I've been back in England for a couple of weeks now, and I thought it was about time to share some of my thoughts on TBEX in Dublin 2013. For those readers that may not know, TBEX is a travel bloggers conference which is held bi-annually in different parts of the world. This autumn it was held in Dublin over two days, although I decided to spend a week there, as I was owed some leave from work. The idea was to spend the week learning, sight-seeing, relaxing and generally enjoying myself!
This was the first travel bloggers conference or travel industry event that I have been to, and beforehand, I had some reservations as to whether or not it would be worth it. I needn’t have worried though, because as it turned out, TBEX in Dublin 2013 was an incredibly rewarding experience on a number of levels.
Why TBEX in Dublin 2013 Impressed Me
I think one of the main things that impressed me so much about the event, was the superb organisation of it all. This was evident even after getting off the plane, when waiting for me in the arrivals hall was a TBEX counter with an assistant behind it. With her, was an envelope with my name on, which had a map of the city, as well as a 72 hour travel card that allowed me on a variety of buses including the airport to city bus.
The great organisation of the last TBEX in Dublin 2013 also revealed itself with just how well the different events ran, such as the pre-parties, events and sight-seeing tours. Dublin certainly welcomed us travel bloggers with open arms, and there must have been a tremendous amount of work and communication between the event organisers and Failte Ireland (which is the Irish tourism authority). It wasn't just the tours and other events on offer, it was how smoothly they all ran. It really was a professionally put together conference, although I am sure that although we saw the swan gliding elegantly on the surface of the water, there were frantic paddling motions beneath!
Another thing that impressed me, were the attendees. It was a great opportunity to meet people, swap business cards and create contacts. I perhaps didn't do as much of this as I should have, but its all a learning process, and hopefully next time I will do better!
What I Learned at TBEX in Dublin 2013
One of the main reasons for going to TBEX in Dublin, was so that I could learn a little bit more about how to approach my travel blog more professionally, raise its exposure, and hopefully start to increase my income from it. There were a number of speeches and seminars which I attended, and every one of them had something of value to offer. I think one of the main things that I took away from these “breakout” sessions, was that it's probably a little narrow minded to think of myself as simply a travel blogger. “Social influencer” was the new phrase doing the rounds, but in reality, it means establishing yourself as an authority in your own field, whether it be through the blog or social media.
Another of the things I learned from attending the TBEX conference, was that I am not the only one doing this! It can be quite hard sometimes, trying to explain to people just exactly what it is I do when I say I am working on my site at night, but here, there were 500 other people who go through the same thing.
I also learned at TBEX that my niche, which is adventure cycling or bicycle touring around the world, is a rare one in the semi-pro-blogger circuit. Don't get me wrong, there are thousands upon thousands of bicycle touring travel blogs out there, but the approach that most of the bloggers take to them is far from professional. Almost all of these blogs have amazing writing and stories to tell, and yet their audience, quite frankly, sucks. This is to do with both a lack of knowledge and admittedly time which is needed to help market them better. During this coming year, on the build up to my next cycling adventure around the world, I hope to apply some of the things I have learned, and raise my my travel blogs profile as well as that of my various social media accounts. This should in turn lead to an increase in visitors, which should then lead to more potential revenue.
Would I Go to TBEX Again?
That's a tough question to answer. It's true that I took a lot away from the conference in terms of knowledge gained, and it's also true that had I actually paid for any of the tours or events that I went on, it would have added up to several hundred pounds. Based on this, it certainly offered terrific value for money, and I also hope to see a further return on investment when I put some of my new knowledge into practice. Additionally, whilst I may not be the best networker in the world, I did pick up some useful contacts, a half dozen or so of which I am working on projects with as we speak. To answer the question then – Yes, but it would depend on which city the next TBEX Europe conference would be held.
Over the next few days and weeks, I will be adding a handful of travel blog posts about my time spent in Dublin, with the next one being about one of my most favourite things in the world – Alcohol ! Stay tuned!!!