TBEX first timer: Am I doing it right? What is it even like?!

I’m going to be a TBEX first timer this year.Β And it’s very fitting that this travel conference almost lands on my travel blogging first-year anniversary (June 18th)! While I’m prepping according to the lessons learned as a NY Times travel show first timer, I can’t help but be nervous…! However, even if you have been to other big travel conferences, but are a TBEX first timer like me, let me tell you something right away:

TBEX is a completely different ballgame.

The focus of this travel conference is us, travel bloggers–not tourism organizations and PR professionals. Still, I can’t help but wonder: What will it be like? Am I even prepping correctly!? What should I bring, besides my business cards, motivation, and excitement!?

What I’m doing: It’s PREP time!

TBEX is in T -4 days. However, for the past two months or so, I’ve been requesting meetings and sending pitches to relevant attendees.

TBEX first timer, my profile

Loving that TBEX Presdo Match! Here

I might be a TBEX first timer, but this is my second travel conference. So, as I advised NY Times Travel Show first timers,Β I’m making sure I take a good look at the full sponsors’ and attendees’ list prior to arrival. While I’ve gotten too many “No” ‘s for meetings and every single pitch of mine has been turned down thus far, I’m not giving up! Β I just got some leads for meeting *crossing fingers* Still, I must admit…

I’m losing a bit of motivation… πŸ™

I’ve been wondering: What have I been doing wrong!? I was expecting a better turnout, better responses!Β Do you have any advice when it comes to pre-conference pitches!?

I do have a great service to offer: Translation and localization of travel websites. I’ve been a translator / translation manager for two years now, saving my company up to $10,000 and counting. Also, I am able to cover a press trip in two languages (English and Spanish), therefore greatly expanding the reach of whichever organization takes me on such a project. in fact, I also happen to be the marketing manager at my current company, directing campaigns and initiatives in those two languages.

Yet, my resume doesn’t seem to be impressing anybody.

I keep getting no’s no’s no’s. While I understand this is part of life, some pointers would be greatly appreciated! I’m getting a little frustrated… :/

Packing for high-altitude

While I lived in Ifrane, Morocco (Atlas Mountains) for a full semester, I don’t really have experience with high-altitude weather. Thus, I was surprised to see on the TBEX A Taste of Vail Resorts Welcome PartyΒ invitation that the temperature could drop to the 20s (F)!

Being from the Caribbean, I was just dazed and confused as to how summer temperatures could be this low πŸ˜› but thanks to Kara Williams, now I have an idea of what to wear:

TBEX first timer, packing

Advice for packing for Keystone, TBEX

Layering. Duh. Sometimes I wonder about my traveler skills… LOL. But then again, packing is still a challenge for many of us girls πŸ˜‰ I’m hoping to have my carry-on ready to go by Wednesday (even though I don’t fly out until Friday afternoon).

Selecting the appropriate sessions to attend

This is probably the most daunting task for any TBEX first timer: Selecting which sessions to attend. There are so many great speakers and topics–all which I would love to hear about. But a travel blog is a business after all, so I had to choose the sessions that would help my travel websites the most in the short term, as I just started a year ago. So far, this is what my schedule looks like:

TBEX first timer sessions

My scheduled sessions this year–might change before Friday!

Parties parties… and even more parties?!

Looking at the finalized TBEX schedule got me all excited–it won’t be all just work! I remember the NY Times Travel Show feeling like exhausting work the whole way through. While there were some fun performances in-between, there were no special events or parties planned for travel bloggers (except for the Expedia happy hour–now that was awesome!).

Now TBEX: Completely different story! Just take a look at this:

TBEX first timer, pre-conference events schedule

TBEX pre-conference events

TBEX first timer, welcome party invitation

TBEX 2012 welcome party: A Taste of Vail. Hope I make it from my flight!

TBEX first timer, Expedia Shindig

Expedia Shindig flyer — this will be my first time in

Fun fun! I’ll be attending the Taste of Vail welcome party & the Expedia Shindig

Unfortunately, I was unable to take enough time off from my full-time translation manager position, so I won’t be able to attend many pre-conference events. Another reason why I can’t wait to become a full-time Nomadic Translator! Btw, if you wish to help me on this endeavor by partnering with me (so I can translate and localize all your travel websites and magazines), just give me a shout! πŸ˜‰

All in all, I’m pretty excited about TBEX and it has already surpassed my expectations since I reluctantly signed up early this year (thanks, Mr Tieso! ;))

You a TBEX first timer like me this year? How are you prepping?

Read more about the conference: My TBEX review

21 thoughts on “TBEX first timer: Am I doing it right? What is it even like?!

  1. Great post, Maria! Hope to meet you on the mountainside this weekend. It sounds like you’re doing everything right. You’ve got a very specific niche and you just need to reach the right people. My focus is on family travel, so not everyone is going to be a match for me, but I’ve managed to line up a few meetings for my first TBEX experience. I’m looking forward to meeting all these bloggers I’ve been reading all year, and learning how to make my blog better.

    • Was great meeting you Page! I think that the only pro you might encounter with your niche is finding fully-sponsored press trips for your entire family. They might pay for some members, but not everything for everyone (i.e. flights for 4 people + accomm. and all food? Unlikely). But once you understand and have the right expectations (which you might already), you should be fine. You would be surprised at how many ppl don’t care a lick about translating their site in order to expand their reach and grow their audience — as “unbelievable” as it may sound! πŸ˜‰ Same with Family Travel: You would be surprised at how many tourism boards & brands are looking for bloggers within that niche.

      So! My advice in the end really is for you to *never* give up and understand that building a successful brand/blog takes some time and tons of hard work πŸ˜‰

  2. Holy crud lady. You’ve only been blogging a year and already you are so much more prepared than me and I’ve been doing it for four!!!!! Good for you! Hope to meet you so I can say I knew her back when! I’ve been to blogworld a few times but never could make it to TBEX so I’m super excited! I’m looking forward to learn and also to make some great contacts.

    • I’m really serious about this travel blogging / nomadic translation business! πŸ˜‰ More than ready to soar to new heights, and we all know it takes tons of drive, hard work, and well, preparation. I got so many ideas buzzing in my head at 348573485 mph that, if I weren’t organized, I could never get anything done! πŸ˜‰

      Like I said to others, your preparation highly depends on your goals. So, if you are a little more relaxed about your blog or if it is more of a hobby, then you don’t need to be as “methodological” as I’m being πŸ˜‰ also, please keep in mind, I am trying really hard to cultivate my nomadic translator career this year, so TBEX will be the perfect opportunity for me to find new clients, make connections, and hopefully establish lasting partnerships.

      I’m beyond excited. See you there!

  3. Whoops, just noticed I hit post by accident! …I started writing a quick blog post off my comment, got the two tabs confused, and accidentally fired that one off before copying over the finalized version. Feel free to delete this comment or even append the following paragraph to the end of my one short paragraph… (thanks so much, sry to be an extra hassle..I’m obviously not prepared LOL..last min rush! Still got the washer/dryer going, backpack half-packed on the kitchen table..)

    …repeated strike-outs. It seems amazing to me that despite so much foresight and obvious initiative, you and others are not having more positive results in regards to sponsors and meetings. But Renee also made a good point: “I know it is my job to pitch and make them β€œfall for me”, but I simply haven’t got the time.” That is so true. Besides, I’m in it for the travel aspect more than financial, and when I find a suitable intern, well then I can focus on all these extras πŸ˜‰

    • I love comments, so I’ll leave both of yours πŸ˜‰ haha! No worries though, I have a big big strategy and business plan I’m starting to develop, that’s why I’m so crazy organized for TBEX, as I want to cultivate as many partnerships/collabs for this new project as possible πŸ˜‰ If the goals of your blog differ, then of course, TBEX will and prob should be approached differently. Again, depends on your goals! πŸ™‚

      As for the rejections, my plan/goals are very specific and something that 99.999% of bloggers aren;t doing πŸ˜‰ THus, many won’t believe in it. I do because I tried it with a big company and saved them more than $10,000 USD, in addition to increasing their traffic up to 1000% πŸ˜‰ crazy, I know, but sometimes ppl don’t even believe you. I won’t lose faith and will keep working hard, bc I know someone will listen in the end, come onboard, and we’ll soar to new heights together. BOOM! πŸ˜‰ I actually (and finally!) got some ppl interested and have several meetings in the bag now — my weekend will be super packed! So I couldn’t be any more excited. So again I tell you folks: NEVER give up, no matter how many no’s you get + GO BIG OR GO HOME! Sp if you have big ideas πŸ™‚

      I’m very excited about the social component, too. The parties look like they’ll be a blast, sp with all the great bloggers and industry reps that are attending! Can’t wait to finally meet many of you ILR πŸ™‚

      Omg, it all starts tomorrow…yayayayayayayayayay!!!!!!!! πŸ˜€ CYA THERE!!!

      ps – dang, I sure as heck use a lot of smileys… lol!

  4. Wow. I am speechless. I just bought my ticket last week, didn’t even realize I’d be in the States still (long story)…and just today did I finally log into the TBEX site and discovered the profiles, likes, messages, and meeting options. Combined with the fact that I have a 17-hr drive to make and just over 36hrs until our Friday soiree, I think I am a wee bit more than unprepared. Especially since many hours of that will be dedicated to sleep, so I can survive the one-shot drive and not be a zombie Fri. I would fly but have a lil camping / road-trip planned for afterwards…

    I had absolutely no idea that you and others have been planning for this event for months..but then again I was also surprise to hear about your repeated strike-outs.

    Then again, just look at my HoliDaze site.. funding/sponsorship is not high on my list, at least not for now. I am more concerned with meeting fellow bloggers and inspiring more people to travel. I have paid my bills for years to come, so thankfully even if I die on my next wild adventure, the HoliDaze will continue! =D

    Wait, that is a horrible closing note! Well I’m glad to hear you will be there Maria, looking forward to meeting you in person. When looking at the TBEX site I noticed many familiar faces..it seems I will be meeting many new friends, as well as running into a few old ones from prior travel run-ins. This should be a blast!

    • hahaha, thanks! I’m really looking forward to promoting my multilingual services AND soon-to-be-multilingual travel blog. Gotta be FIERCE — my motto from now on when it comes to travel conferences is this:

      “No. Try not. Do… or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda

      GO BIG OR GO HOME! πŸ˜‰

  5. I was a panelist at the first TBEX and let me tell you, it’s a whole lot of excitement. I was not prepared. Rework your pitches so that they have a timely angle. Bring lots of business cards, layers and some party clothes.

    • Been working on my pitches for more than 2 months now, updating along the way. I feel prepared, yet still a little nervous. Let’s see how it goes! Thanks for the tips, I def. need to work on layers (still can’t seem to master the art!)

  6. Maria, as a relatively newcomer to travel blogging too, I’ll be excited to hear what you think of TBEX as we will all live vicariously through your tweets and blog posts. Look forward to seeing what you learn along the way.

    Good luck!

  7. Tbex is a ton of fun. Our first time was last year in Vancouver BC. The best advice we recieved was be yourself and have fun. The travel blogging community is a great collection of people from all over! Luci wrote a post about her experiences: 1000fights.com/didn%E2%80%99t-tbex-glad-did/

    Come and find us!

    Mike

  8. TBEX is my first travel conference and has also been a little curious to what this is and what it might bring.

    I’m flying in from Denmark, so it’s quite an investment for me to participate. However, my site is doing ok and the content I will get from this trip, will make up for the investment regardless of the conference outcome. But like you, I would like the conference to pay off.

    I can’t pinpoint exactly what I need to get out of the conference. I have some editorial needs I would try to see if I somehow can get fulfilled, but actual pitches etc. is not something I have planned.
    I do have a very clear definition of my site, the content and my audience and the short term development (next couple of years) of my site. I am trying to convey this in the outlets available (Presdo Match and a microsite for mobile) but not having a site in english has added an extra workload for me in order to prepare – but it is good to do that exercise.

    I haven’t reached out to any one through the matching tool. I must say I find most of the sponsors useless in the sense that they don’t really say what they offer in their profiles – but more highlight their own company and business. I know it is my job to pitch and make them “fall for me”, but I simply haven’t got the time.
    Instead I will read up on the profiles the best I can and then use the many social activities to find the people I think I can benefit from. I am certain I won’t fill my schedule for the dating session, but I will leave the conference with input no one has put in their profile – the kind of input I need for my site.

    • Not having a site in English might limit your choices, but depending on your goals, you might want to tell sponsors/PR reps that you’ll create one in the future. That could be a pitch: You are able to talk about a destination or promote a brand to English- and German-speaking audiences? Just a thought. I believe that clearly determining your goals (in terms of your travel blog) will def. help in drafting the appropriate pitches for the conference.

      If you aren’t ready for press trips and partnerships with brands though, I would suggest you still gather as many biz cards/media contact info as possible in order to know who to speak to in the future once you are ready. Then, after you get home, dot down all the contact info on an organized spreadsheet, titled “TBEX 2012 MEDIA CONTACTS” or something along those lines. This is what I mainly took out of the NY Times Travel Show even though I wasn’t really prepared beforehand.

      Moreover, take advantage of as many edu sessions as possible and take notes — the tips will certainly help you become a better blogger in any language + give you ideas/pointers on how to define your brand!

      Good luck Rene and see you there πŸ˜‰

  9. It’s my first TBEX too. I normally wouldnt pack this early, but my suitcase is still out from the last trip. Then, I checked the weather again and took the 2nd bathing suit and 2nd skirt off the pile. Still debating the sandals; and Im only bringing one pair of boots and theyre not cowboy (sorry Expedia but 2 pr of boots for 1 weekend goes against my packing rules!). Just got back from Ecuador and I’m dreading another high altitude trip!

    • I’m still having issues with packing! I have a great red dress that I want to wear Friday, BUT I might freeze. Arghh, I’m still getting a hold of how to pack for cold/high altitude destinations!

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