TBEX 2011: Travel Bloggers Take Vancouver
Travel Blog • Eva Holland • 06.16.11 | 2:24 PM ET
This past weekend saw the third installment of the annual Travel Blog Exchange, or TBEX, a travel-focused blogging conference. The 2011 edition took place in Vancouver, B.C., and Jim, Michael and I were all there.
It was my first time at TBEX and I was impressed, first off, by the sheer scale of the event: More than 500 travel bloggers descended on the Vancouver Convention Center for the weekend. Panels and workshops covered everything from SEO and blog monetization to (our favorite) improving your narrative story-telling skills, and each day ended with an after-party or two. It was a busy three days.
Reactions are already pouring in from the bloggers who attended. Michael from Go, See, Write noted the irony of TBEX panelists encouraging bloggers to be more professional—because, he felt, the conference itself was disorganized and unprofessional. Akila of The Road Forks felt that TBEX “lacked purpose and focus,” and she offered some constructive suggestions to tighten things up in future, while Katie at BootsnAll offered a similarly constructive roundup of highlights and lowlights.
Meanwhile, Corbin from I Backpack Canada had a more positive take-away: “There is a future for independent travel writers, there is a future for online blogs, there is a future for a small niche website dedicated to the budget travel & outdoor adventure in Canada.”
For my part, in future conferences I might like to see workshops become a little more tightly focused—maybe with beginner and advanced streams in each discipline to help the panelists zero in on the needs of attendees—but overall, TBEX left me feeling satisfied. Blogging can be an isolating pursuit, and spending three days putting faces and voices to familiar Twitter handles and online personas was a powerful thing.
TBEX 2012 will take place in Keystone, Colorado.