I arrived at the TBEX Europe 2017 conference in Killarney with a number of questions: How can travel bloggers increase traffic and visitors to their site, how can a blogger maximise earning opportunities, and what will delegates of the largest travel blogging conference series think of my home county? And the answers? For the two former, search engine optimisation (SEO) and keeping Google happy is the key. For the latter question, the feedback was overwhelming positive.
TBEX (Travel Blog Exchange) conferences attract both travel bloggers and international travel brands for a week of networking and learning. The Killarney TBEX was held in the Killarney Convention Centre complex, a venue well-versed in event-hosting. The two day conference was book-ended by days of writing workshops and tours. It was the second time a TBEX conference was held in Ireland, Dublin 2013 being the other occasion.
Gary Arndt’s Opening Keynote and contribution to the breakout session panel on creative earning ideas dispensed invaluable advice and constructive honesty relevant to writers of all genres and platforms. On the other hand, social media expert Ciaran Blumenfeld’s Opening Keynote on day two was very specific to online content creators. Whilst the hard graft of writing, presentation, technical innovation and online engagement was a feature of Gary and Ciaran’s presentations, pure physical endurance was the overwhelming element of Kerry explorer Mike O’Shea’s Closing Keynote.
Breakout sessions were divided along topic lines such as visual media, strategy and entrepreneur. Effective SEO was the general message from the panel on building website visitors. But we had to wait until day two before SEO was demystified in an excellent session by Laura Lynch and Gemma Armit. My final breakout session was an inspiring talk by Ernest White II on diversifying his travel blog into a multimedia business.
Do I recommend attending TBEX? Absolutely. I met travel bloggers and online content creators of all levels and niches who gained from the learning and networking opportunities on offer in TBEX’s positive and co-operative environment. The information, advice and contacts I gathered from the two days will be invaluable. And when it came to the conference’s socialising aspect, I took on the mantle of destination expert.
Living near Killarney, my travel expense bill to the conference was approximately €10 (car diesel). I had the added benefit of the world coming to my doorstep to work and play. But most importantly, did the world enjoy that doorstep? From this post by The Upbeat Path and the conference blog posts on the TBEX website, it looks like the world did.