Top 10 Do’s & Don’t for travel bloggers attending TBEX
If you’re attending TBEX or any other amazing conference as a blogger – vlogger – influencer – selfie queen or general person interested in the travel community than here’s a list of the top 10 Do’s and Don’t!
Last year I found my happiness in Bangkok and also attended my first TBEX. It was a great event and an even better chance to meet so many people who I knew online. There’s now quite a few international conferences for travel bloggers and digital nomads. Unfortunately all of these bar TBEX- Asia are based in Europe, the UK or America. There’s very limited travel specific conferences available in the Asia Pacific region.
As someone who has started their working life in the not online social networking (yes I remember a time before LinkedIn!) I’ve been to more conferences, networking breakfasts/lunches/mid afternoon early evening not dinner drinks events than I want to admit. I’ve meet CEOs, CIOs, marketing managers, managers managers, brand community managers and all sorts. To say the least I’ve had my fair share of business card swaps. After attending a TBEX it was clear that the conference was focused primarily on how to make money from your blog/vlog/internet thing and lacked some basic fundamental networking tools. How can we ever forgot the young man who’s opening words to me were “are you successful and how much money do you make”. Ah hello my name is…clearly wasn’t working for him.
So continuing along our #dontbeadick Lessons From Jean series
1 – Be organised beyond belief.
It’s your responsibility to know deadlines, timetables and general adult stuff. TBEX does a lot of things really well. The organizers at TBEX are not great at communication, updating their website or even having it mobile responsive. (I’m hope that this has changed since October 2015) There are some changes that happen last minute which are inevitable. You’ll need to be stalking the TBEX website, Facebook page etc to get the best information. If you don’t, you could miss out on FAM trip announcements, contests, or new sponsors announced to speed networking.
2- Be aware of your fashion choices. I like to call this “Dressing to Your Brand“.
Remember you can’t hide behind your profile pic. There’s no magical Instagram slider here. Shock horror people are actually going to see you. In the flesh. So don’t show too much flesh. TBEX (and most conferences) are relaxed casual wear.You want to look respectful to be taken seriously. If your wanting to approach brands to work with turning up looking like you’ve fallen out of a club may not give you the best chance. Also inappropriate clothing shows your disregard for the local culture. If you have so little awareness for the people of the country your traveling in how will you respect a brands most valuable assets- their image!
3-Take more business cards than you think you’ll need.
Even if you’re a ‘digital nomad’. This flicks back to number 1- be organised. Remember that this is a networking and educational event. Without business cards you are putting yourself at an immediate disadvantage and in the forgotten pile.There’s a few great companies out there who have excellent templates and can print and send directly to a hotel/hostel.
I personally use MOO for my business printing needs. Their pricing is reasonable and the quality even at the lower end is really nice. They have a million-ish different designs or your can DIY.
4- Respect your business cards and those given to you.
5- Make a media kit-if you are wanting to approach a brand have a hard copy media kit and one in your emails. Save yourself a draft pitch email that you can easily copy and paste and sent away! Your media kit should provide your bio, blog stats, blog niche, list of previous companies you may have worked with.
For more info on how to create a media kit go worship Jayne from Girl Tweets World
6- Mind your manners. Even if you’re big on the internet your just the dick who pushed past me and stood on my feet without even a sorry. Chances are if your making a fuss along the way someone will know you are and I’ll know to avoid you for ever.
7- Talk to people! You’re at a conference because you love what you do and want to connect with others. You may not know that person standing alone in front of that table but it doesn’t take much to say hello and form a connection.
8- Enjoy the free pre/post tours on offer. It’s a great way to meet other attendees and to experience the local area. Just because it’s not a fully paid for FAM/press trip doesn’t mean you’ll have any less fun.
9- Use the official hash tag and interact with other people online. It’s a great way to see who’s where and potentially find some new drink buddies to enjoy after hour activities with.
10 – Send out thank you emails to the sponsors, speakers and tour operators. It’s a great way to show the people involved that you did appreciate the time, energy and effort that they have spent.
Photos from my TBEX tour with Expique.
1– Don’t be a dick #dontbeadick
2- Disrespect your business card. This could be a few points but I’ll smoosh it into one for you- your business card is a little itty bitty piece of yourself that you are giving to another person. It’s a connection we are making. The way you conduct yourself with your business card will act as a reminder to me when I’m at home thinking about who I do and don’t want to works tog. Don’t hand your business card over and tell the receiving person it’s only because you can’t be bothered putting it back in your handbag.
3- Never, ever in any circumstance put your business card in the food. On all levels this is a big NO and relates back to point number 1. This is a red flag to everyone else that you are potentially a dick who has no cultural awareness of the country you are in at worst and at best unaware of how to handle yourself in a corporate environment. Unless there is an artful piece of fruit with an invitation to put a card in me just don’t do it.
4- Never, ever sign up people to your mailing list. If you do this then please read point number 1 again. I haven’t agreed to sign up to your mailing list and receive spam just because we met and exchanged business cards. If I find your content engaging and worthwhile then I’ll probably sign up myself. Also you should note that this is called Spam and is illegal in quite a few countries. Don’t rape me of my mailing list choices.
5- Play the follow me unfollow me game. It’s annoying and an obvious strategy which suggests that your content may not be good enough or broad reaching enough to organically grow your social media accounts. With so many apps advising of the follow/unfollow/follow people it might be really embarrassing to sit across the table at lunch from someone who you’ve done this to. Several times. That morning. Let’s not forget that some people actually might be interested in listening to the speakers at workshops and don’t have their heads buried into their devices like a 15yo.
6-Push into the food line or at the bar. People remember bad manners far more often than the good. Everyone is in the same place trying to do the same thing. Relax and talk to the people in line with you. Who knows maybe you’ll make a great connection and come up with an amazing collaboration?
7-Tell people that you didn’t have time to make business cards. If you don’t have time to commit to yourself, your brand than how will you commit to a brand and deliver on commitments? Online printing companies have some fairly good express services available. If you really didn’t have time than do something quirky with your details on it- napkins, origami, paper planes. All you need to is your basic contact details.
8-Be a jerk to the conference staff. There’s a high chance that these people are volunteers, who are helping you have a great time. Just because they have been given a tee-shirt and an official lanyard does not mean that they are being paid to deal with your bad attitude.
9-Forget to network with brands and the speakers! Most of my time in between break out sessions and workshops I was talking to sponsors, brands from speed networking and the speakers themselves and generally cool people. So many bloggers seemed to think this was high school and that hanging with your new BFF was like totally the most amazing thing to do. Then complained that they never got time to speak to potential clients. You are an adult- prioritise your time.
10- Please read Rule 1.
There’s a lot more to be said but this is a great guide to get you started on your networking conference adventure. Let us know in the comments below if you have any tips and tricks to help out conference newbies.