Tips and tricks for TBEX first-timers

This week I attended Travel Blog Exchange (TBEX) conference in Jerusalem and it was A-MA-ZING! Both from social and professional perspective this was one of the greatest conference I have ever seen. I want to share with you ten tips on how to maximize your benefit from TBEX, if you are a travel blogger.

TBEX is the largest networking event for travel bloggers, travel content professionals and industry experts. Every time it takes place in a new location in Europe, the U.S. or Asia Pacific. The 16th TBEX took place in my home country – Israel, in Jerusalem, on 20-22 March 2017. The next ones are in Huntsville, Alabama in May, 2017 and in Killarney, Ireland in October, 2017.

1. Register early

Early birds get big discounts on the ticket. For example, a travel blogger registration for TBEX in Huntsville, Alabama started at $107. Now, two months before the event, it is $257. The last-minute ticket would be even more expensive. Also, you would save on air tickets and accommodations if you book early. Unless you are a superstar blogger, you would need to pay for it yourselves, but look for special deals from conference sponsors.

2. Set an objective

You may register for TBEX just because it sounds exciting. But before you step through the door at the first day, you need to know, what do you want to achieve with your participation and what can you offer.

Do you want to get more clients for content writing? Attract sponsors for giveaways and product reviews? Find opportunities for press trips? Learn how to become a famous travel blogger? Or dig into technicalities of SEO and affiliate links promotion? This would impact your choices of break-out sessions and the people you need to communicate to. 

Prepare your elevator speech – short answers to the questions "who are you?", "what are you doing?", "what are you looking for?", "which value you can bring?". You would have to repeat it many times during the conference.

3. Plan trips ahead

After you register, you would start getting periodic emails from TBEX organizers. A lot of excursions, museum visits, unique local experiences, parties and FAM tours are organized immediately before and after the conference. Most of the events have limits on the number of participants. Some of them (more expensive ones) are available only for popular bloggers with significant number of followers, but there are always enough events for beginner bloggers. In Jerusalem the activities varied from classic Old City tours to culinary workshops, from scavenger hunt to Segway tour. 

4. Participate in speed networking sessions

Couple of weeks before the conference you would get a list of companies available for speed networking. They may be governmental tourism organizations, travel start-ups, hotels, tour operators, etc. Read the descriptions and choose those who meet your objectives. This is your opportunity to talk to industry people face-to-face and to pitch your services to them.

Use BloggerBridge platform to register in advance and set up your schedule of "speed dates" – at the conference I saw participants who did not do so and they regretted it. However, even for those who did not register in advance, there ultimately was a possibility to talk to sponsors during the breaks or in their free slots in speed dating schedule, if a blogger was persistent enough.

5. Come with you business cards and media kit

You would need a LOT of business cards. Take at least a hundred to give away to fellow bloggers and industry professionals. 

If you want to look serious for sponsors, prepare a media kit: a 1-2 page summary about yourselves, your blog, website and social media statistics, your audience, testimonials and types of cooperation you are looking for. Media kits are available on Etsy for a small fee, but you may also use a free tool like Canva to put it together, or even Photoshop.

6. Choose the break-out sessions wisely

There would be sessions running in parallel on the different topics. I suggest mixing the ones covering the "hot topics" for you and also the ones, which you do not know much about. For example, I went to the sessions on podcasts and Youtube, although I am not using either yet, and they were insightful and motivational.

7. Take notes.

During two days of sessions, you will get a lot of information. Take notes, so you can use your new knowledge to get better results. The slides from conference would be available on SlideShare after the event – you may also review the sessions that you missed.

8. Never eat alone

It makes no sense to go to a conference and then sit in the corner with you nose in your smartphone. Don't miss great networking opportunities. I met new people at every break and had lengthy super-interesting conversations at lunch. At TBEX, people are informal and friendly, it is easy to network even if you are an introvert. 

9. Plan to stay in the country for several days after

If possible, plan your visit so that you have several days after the conference in the country. The industry people and sponsors that you are talking to, may have great opportunities for you (tours, museum visits, master-classes, etc.). It would be a pity to reject the offers with "sorry, I am flying out tomorrow morning".

10. Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up

You may have had the nicest discussion with some important sponsor, but if you do not follow-up, there is a 99% chance that nothing would come out of this discussion.

Connect on social networks to the travel bloggers you have met, send thank you emails and collaboration proposals to industry experts, put together a plan for implementing your new knowledge on blog promotion and content management. It is best to do a follow-up action in the first 72 hours after the conference closing, when your face is still fresh in your counterpart's mind.

PS I actually plan to go to TBEX Killarney now! And you?


  1. Some great tips there. I attended TBEX in Manila last year and found it extremely informative and inspiring. You reallydo get to meet and make many new friends. The only problem is the cost of air travel to the venues.  

  2. Making a commercial success of travel blogging is not easy, but if you have the ambition, platforms like TBEX are so ideal. You seem to have it all together..wow! 

    • Elena Nemets

      Thanks! I am trying to get from part-time non-commercial blogging to making travel my profession, and TBEX is extremely useful for this.

  3. Some good tips here Elena. I should imagine the most difficult aspect is the follow-up. What results did you get from the Jerusalem event?

    • Elena Nemets

      Thanks, Denzil. It is not even difficult, it just requires focus. The conference was just 4 days ago – in this time I have scheduled two local mini press trips, joined Travel Massive community and Millioneyez (a photo-sharing service), sign-up up for a new affiliate program and now discussing a cooperative project with a local company. More to come 🙂

  4. I have been hearing about the TBEX from the time I started blogging. Your post has given me an idea what this is all about. Thanlks for that.

  5. These are pretty useful tips! I haven't been to a TBEX conference, and don't have any plans to attend in the near future. They seem a little pricey for me right now, but perhaps someday. I really like the question you asked as a prompt for an elevator speech: "What value do you bring?" That's a really important thing to reflect on when trying to pitch your blog!

    • Elena Nemets

      Thanks, Brianna. Yes, some brands say that they sometimes get an impression that “bloggers just want to travel for free, not to bring value”. And that’s what we need to fix, otherwise nobody will work with us.

  6. Thank you for sharing. I've been considering attending a TBEX event in the future and your guide on what to do in advance is super helpful.

  7. I really want to go to one of these events but unfortunately I already have plans for this year.  I need to have a look and see where they are for next year and also other events.  Looks like a great place to network, meet others bloggers and learn more about the industry.  Can't wait to attend one of these.

    • Elena Nemets

      Absolutely. You can sign up for their newsletter or FB community and track the events.

  8. This is all very good information! I can't wait to go to a TBex soon!

    • Elena Nemets

      Really recommended for a travel blogger! It give a lot of information, contacts and motivation.

  9. Haven't had a chance to go to a TBEX yet.  Sounds like an interesting experience.

  10. I will put this on our to-do list for next year! 🙂 

  11. Awesome post and exactly what I needed – I'm going to Killarney for my first ever TBEX so this post is perfect! So true about follow up – honestly, you need to always follow up and 9/10 I'll get a positive response that I wouldn't have received if I hadn't followed up or checked in a bit later. People don't like to come across as needy or nagging but actually, follow-up is SUPER important. 

    • Elena Nemets

      Hope to meet you in Killarney! Me and my husband plan to be there and travel through Ireland.

  12. Thanks for the link! Super informative and very helpful! I definitely think I will be going to Killarney in October and hope to meet you there!

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