TBEX Conference Minneapolis
I attended the TBEX Conference in Minneapolis.
TBEX brings together bloggers and sponsors to network and for education.
The conference took place at the Radisson Blue Mall of America hotel over Memorial Day weekend in 2016. The conference is held annually in Asia, Europe and North America.
The conference included two days of pre-TBEX tours, two days of conference and three social events. In addition, there were several FAM trips offered following the conference in cities surrounding Minneapolis.
Tickets were available for the conference at a rate of around $120 for bloggers and around $450 for companies. Registration was completed online through the TBEX webpage.
The next North American Conference will be in May 2017 in Huntsville, Alabama. Tickets are available here.
In Minneapolis, pre-TBEX tours included food and beverage tours of Minneapolis and St Paul, brewery tours, mob tours, cooking classes, and sightseeing to some of the surrounding cities.
I participated in two of the pre-TBEX tours and wrote about my experience on the blog:
Overall I felt the two tours that I participated on were excellent. I would highly recommend taking advantage of these pre-TBEX options even if you live in the city that is hosting the event.
Registration took place at the Radisson Blue at Mall of America near the meeting area on the second floor.
Registration was complete by two friendly agents who quickly checked me in, provided a name tag with lanyard, provided a swag bag and a metro transit pass good for 10 rides on the light rail train.
A small reception was held outside with ice cocktails, snow and photos.
The swag bag was filled with brochures from some of the conference sponsors. The materials discussed partnership opportunities through affiliate networks as well as general information.
Several magazines were provided with information on the Mall of America, Minneapolis, St. Paul and visitor attractions within the city.
Local beef sticks were provided as a treat as well as a water bottle.
The bag was stuffed full of information which was helpful and it was a nice gesture.
Of note, there was a coupon code for 12-months of Trip It Pro. I will be giving away the pass soon to a lucky reader of the blog.
The conference began with a general session where everyone came together to hear a motivational talk by Lou Mongello who runs a successful blog and podcast about Walt Disney World. Lou talked about what bloggers should focus on: creating the best content so your existing readers will love it and tell others about it. He advised people to spend less time focusing on the numbers, and more time on making sure you have great content.
After the opening session, the conference offered six breakout sessions where you could pick from about five different presentations. Three of the breakout sessions were available on the first day and three were available the following day.
The presentations were developed under certain tracks; however, the description of each track was not easily understood. In addition, the schedule only listed the name of the topic and the speakers.
I unfortunately attended a few presentations that sounded good based on the description but they were actually for a different audience.
In between each session, there were networking opportunities between the attendees.
In addition, an exhibit hall room was setup with companies where bloggers could get information and network with the providers.
The second morning began with a second general session where Johnny Jet spoke before the the remaining three breakout sessions began. In addition, the next location of Huntsville, Alabama was announced at that time.
The formal conference concluded with a drawing for prizes and a thank you to the supporters as well as a presentation by Andrew Zimmern from the Travel Channel and local Minneapolis Celebrity. Andrew’s presentation was fun and he made everyone laugh as well as he encouraged all of us to have an “editor” for all things in life. He made that applicable to our blogs, friendships and interactions with other people.
I felt that the general sessions were all excellent and the networking opportunities were top notch.
Lunch and snacks
Lunch was held in the same room where the general session took place.
The Radisson Blue provided a make your own boxed lunch with a choice of sandwich, chips, cole slaw and an apple. In addition water was available.
The buffet lines were setup neatly and the food was all fresh.
There were snacks available in the afternoon.
Prior to the end of each day, there were speed networking sessions setup where you could apply to network with the providers in the exhibit hall.
For each network appointment, bloggers were given about eight minutes to talk with the provider.
The event was setup similar to a speed dating event.
The appointments were facilitated by an online scheduling system.
There were about 10 appointment times available each day.
I was able to secure about five or six appointments each day.
The networking went quickly but it was fun having the opportunity to communicate with the different vendors.
The conference offered three social events:
- A night of fun at Nickelodeon Universe with food and rides within the Mall of America
- Prince Dance Party and Celebration at First Avenue in Minneapolis
- Food Trucks and Craft Beer in St. Paul and a ride on the Padleford Riverboats
I went to the Nickelodeon party as well as the food truck event. Both of the events were excellent. I had a blast checking out the rides in the exclusive party.
It was awesome having the whole amusement park to ourselves. There were only around 300 or so people there that night so it was fun to explore the park and sample food.
The food truck event was also a lot of fun and I got to sample a lot of excellent options from the local vendors. In addition, several craft breweries served multiple varieties of beer.
I will cover the two parties in another post.
The TBEX in Minnesota Conference was a lot of fun. It was a great opportunity to network and meet fellow travel bloggers as well as to gather information about sponsorship opportunities for the blog.
I enjoyed the event and look forward to attending again next year.
Did you attend TBEX in Minnesota? What were your thoughts?