My first TBEX or travel conference of any kind is in the books. The weekend went so fast. Tours, sessions, interviews, parties, coffee shop and neighborhood exploration, it was an action-packed non-stop weekend of fun and learning.
It was exciting to see the amount of people whether it be PR professionals, people representing destinations and brands or fellow travel bloggers. Over 1300 people who share a passion for travel came together!
Everyone loves travel so of course a lot of the weekend would involve tours and sightseeing. I didn’t take a formal tour, but spent the first day in Toronto, roaming the city with Karla of Travelersoul76, Yishyene of Small Crazy and Mark of Mark’s Travel Journal. Mark was a local and Karla lived her before so it was great getting their insider tips on what to see as well as all of us discovering new things. We walked from the heart of downtown to St. Lawrence Market and the Distillery District also snapping photos of everything in between.
Earlier, Karla even was so nice as to pick me up at Union Station to help get me acclimated to the city, with some Dark Horse Coffee along for the ride.
Lots of talking and hanging out with travel bloggers and other people in the industry with different interests and travel niches and writing and photo taking styles. It was great putting faces to the avatar or Twitter handle. 🙂 A silly pose by Karla, Lance, myself, Jill, Maria and Mike.
At the official parties of the conference at Roy Thomson Hall and the Toronto Islands, was great scenery, food, drinks and mingling. It was cool when someone recognized me. They usually asked what coffee stops I’ve made or planned on making while here haha. 🙂
Did I mention the great scenery at the parties?! The Expedia Party on the Toronto Islands had arguably the best skyline views I’d ever seen. People took turns mingling, just staring at Toronto, while others were getting ready to photograph the Toronto skyline as it became all lit up.
Even an official after party lead to more great eats, drinks and conversations with the likes of Lauren of where in the world is lola? and Derek of The HoliDaze.
The conference itself was a mix of informative sessions that provided tips on SEO, social media tools, writing, press trips, making money and more. Even the smallest of tips caught the eye, realizing how much effect each one could have. For example Ian Cleary said to schedule out the same blog posts over-and-over again on Hootsuite using different words each time.
The two days also provided the opportunity for travel bloggers to talk with people representing destinations and brands through speed dating and an open market place. I didn’t take part in the former, but engaged several companies and destinations at their booths and during the market place.
It’s exciting to see what everyone in this niche is up to and where it’s going. After one week I’m still analyzing everything, looking through business cards, thinking about opportunities and where I can take my passion for travel, writing and photography going forward. I hope to attend more conferences and have more meetups with fellow travel bloggers in the future. It’s an experience that will always be on my mind as I’m drinking coffee out on the open road. 🙂