The sun rises over Keystone.
So I just returned from TBEX (Travel Blog Exchange) held this year in Keystone, CO (the jetlag is setting in). I’ve been reading the recaps and commentary and the general consensus is that it was the best TBEX yet (Gary Arndt went so far as to say it was not only the best TBEX, but the best conference he’s ever attended and here’s a great recap from keynote speaker CC Chapman). This being my third year in attendance, I can see why the feedback was positive. Surely it’s a testament, to not only BlogWorld’s involvement, but also the years Kim Mance has spent uniting a group of diverse individuals by the common desire to travel and share.
Catching up with friends old and new. From left: Kelley Ferro, Mark Chestnut, Me, Blane Bachelor, Spud Hilton
And speaking of sharing, I have to pay tribute to this group, as sharing is one thing that prominently stands out to me amongst this mass of 700+ people… their willingness to share with and support one another. The competitive nature that is often found within common groups such as this is pleasantly missing. In its place I see support, encouragement and guidance – old timers taking newcomers under their wings, and novices and experts alike putting their heads together and sharing ideas. It’s refreshing and I’m honored to be a part of it. So, in the spirit of sharing, here are a few of my other thoughts coming off of TBEX 2012:
1) Corporate does not have to mean stuffy.
Despite BlogWorld’s takeover of TBEX, the conference maintained its relaxed, travel blogger-esque appeal. Evening and social events were fun (and alcohol
filled) and after events and meet ups prevailed… making sure TBEX kept its well earned reputation.
2) The voice of one does not speak for many… but it can ruin it for many.
For the most part, the sessions that I sat in on were fine. As an ‘industry attendee’ I understand that the conference is primarily geared for bloggers and I’m really there for the networking and relationships more than anything and didn’t go in expecting otherwise. That said, there was one panel I attended that did not sit well with me. Being given a microphone and an audience does not give one the right to preach from their soapbox, rant and rave and claim all other opinions wrong. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then you likely weren’t in this session – consider yourself lucky). I don’t paint bloggers with one brush, much as I hope they don’t do the same of my industry… so I get that this voice was the exception in this room and on this panel. But, unfortunately, the voice of one person can ruin the experience for all, in what could’ve otherwise been a very educational and mutually beneficial PR discussion. Personally, I can easily dismiss this speaker’s tirades, I just hope she didn’t discourage or misguide others in the room.
3) Like throwing a ball, it’s all in the follow through.
In a whirlwind weekend such as this, more cards are exchanged than one can count and it’s easy to lose track of who you met, what you talked about and possible networking opportunities. The hardest part of a conference like this is making sure it was worthwhile by following up on those hundreds of conversations and cementing the relationships and turning them in to opportunities. Whether an industry person, blogger, sponsor or otherwise, the time and money spent is only worthwhile if the effort is made on the back end. So get to it…
Thank you again to Blog World, Kim, Keystone, Vail Resorts and everyone involved… Diamond PR enjoyed being a part of TBEX once again and we’ll see you in 2013. For your viewing pleasure: Photo album