Bloggers opinion on TBEX ASIA 2015
Twice before I had planned and booked for TBEX and twice I have been deprived of the opportunity for some reason or the other. I was third time lucky! At last it was TBEX ASIA at Bangkok Thailand !
As a newbie to this event I was apprehensive about what I would do and whom I shall meet. Eventually I decided to keep my mind open and take it as it comes. I must say, I had a fantastic time and I strive to put to pen my sentiments and those of my friends.
I have also captured a few things that could be improved. Mind you, I am not on a fault finding expedition here, just a little something so that TBEX becomes THE event for bloggers around the world. Following are the views by fifteen bloggers of different countries who attended the event. Most of them are of the same view, while some responses are very interesting. 😀
Positive things that people liked most about the event.
1) Many pre and post-TBEX tours, awesome spas, a lot of workshops and sessions to choose from. I also enjoyed the opening and the closing party, especially the Muay Thai, fireworks and Thai dancing. It was really a beautiful experience. Free SIM cards and public transportation cards were very useful, too. And I loved getting a free Muay Thai Live Show ticket as I saw the show one year ago and some Thai friends perform there so it was awesome to reunite with them again and see the incredible show one more time.
Alexandra Kovacova from CrazySexyFunTraveler
2) The chance to meet so many different awesome travel bloggers, all in the exact same situation as us and of course to network with travel industry representatives who are keen to promote the LGBT travel market.
The large network of bloggers we met have now become a unique community of close friends online simply because we stay in touch every day online via the various social media channels we interact with.
Also Pinterest: it’s our goal to put more effort into it and become Pinning Queens.
Stefan Arestis and Sebastien Chaneac of Nomadic Boys.
3) For an event of this size it was very well organized. The fact that one could register any time, on 15th ensured that there was no crowd at the registration desk. All the tours happened well on time and were managed efficiently and so were the various breakout sessions. Meeting fellow bloggers was the biggest high for me.
Vasudevan of DigitalLensReflex
4) It was like being in a big room full of puppies. Everybody there loved what they were doing. Nobody really knew where they were headed but everyone was filled with passion and I just loved the kind of atmosphere TBEX created. Real friendships and connections were created. I think that’s pretty awesome.
Petra Vorackova of Restless child
5) For me the biggest highlight was definitely meeting all the other bloggers and getting to share my knowledge.
Sharon Gourlay, Where’s Sharon
6) Meeting new people, making friends, listening to fresh ideas, finding out innovative ways of developing my blog is what I liked most about TBEX. The fact that there was a wealth of knowledge and experience in one place where I could ask as many questions as I liked, was without comparison, the best part of TBEX. It gave me a well needed push to actually ‘go for it’ causing a motivational outburst and an indispensable urge to improve my blogging skills!
Marijke Slaats & Javier Godinez from Live Two Travel
7) I’ve had a great time during TBEX Asia 2015. I’ve met a lot of incredibly awesome people and learned a lot from the different sessions I attended.
I enjoyed the Opening Party the most. They did an awesome job in introducing us to Thai culture with the food, massage, performances and Loi Krathong. The party was also very conducive to mingle with fellow attendees.
Mark Conrad Maramag of Plan Your Trip Now
8) I can say that TBEX Asia is worth the wait! For the longest time, I’ve been envious of my fellow travel blogger friends who were able to attend the previous conferences especially those who made it to Girona and Cancun. It’s like a mix of learning, business and pleasure.
What I like about the event is the diversity of topics discussed. There is something for everyone, whether you’re a beginner or an advanced blogger. What I enjoyed about the whole thing are the tours. I wasn’t able to explore Bangkok that much when I went there more than three years ago. Now, I can say that Bangkok is one of my favorite cities in the world.
Mica Rodriguez of Senyorita
9) TBEX was a real surprise for me in a good way. I rarely get to meet other bloggers person to person and now I can see the importance of nurturing those relationships, not just for friendship but for the general support we can give each other. Technically, emotionally, etc… I also hadn’t realized that such a variety of bloggers would be there, from the more laid back to the serious monetizers, so I was happy to meet some kindred spirits among the masses.
Vanessa Workman The island Drum
10) The big positives were the events (pre-Bex tours, opening event) and the venue each day was fantastic. I went on a cookery class I would have paid money for but it was all free through TBEX. The food throughout was delicious and more than enough. The venue had good breakout sections and quiet areas plus places for networking. It was connected on the metro line and each day was well organized.
Kate-Frankie Brennan of This could lead to anywhere
11) I think the most positive thing I liked at TBEX was how everyone was encouraged to meet new people and event the companies. I think for most people who couldn’t schedule an appointment, they still managed to chat with different company representatives and take it forward. I think it was organised well and the entire event had a more casual relaxed approach which makes it easier for a fledgling blogger or someone who hasn’t interacted with other bloggers feel at ease.
For me personally the highlight was to meet different people specially bloggers who I follow and admire.
Roxanne Bamboat of The Tiny Taster
12) There are many things I enjoyed about TBEX Asia 2015. The pre tour was wonderful, I had a lot of fun at the opening night dinner, and the talks were more than informative, but I think overall I really appreciated how welcoming and accommodating everything was for the attendees. From the minute I got to the conference, I felt welcomed, and there were a lot of little things that made my time there more convenient. I made the mistake of booking a place further away from the convention center, so the train passes were a big plus for me. I feel like they went above and beyond with our lunches, and were very good at accommodating every dietary need. There were plenty of people there to answer your questions and point you in the right direction, and as a first timer, I needed a bit of help.
Sadie Redinger of Eclectic Trekker
13) The way Pre-Bex and Post-Bex tours was handled was excellent. The organisers made sure that everyone could experience at least one thing outside of the conference and parties, by allowing registering for only ‘one such tour’ till registrations for participation were on. Subsequently they opened it out to all for more than one such experience.
Ajay Sood of Travelure
14) I like the opportunity to meet fellow bloggers, some old, some new, some prominent. It’s rare to meet with these people as I don’t travel abroad often, as much as the RTW bloggers. Naturally, I picked up a few things along the way, learning a lot, but isn’t that why we come to conventions anyways?
And the food was a big positive.
Murni and Vira Zoelfikar of Indohoy
15) After four months based out of an office in Arusha, Tanzania, TBEX was more about the social opportunities it presented than anything else. Despite Aussie on the Road having celebrated its fifth birthday the week before the conference, I’d never had the opportunity to meet up with some of my blogging friends and heroes.
That isn’t to say that I didn’t learn a great deal from the break-outs and from the simple, pleasurable process of exchanging war stories and tips over a few too many beers. For every lesson I learned in a presentation, I learned another two or three while sharing a Pad Thai on Kao Sanh Road or buying a round of beers on the blogger organised Craft Beer Crawl.
TBEX, to me, is all about coming together and finding that feeling of community that we sometimes lack while we’re on the road. I got to make online friendships more concrete, met amazing people, and had a blast doing it.
I’ve already got my tickets to two of next year’s TBEX events.
Chris Walker-Bush of Aussie on the Road
Now it’s time to see the room for improvement about the event, as they say. Please Note that these are only pointers so that some of these wrinkles may be ironed out. 😀
1) Once again I think the sessions should be labelled as beginners/intermediate/advanced so we all know if to go there to learn something or it would be waste of our time. Unfortunately, most of the time it’s always the basic info which is not so useful for experienced bloggers. And this time it was freezing cold, not enjoyable at all wearing 2 jumpers while it’s hot outside.
2) The Blogger Bridge speed networking event was a little bit disorganized, with some industry representatives without their schedule, so not really knowing who they were meeting and when. On a few occasions our meetings were hijacked or cut short because previous ones over ran.
Stefan Arestis and Sebastien Chaneac
3) Many were seen to say that there was a lack of communication by way of email. All communications towards the days leading upto the event only happened on FB, which is fine as long as you tell all. There were a few communications that had to be repeated in FB, that could be avoided by making it a sticky post or something.
The final email on post TBEX Fam trip took a long time coming. Eventually because of its contention with my flight back, I had to forego. This is a learning for me that I probably should keep a couple of days more as buffer.
4) Maybe offline board, like literally a cork board where people would post stuff such as: “Who wants to come to XXX tonight find me…” or something. Everyone wanted to hang out all the time. There needs to be as many ways for people to do so as possible. But I mean, the FB group works, so I guess it’s all good.
5) Some of the presentations were too brief without any real information. It is disappointing to walk into a presentation and have it only last for ten minutes. I also found information in general to be at a low level.
6) Considering that we work in a digital era where most of the TBEX participants
work online, I found that the communication before and during the event could have been better. It was difficult to find out what the programme was and who the speakers were beforehand. Also, if you were not aware of the TBEX Facebook group you pretty much missed all communication as everything was communicated on there. So in that respect, the communication part of the event could have been managed more professionally.
7) The thing that needs improvement is in information dissemination. Not everyone is a member of the registration for the tours since they were not part of the Facebook group, some didn’t even know that such a group exist.
Mark Conrad Maramag
8) In terms of improvement, I think they should also consider the Asian bloggers for choosing the topics. We know that majority of the attendees are from Western countries and they have the advantage in so many programs when it comes to monetizing blogs. For example, I was hoping to get more affiliate programs which will be beneficial to us Asians (Amazon is not really that much of an advantage here in the Philippines).
9) I do regret not being able to attend more talks, because of the tight and often overlapping scheduling of the speakers. The conference could have used one more day in my opinion to spread things out a bit more. I gained some valuable insight and inspiration from the talks I did attend, that’s for sure.
10) I think the major improvement needs to be communication. Organising and the criteria for FAM trips was late and confusing. It needs to be open and transparent. Do the hosts only want bloggers with the biggest numbers? Do they have a particular niche they are looking for? Accommodation to pitch was last minute and most hotels were pretty expensive. I think communicating each of these things as quickly as possible would be a massive help. Bloggerbridge could also be managed better or have better rules. Emails and meeting requests went unanswered a lot.
11) I think the speaker sessions need to be a little more fine tuned and I think the companies they invite need to be a little more focused towards an Asian market. For eg At TBEX Asia you can’t have a company saying we’d rather work with European bloggers because they are based there. It makes no sense to have that company in the ASIA TBEX. I also feel they could have included a lot more Asian speakers and topics could have been more Asian driven. I would have liked to see more Indian bloggers, Indonesian, Singaporean etc talk about their markets or the Asian tourism boards at the networking sessions. I also do feel it is pointless to invite a Chinese blogger when there isn’t a single Chinese blogger attending the conference.
12) One thing I felt could use some improvement is the communication beforehand. I felt like I missed out on some opportunities because I didn’t know where to look, and I know a couple other first timers missed out on some things too because of the same reason.
Overall I had a really great time at TBEX Asia, and I look forward to attending the conference again in the future.
13) The number and quality of brands who attended could surely be improved. Some of the brand representatives who attended had little or no respect for bloggers. They were indifferent and seemed to be there just because their organisation had decided to participate.
14) Selection of speakers and material of speakers. I think they could get better speakers for some of the sessions. The topik might be good, but the speakers can be better or directed to better time use.
Murni and Vira Zoelfikar
15) As far as areas that could be improved go, I was surprised and underwhelmed by the opening and closing ceremonies. While both looked spectacular and had delicious food, they were more style than substance. Running out of alcohol with *within the first hour at *both* events is just bush league.
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