TBEX 2012 Rasied the Professionalism Bar for Travel Bloggers

Rick Calvert, CEO of TBEX during the TBEX 2012 Closing Keynote
Rick Calvert, CEO of TBEX during the TBEX 2012 Closing Keynote

“Travel bloggers deserve a professional conference,” TBEX CEO Rick Calvert told attendees of TBEX ’12 at the conclusion of the 3-day travel blogger conference in Keystone, Colo., Sunday.

I’ll admit, travel bloggers sometimes get a bad rap as being unprofessional. There are a few bad eggs out there who don’t deliver on commitments, act disrespectful on hosted trips and spout off on blogs without knowing the facts, among other things. Hey, we’re not perfect but many of us strive to run our blogs as businesses, are respectful and gracious when hosted on trips and do our best to post accurate information.

Professionalism Bar Raised

Calvert’s statement was in response to comments he heard throughout the conference and how many correlated the step up in professionalism to BlogWorld’s acquisition of TBEX in March of this year. Kim Mance, founder of TBEX, created a crazy, wonderful community back in 2009 with her idea of bringing a small group of travel bloggers together in Chicago for the first TBEX in 2010. I was there and at every other North American TBEX since and I’ve enjoyed the evolution but honestly, saw room for improvement.

This year, there were no morning emails stating sessions would begin late due to late night partying, there were no invite-only parties listed in the official schedule of events, there were professionally printed signs directing attendees where each session was, and there were value-added opportunities for sponsors.

Having experience as an event planner, I was extremely pleased with the changes yet some bloggers thought TBEX is getting too corporate and losing its grassroots vibe. I disagree. The addition of new sponsors is testament that brands and destinations are listening to what travel bloggers are writing and as a group, we are viewed as influential marketing channels.

Did you attend TBEX? What did you think?

Disclosure: Cottonelle paid for my trip to TBEX in Keystone including registration, airfare, accommodations, meals and transportation.



Jennifer A. Huber is an award-winning travel and outdoor blogger and writer in Southwest Florida. Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led her to a career path in the tourism industry for more than 30 years. She spent a decade with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley, and Everglades National Parks. She founded the travel blog, SoloTravelGirl.com with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely. The unexpected death of her former husband in 2008 reminded her how short life is. His passing was a catalyst for sharing her experiences with the goal of inspiring and empowering others to travel solo. Jennifer holds a Travel Marketing Professional certification from the Southeast Tourism Society, is a certified food judge, member of the NASA Social community, and alum of the FBI Citizens Academy. When not traveling, she is either in the kitchen, practicing her photography skills, or road tripping with her dog, Radcliff.

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