionally podcasters, content material creators, influencers, journey writers and different creatives in attendance.

There have been those that had been running a blog for 10+ years, and there have been attendees who had solely been running a blog for just a few months.

There’s additionally a robust attendance by native tourism operators, tourism boards and types.

How A lot Does it Price to Attend TBEX?

To attend as a creator, it prices me US$347 (~A$500) for my ticket. The worth of the tickets enhance because it will get nearer to the occasion, so if you’re considering of attending, it’s higher to enroll earlier to reap the benefits of early fowl costs (and likewise to register for a fam journey, however extra on that quickly).

This can be a important value for many, myself included. Plus it’s essential think about the price of journey to attend and keep throughout the convention. TBEX facilitate diminished charges for associate motels which helps with the price of lodging.

Ultimately, together with the price of flights and lodging I paid round AUD $2,000. Carry on studying if you wish to hear if I feel it was price the fee to attend…

What’s Included in TBEX?

It took me some time to get my head round how the convention works, and what’s included in your ticket.

Let me break it down for you, together with all of the need-to-know jargon.

It could differ barely for every area, however TBEX Asia 2022 consisted of 4 formal days of occasions.

  • Day 1 and a couple of consisted of Pre-BEX Excursions. Day 3 and 4 have been the precise Convention days which included keynote shows, break-out classes and velocity networking.
  • There have been additionally nightly occasions; Opening Night time Get together on Day 2, Night Get together on Day 3 and the Closing Get together on Day 4.
  • For those who had bought tickets early sufficient and registered, there have been additionally 2-day hosted FAM journeys after the convention in varied areas of Thailand.
From airport to catamaran – dwelling my greatest pre-BEX tour life!

Pre-BEX Excursions

Pre-Bex Excursions have been out there for all attendees. These have been half-day or full day excursions on provide within the native space. To enroll, it was first-come first-served. I signed up for Day 1 “Energy Catamaran Maiton Island” tour with Nikorn Marine, which was snorkelling tour to a close-by island off the coast of Phuket. Day 2 was a half-day Strolling Tour of Phuket Outdated City with an lively and humorous native information, Tiwa.

Each these excursions have been incredible, and everybody else I spoke to essentially loved their respective actions / excursions. They have been additionally the place I made the closest connections with fellow bloggers and creators. The excursions have been a good way to informally chat with everybody within the tour and get to know them higher.

Whereas this was additionally doable in the course of the convention and on the nightly events, the size and high quality of conversations I used to be in a position to have on these day excursions offered the most effective networking alternatives.

In case you plan on attending, be sure to plan forward to be within the host metropolis to attend the Pre-BEX excursions! For each the worth of the exercise, however for the networking connections it gives.

Convention – Shows

After a jam-packed Day 1 and Day 2, I’d felt like I’d already been in Thailand for per week!

Then it was time for the official convention to begin. Every day was related, beginning with a keynote presenter, adopted by break-out classes in the course of the day after which velocity networking classes to shut the afternoon.

Inspiring opening keynote from Kyle Jennerman

I discovered each the keynote presenters on each days good. The break-out classes have been a little bit of a blended bag – it may be onerous to glean from the title and temporary abstract on the TBEX web site what every speaker was truly going to be speaking about intimately. Some classes have been incredible, others have been slightly bit extra primary for me.

Earlier than going to TBEX, I had heard and skim blended opinions in regards to the break-out classes and high quality of presenters. Nevertheless, I went into the convention with the mindset of going to achieve connections and construct my community, not a lot to construct my “technical expertise” from listening to shows.

Both approach, I nonetheless picked up just a few concepts and nuggets from these shows which I’ll implement in my enterprise. For the classes you don’t attend, it’s best to have the ability to entry them post-TBEX as they have been recorded. I’ve just a few on my checklist I would like to observe after rave critiques from different attendees, so trying ahead to with the ability to make amends for the few I missed.

Participating presentation by the fabulous Megan from bloggeratlarge.com

Convention – Velocity Networking

Following from the break-out classes, every afternoon consisted of Velocity Networking with native manufacturers and tourism boards. You have to register to fulfill with them, you don’t simply flip up, and it’s all carried out by means of a platform known as BloggerBridge.

Some individuals hadn’t seen the emails that got here out about methods to pre-register, or registered too late in order that they missed out on this.

I’ll share extra particulars on this in my suggestions part beneath, however one key theme of TBEX is to be sure to diligently preserve a watch out for all and any communication shared by the organisers – it may be a bit sporadic and shared by means of varied channels.

I managed to enroll to BloggerBridge and get my profile arrange on the platform, after which I might ship out invitations to attach with manufacturers and tourism boards. Being TBEX Asia, I hoped to see extra regional tourism boards and types, however they have been solely Thailand-based firms and tourism organisations.

I had heard there’s a wider attendance of regional tourism boards at TBEX Europe. Possibly as a result of this was the primary TBEX Asia post-pandemic, or perhaps TBEX Asia is extra localised than TBEX Europe… time will inform.

Personally, I needed to enroll and have as many velocity networking appointments as doable.

Sreenshot of my Day 1 Velocity Networking Schedule

While my journey weblog is at the moment targeted on Australia journey, I’ve plans to broaden my content material into the Asia-Pacific area as there are lots of locations Australians (and myself!) like to journey to love Indonesia and Thailand.

I additionally thought it could be a terrific expertise in pitching myself, my model and my weblog to firms, regardless of the result.

Velocity Networking was full-on – you get 8 minutes to introduce your self to the model, inform them what you’re about, alternate contacts and focus on doable methods of working collectively. Then you could have simply 2 minutes to seek out your subsequent appointment desk and do it once more!

See my suggestions beneath on methods to make the publish of your 8 minutes and what to pitch.

Night Occasions

We had nightly events, for a complete of three nights. These have been actually extravagant occasions!

The opening night time was held on the Andamanda Water Park in Phuket, with dwell performances, speeches, cocktail bars and an incredible Thai buffet.

The second night time was hosted by Aquaria Phuket the place yep, we dined alongside the marine life on this underground aquarium beneath a shopping center!

Eating subsequent to the marine life at Aquaria Phuket

The closing celebration was a celebration to recollect, with a seashore celebration on the Intercontinental Phuket. A marching band, cabaret present, muay thai fighters, oyster bar, fireplace present and free flowing glowing have been simply a number of the unbelievable issues we have been handled to.

I gained’t sugar coat it – the times are very lengthy at TBEX. You could be tempted to skip the night social occasions however you actually shouldn’t! It was a good way to fulfill different attendees and construct relationships in the course of the week.

Fam TRIPS

In case you bought your ticket early sufficient, you have been in a position to register for Fam (quick for familiarisation) journeys. These journeys have been 2-day totally hosted journeys to different areas in Thailand like Chiang Mai and Bangkok. They included all journey prices, actions and meals and many others so should you have been in a position to get on a fam tour, this expertise alone would greater than cowl the price of your ticket.

Sadly, I didn’t realise there was a deadline and bought my ticket 2 days too late to register for a FAM tour (the dates weren’t clear on the web site). Lesson learnt for subsequent time!

Suggestions for Attending TBEX

Listed below are my key suggestions and learnings for these attending TBEX.

Hold a watch out for communications from the organisers. The primary channel for communications was a Fb group, which I occurred to come across just a few days after reserving my ticket.

Right here the organisers shared key updates round issues like fam journeys, pre-bex excursions, updates from the tourism organisations and many others. Throughout the precise convention, updates round lunch location and bus timings to occasions have been shared inside this group.

It wasn’t at all times clear when new info was added to the TBEX web site and emails have been hardly ever despatched, so this Fb group shall be your primary supply of updated info! (plus a good way to get to know a number of the those that shall be attending).

Keep at one of many associate motels. Buses again from the nightly events solely stopped off on the associate motels, and Phuket was tough (and costly) to get round in any other case.

Plus, TBEX get some nice offers with the associate motels. Staying on the most important resort the place the convention is can be helpful to maximise the very small quantity of downtime you had every day in between the top of the convention and the time to get on the buses to go to the nightly events.

I used to be staying at a associate resort a ten minute stroll away from the primary convention resort the place the buses left from and was at all times dashing to and from the venues within the steamy, humid Phuket temperatures which didn’t assist!

Attend all of the occasions. One of many largest advantages is the connections you make and networks you construct. Don’t skip any of the occasions, regardless of how drained you’re!

Velocity networking preparation. Take a screenshot of your velocity networking schedule. Discover a flooring plan and takes notes of the place all of your conferences shall be so that you don’t miss out on worthwhile time on the lookout for your subsequent assembly. I took a photograph of the seating plan and drew up the place I wanted to be every time!

My velocity networking session places all deliberate out upfront

Have your pitch prepared. Velocity networking is just not meant to be about studying what an organisation or model does. Do your analysis earlier than hand, and go into the assembly ready to introduce your self and do your elevator pitch.

Have provides. Take a reusable water bottle with you, you’ll want it for all of the speaking you’ll be doing. Be sure you have loads of enterprise playing cards available too.

Costume to impress. Enterprise informal, with emphasis on the informal in Phuket gave the impression to be the costume code. Nonetheless, costume respectfully as you’re assembly individuals from totally different cultures and backgrounds, and you’re representing your model.

Plan what break-out classes will carry you probably the most worth to see dwell. The remainder of the classes are recorded so you possibly can at all times return and watch different classes which sound enticing. Prioritise those who you assume shall be most helpful attending in individual (e.g. if you wish to meet a sure presenter, or ask questions).

Suggestions for Velocity Networking and Sharing Your Pitch

In simply 8 minutes, it’s essential share your elevator pitch and discover choices of how one can work with manufacturers. Listed below are some tips about methods to benefit from this time.

  • Introduce your self, alternate enterprise playing cards.
  • Share your elevator pitch. Be clear on who you’re, what you do, who your viewers is, what makes you distinctive from each different velocity networking appointment the model has, what are you able to carry to the desk.
  • Spend 2 minutes max in your intro/pitch, explaining your model and outlining the above factors
  • Permit time for the tourism board/ model to clarify their place of how and once they work with bloggers and many others – or ask them particularly in the event that they don’t naturally begin to discuss to this.
  • Be sure you know your stats – whether or not that is social media impressions, viewers demographics, weblog classes/ web page views and many others.
  • The remainder of the time (when you’ve got any) shall be an interactive dialog

In case you aren’t in a position to safe a velocity networking appointment with a model, you possibly can normally discover them at their designated desk throughout different elements of the day.

You may skip out on a break-out session and see if yow will discover them to have a chat outdoors of the formal velocity networking time.

Was it Price Attending TBEX?

In abstract, it was an eye-opening, inspiring and jam-packed 4 days.

I feel it was undoubtedly price it for me attending the convention. The connections I made and concepts I gained from conversations have been so worthwhile. How typically do you get to attach with like-minded travellers that for many of them, do that loopy factor known as running a blog and content material creation full-time?!!

Connections

Particularly, I used to be grateful to attach with a stunning group of fellow Australian bloggers, like Melissa from Thrifty Household Travels, Paula from Really Expat and Tracy from Tracy Travels.

I additionally acquired to fulfill Sharon from Digital Nomad Wannabe who was a presenter at TBEX Asia. I’ve been a member of her Fb group for the reason that early days of my running a blog journey. I’ve additionally bought her running a blog and search engine optimization programs beforehand so it was incredible to observe her current dwell (and a very motivating presentation it was too!)

Sharon Gourlay’s insightful break-out session

Periods

To be frank, a number of the break-out classes have been common, however others have been good. It may be a little bit of a blended bag, however I used to be ready for that getting into so my expectations have been set.

In addition to, a lot of the advantages of TBEX occurs outdoors the day of the convention, like in the course of the pre-BEX excursions and the nightly occasions!

Abstract

I felt like I actually expanded my horizons and perceptions, and felt myself rising as a traveller and a blogger. For me, having simply stepped into doing this full-time, attending TBEX was precisely the burst of motivation and inspiration I wanted to leap begin my transition into running a blog full-time.

As somebody who likes to plan forward and have all the data, it was irritating at occasions to really feel such as you had no concept what was happening, partly because of the patchy and random communication from the organisers within the lead as much as the occasion.

For instance, I didn’t even get a affirmation e mail after I bought my ticket… not to mention obtain directions on what was subsequent. It might have been so simple as hey, please go be a part of the Fb group since that’s the place all the data is being shared!.

Nevertheless, the precise occasion ran actually easily, and it was clear there was a whole lot of work put in by the organisers to make it so .

Will I attend TBEX once more? Positively. I’ve my eye on TBEX Europe 2023, and perhaps some grander plans within the works for the following TBEX Asia occasion…. Watch this house!

Remaining Ideas

I hope this evaluation provides you some insights into what TBEX is about, and what to anticipate. To not point out present some helpful suggestions for you if you’re contemplating attending, or are attending as a first-timer like me! Let me know within the feedback beneath when you’ve got any questions or additional ideas.

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