(Photo above taken by John O’Nolan at the TBU11 Conference)

In no way am I a veteran of travel blogger conferences or even blogger conferences in general however I have attended a couple so I think these tips might be very useful for the first timer but also may be good as a refresher for others.

On June 11th I will be attending my second TBEX (Travel Blog Exchange) Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada as will 550 or so other travel bloggers, vloggers, joggers, podcasters, PR reps etc. (Jogger I learned at TBU is the new word for a journalist that blogs.) The most important tip is to have fun which won’t be hard to do at all and here are a few more:

1) NETWORK – An obvious tip, this is probably the main reason you are going to the conference aside from finally meeting IRL twitter friends and putting names to faces.

  • If you have yet to get a business card with your name, website and email (at minimum) listed on it, run to your local office supply store now and get some printed up or at least buy business card paper and print your own, its better to have dodgy cards then no cards at all.
  • Go to the parties, even if you aren’t a drinker or partier at least show up for the first part of the party and you won’t miss out. Work the crowd, mingle and move around – if you stay in a little clique of people you risk the danger of not meeting that one PR rep with a trip that has your name all over it.

2) Be on time and don’t waste time – Definitely show up early on the first day of the conference, this is a great time to mingle but also hear important information that you might need to know later on. Fashionably late is acceptable to the parties however.

  • I also suggest you try not to waste people’s time. I am all for people asking questions and getting a discussion going during a presentation but think about your question before you ask it and think if it might be something better saved for later when you can ask the presenter in person. That way it saves us all from having a talk go to long causing the next presentation to be rushed and us missing important info, like the SEO topic at TBEX last year that was unfortunately rushed. At the same time I say this though please ask questions because I bet we all want to ask them as well and hear the answers.
  • Another good way to get a question answered about a presentation that you are attending is to tweet out the question with the conference hashtag and you are sure to have your answer in minutes.

3) Don’t forget to use the conference hashtag – For TBEX as you all know (or now you know) it is both #TBEX and #TBEX11 .

  • Using the hashtag # can help you get questions answered about things happening at the conference quicker. It allows you see the interesting things people have to say about the conference but also allows you to connect with other people that you might not know yet that are at the conference. Also it lets people who were unable to attend join in or follow along.
  • If you are wondering what a hashtag is then that means you probably aren’t on twitter yet and I suggest you sign up before the conference otherwise you could get left in the dust or miss out on something extremely important like where the after after after party is.

4) Introduce yourself to people – Some of us have our faces plastered over everything we do online (like me in my videos) but others use their logos for their gravatars.

  • Even though you might exchange tweets or comment on someones blog often when you walk up to them and say “Hey!!” please add your name or give your card right away to avoid being met with a blank stare or a fake “Oh Hey!!” right back at you.
  • Also don’t be afraid to go up and talk to people. If you catch the eye of someone you think you know and they just give you a blank stare its because they just don’t recognize you, don’t think its because they are rude. Trust me everyone is there to meet everyone else.

5) Take notes – but also know that often if a presenter has a slide show / power point presentation included in their talk that most likely they will have this available online after the presentation for your benefit. So don’t stress out about missing info. There will also be dozens of  conference ( TBEX ) re-cap articles on everyone’s blogs for weeks afterwards.

6) The scheduled event parties will not be the only parties taking place. Recently while attending the TBU conference (Travel Bloggers Unite) in Manchester, England there was many an after party in a presenters apartment which is now affectionately known as Club 91. At TBEX this year Chris Christensen and Gary Arndt are hosting their own get together Friday afternoon for their podcast and Jeannie Mark aka Nomadic Chick is arranging one for Thursday called the Pre-TBEX Mashup 6pm to 10pm at the Dockside Restaurant and there is also talk of a  Mexican restaurant meet up arranged by Vagabond3 possibly on the Sunday June 12th. Those are just a few of many that will pop up at this years TBEX.

Those are the most important tips that stick out in my mind, please let me know if you think I missed something or you would like to add to the list. Don’t forget to have fun and I hope to see you all there! :)