It’s a Monday morning which means back to work and back to the grind. We’re going to discuss the Travel Blog Exchange aka TBEX that transpired over the weekend here in the terrific international city of Toronto, Canada. In case you’re in a rush, it was a solid time with well prepared parties, speeches and more networking opportunities than you could shake a stick at.
The opening event was hosted at Roy Thomson Hall by Tourism Toronto and well, they threw an amazing party. The food was exquisite and having wine country around the corner sure didn’t hurt. I’ve found at every conference the opening party is usually the best time of the whole event. Everyone there is excited and all the firepower from the hosts is on display. If you’re going to make a play, that’s the time.
The first day of the conference was good and at the end there was speed dating. I didn’t do the speed dating last year and this year I found it kinda awkward. I think it’s built for people who don’t have the wherewithal to just say hello to someone they find interesting. The first date I had was a complete disaster but the subsequent ones after were swell. In fact, the second day I had no appointments but just talked to people I found interesting that were free, it was infinitely more productive and made it a legitimate connection instead of me being “just another dude trying to sell himself”.
On the topic of selling yourself, lots of money rolling into this industry right now. I’m seeing large corporate giants sponsoring many bloggers and I like to see that. End of the day, writing a blog for fun is a great time but if talent isn’t compensated and nurtured, the result is usually having to leave this life behind. I’m curious where this will all go and if in the future, there will be more a line in the sand between someone who writes a blog and works with sponsors versus someone who writes for sponsors and has a blog, ya get where I’m going?
Saturday night had a few official and unofficial parties aka solid times for those of us who love socializing.
The final day was similar to the first and most of my time was spent on the trade-show floor. I attended the Visit South Africa campaign report and was just as honored to be included in the talk as I was to have been invited to the destination. Afterwards I did more networking with destinations in thirty minutes than even I thought was possible. It was nice to meet destinations that seemed as interested in collaborating as myself and also shared the same end goal of creating creative content.
The take away is this… Destinations “get it” that blogs and social media aren’t just some fad but a legitimate means of distributing carefully crafted content through independent and trusted sources. The future looks bright for those who like to travel and also take the time to share their experiences online. Basically, I’m not sure what the future holds but it’s looking bright and that’s always alright.
Big thanks to TBEX for organizing such a professional conference and Toronto for hosting us.
This fall it’s in Dublin, Ireland and guess what? I’m going.