I spontaneously decided to attend TBEX – a global travel conference that educates brands and travel creatives by facilitating partnerships, growth of revenues and brand visibility. I will share with you insights about the TBEX conference, in case you are interested to participate next time, or if you are just curious to know what such conference is like. TBEX is great event for any content travel creator – bloggers, bloggers, YouTubers, TikTokers or even tourism company owners. Everyone related to tourism industry is welcome! This is a review of the most recent TBEX, which took place in Marbella, Spain in July 2022.
How I found out about TBEX?
I decided to participate after a review of another travel blogger who mentioned that TBEX was a good starting point for her blogger career. I am not fully dedicated to my blog, but the description says that it is open to any travel content creator. I thought TBEX would be amazing event to connect with other creators and to learn something new about the industry. Honestly, I had no idea what to expect, but I just followed my gut feeling and booked the ticket super spontaneously (before I would start questioning it).
I have never been to a similar conference and in my opinion TBEX probably doesn’t focus too much on millenials. As a millenial I follow a lot of social media like Instagram or Tik Tok and unfortunately TBEX is not the most active on Instagram, which scared me a bit at first. In fact, their social media accounts are not the best if you think that we are in the content creator industry. But I already purchased my ticket and I thought that the worst thing which can happen is that I would lose some money, but I will learn a lesson. (Spoiler: I am sooo happy I went)
I bought the last minute ticket (5 weeks before the event) and it’s price was 397 USD. My personal tip is buying a ticket in advance, they tend to be WAY cheaper.
What to expect on TBEX Conference?
First TBEX might be a little bit confusing, so I wish I had all information before coming. TBEX is really big and offers so much, therefore I want you to get as much as possible out of the event! The whole event is divided into pre-BEX trips, the conference and FAM trips. Definitely, take at least a whole week vacation just for this event.
Before the actual conference, which last 2 days – Wednesday and Thursday, TBEX offer something called Pre-BEX Tour. These tours usually take place close to the conference venue. These small daily trips are a nice introduction to the destination covering all aspects – gastronomy, sports activities, nature, socio-economical aspects. You have many options, but you need to sign up through an email which you will receive before the conference. As soon as you get the email sign up fast! The coolest trips are booked fast. Theese pre-BEX Tours are included in your ticket. You don’t pay anything extra – transport, food and tours are included, no matter which trip you will choose.
I personally signed up for some trips I was not particularly excited about. I signed up very late and all my preferred trips were booked. Therefore, I decided to show up early in the morning and asked if anyone cancelled the participation. In my personal opinion, there is quite a high chance that someone will not show up. I was lucky and I got a chance to go to Caminito del Rey.
Caminito del Rey is a walkway pinned along the steep walls of a narrow gorge in El Chorro. The road was closed for many years and it re-opened in 2015. Wikipedia says that it has been known in the past as the “world’s most dangerous walkway” following five deaths in 1999 and 2000! Nowadays, it is very safe, and well mantained. In my opinion even too safe, since it does not have such adventurous feeling and adrenaline experience. This article contains all the information regarding the tickets and parking slots, they are adding a lot of current updates.
Just to give you an idea of which trips were offered. The conference was in Marbella and the trips were organized to the following destinations – Mijas, Malaga, Ronda and more. I have participated only in one Pre-BEX trip because I had some working duties, but many people have participated both days and had therefore great experience discovering the Andalusía.
The conference took two days. The schedule was packed and it was scattered in four different rooms simultaneously within three-time slots. Therefore, it was impossible to attend all speeches. However, the speeches are recorded and should be delivered about a month after the conference. The programme was split into 4 categories like branding, social media, online marketing and the future of tourism. All of them sound very interesting but you have to decide which one to visit physically. I recommend picking the speech not only based on the name, but also the person. Check out the speakers on LinkedIn and Social Media and see if their profile resonates with you. I was very happy about the session I attended. I picked Branding: Content, Consistency and Community, Developing and Active Community Through Live Video, Building a Cohesive Strategy for Your Brand on the first day.
The second day is organized basically the same way as the first one. 3 time sloths a lunch in between and during the afternoon you have a chance to connect with companies and tourism boards. TBEX collaborates with a Blogger Bridge a database which connect companies and content creators. Make sure you are registered there and you have your porfolio and information there. In Marbella there were not so many companies and a lot of them were local. Usually, you register a time sloth and you can do speednetworking with the companies. You have limited time to introduce yourself and negotiate some partnership.
Many participants told me that TBEX usually have even around 100 different companies, which give a great opportunity to find some nice collaborations worldwide. TBEX in Marbella was relavitely small and it was visible that the pandemic is still not completely over.
FAM trips are as cool as the conference itself. Not sure what is more cool. If you are lucky, you will be chosen for a FAM trip, which is basically a fully paid press trip. However, the spots are limited in comparison to really high number of participants. Therefore, it’s is not guaranteed that you will participate. I didn’t really know about the FAM trip until I arrived first day to the conference and every single trip was full. I kept asking every single day if I can somehow sneak into and participate anyway. It seemed like this year I will be without FAM trip.
At the end, I was lucky as a friend of mine convinced me to show up early in the morning and hope that someone will not show up (thank you Kevin!). The same situation like with the Pre-BEX trip. I was again lucky and I got my spot in FAM trip to Almería. I couldn’t be happier.
I was so happy since Almería is quite off-the-beaten-path destination and not everyone goes there. That’s something I love. We had the opportunity to visit a movie places like Oasys Minihollywood and the only European desert – Tabernas desert. The desert if big and just walking there could be quite boring or even impossible due to heat, we drove through the dessert with buggies. Buggies cost around 120 E for 2 hours tours and one buggie can fit up to 4 people. It was a lot of fun! We finished our day at Tony García Restaurant several times nominated for a Michelin star. The organization of the trip was on a really good level!
The second day we visited National park Cabo de Gata- Nijar. The roads in the parks are quite bumby therefore we went by 4×4 cars. The National Park was really nice and it almost felt like not in Spain! Big and vast green hills just next to empty beaches. The park has a very different spirit than other touristic spots. It’s a hidden treasure and it’s a very peaceful place. The park has many very remoted beaches, so if you look for some relatively unexplored place, Parque Nacional Cabo de Gata would be a good option for you! At the end of the second day we discover the city of Almería, went to see the Almería castle and the city center. We ended up another, even better restaurant called 4 Hojas. The Sunday was a departure day, where our private driver took us to the airport, in my case, it left me in Granada.
Is it worth going?
Definitely. I have nothing to compare it with, but despite (many) miscommunication struggles, I find the conference amazing. People are extremely helpful, easy-going and funny. Even though, I paid a lot to participate, I don’t regret any single euro spent. I think the sessions itself were super worth it, but if you consider that you have trips, food, welcome drinks and possibly a full paid press trip paid, then it is more than worth it! I would also say that it’s not only about having nice lunch and trips. On the trips, you can go easily on your own – the biggest value for me are the people there. People of all kinds – from beginners to a real veterans and experienced business owners.
The biggest takeaway from the TBEX is for me the fact that content creation is a REAL business, which can allow you to travel the world and earn nice money! And also that it’s important to consistenly work on our skills and portfolio. No one is going to do this for us.
My top tips for your TBEX
1. Print out business cards – I thought that LinkedIn is enough, but business cards are still widely used. Print them out and give them to people, even if you have a short talk.
2. Try to get in contact with someone who has already been to TBEX – for example me :D As mentioned earlier, TBEX sometimes lack in a centralized communication, so you want to make sure you are always updated.
3. Be flexible – sometimes the programme change and therefore, make sure you have extra days before and after the TBEX. For example, I didn’t know I would participate in a FAM trip, but because I had extra 4 days, I could easily participate. It would be a pity to miss out this great opportunity.
4. Talk to as many people as possible – TBEX is full of like minded people and you never know who could be a great match to your content. You might find interesting guests to your podcasts or similar content creator on Youtube. Partnerships are great, not only with companies.
5. Prepare your pitch – you will be always asked “What do you do?” “What is your content about?” “What is your niche?” Make sure that you have it more and less clear, so you can easily showcase who you are and what you do.
6. Follow up! – Follow up with the friendships you create and also the contacts you have gathered. Companies might be overwhelmed after the TBEX so make sure you contact them couple of times and you remind them that you have met in TBEX and you are open to collaborate.
7. Produce content – TBEX together with tourism boards and companies pour a lot of money in the trips and events. They want to make sure that content creators will spread their word and power and inform others. Don’t stress about producing too much content, but it’s great for you to be active. TBEX can be a great catalyzator for your career!
8. Be open – listen to people and listen to what they do and say. Even if you are following a certain path, be open to what others do and listen to them carefully. You might pick up some outstanding opportunities! Many participants were amazed when they found out about the power of Tik Tok
If you know what is your passion – go for it! I have much more self-esteem in what I am doing and I have met many encouriging and experienced people. TBEX in Marbella gave me great friendships, experience and most importanly, the nicest memories! I loved every single minute of it! I can’t wait to go to next TBEX! Hopefully next time as a speaker, who can enrich others with my own experience! :) Wish me luck!
Have you ever heard of TBEX? Would you go? Do you know any other interesting conferences? Let me know it the comment!