In the midst of the chaos surrounding the Stanley Cup Hockey Finals, Travel Blog Exchange took place on the 11-12 June in ultra-liveable Vancouver.
TBEX, as the industry refers to it, is an annual event bringing new media travel writers together from all other the globe. This year I attended on behalf of Travellerspoint, joining around 600 travel bloggers and industry folk. While I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting myself into, being a seasoned conference goer I thought I’d have a faint idea. I was surprised; TBEX is a gathering like no other. The biggest brands in travel combine with travel blogging celebrities and their adoring aspirers.
The schedule was hectic – two full days of sessions on everything from non-fiction narrative to search engine optimisation. Not to forget the after-hours social schedule! Kim Mance from Galavanting was the perfect conference organiser bringing together the all-star cast. Speakers included Gary Arndt from Everything Everywhere, Don George from Gadling, Jen Leo from the LA Times, Robert Reid from Lonely Planet, Michael Yessis from World Hum, Mike Barish and Benny Lewis from Fluent in 3 Months to name a few.
I caught some tips in the ‘Tell It Like It Is’ writing spot, which might help you with your travel blogging here at Travellerspoint. Spud Hilton from the SF Chronicle said travel writing should above all be fun. He likes writers who have opinions, depth and personality. He also banned using the words “charming” and “quaint”! Jim Byers from the Toronto Star suggested speaking in your own language and voice, and being specific about description and colour. Don’t say just blue but detail what kind of blue it is. Mike Yessis from World Hum recommended relating adjectives to something we all know and to think like a three year old.
Other highlights were the TNooz ‘Appy Hour Drinks on the Saturday evening, which we co-hosted by Travel Massive. Travel Massive holds regular travel meetups around the globe and Travellerspoint helps run the Melbourne events. It was great to be joined by fellow Travel Massive organisers from other cities and Ian Cumming from Sydney helped fly the Aussie flag with me.
Overall, TBEX was a rewarding weekend and it was nice to get a taste of the travel industry out in force. I got to meet some amazing people who I’ve stayed in touch with post event, and visiting a beautiful country like Canada for the first time certainly topped it off.
To check out the action next year in Denver, Colorado, visit: www.travelblogexchange.com