Entries in ‘Conferences and courses’ Journal

Travel Blog Exchange (TBEX) Conference in Chicago, Illinois

Sunday August 2, 2009 at 7:07 AM | 6 Comments

Posted by Nancy D. Brown

Chicago photo by Nancy D. BrownI'm back from Chicago, Illinois after speaking about travel writing at BlogHer and attending the Travel Blog Exchange conference. TBEX '09 was organized by Debbie Dubrow, Kim Mance, Maren Hogan and a slew of behind the scenes volunteers and sponsors.

Jessie Voights at Wandering Educators put together this comprehensive recap.

The program kicked off with speed dating, followed with four informative and educational panels.

Creating a Lively and Successful Travel Blog
Sean Keener – BootsnAll Travel Network
Heather Poole - Gadling
Matt Kepnes – Nomadic Matt
Michael Yessis – WorldHum

This panel provided a behind-the-scenes look at some of the top travel sites and the motivation behind their travel blog. Tips for content were offered, as well as touching on what keeps them bloggging and how to work with blogger burnout.


Jamie Pearson and Pam MandelWorking with Public Relations
Leanne Jakubowski – Social Media Director, Walt Disney World Resort
Kristin Unger – Chicago Tourism Office
Angela Berardino - Turner PR
Pam Mandel – Nerd's Eye View
Jamie Pearson – Travel Savvy Mom

As an accredited PR professional myself, this panel held great interest to me. As a travel writer, I look to social media savvy PR pros for trip planning and press trips. This was a well balanced session including PR folks and travel bloggers who work with PR agencies. The PR people are looking for well connected travel writers. Surprisingly, it wasn't about site traffic, as much as it was about quality content in a niche market.  

On the flip side, the travel writers on the panel talked about the ethics of accepting travel products for review and press trips. They talked about etiquette for engaging PR offices, what PR agencies can and can't do for travel writers, and the importance of both an accurate summary of your site visitors and social media for determining your influence in the market.

Christopher Elliott and Wendy Perrin at TBEX ChicagoTravel Journalism vs. Blogging – is it all just writing?
Wendy Perrin – Conde Nast Traveler Magazine
Jen Leo – LA Times Daily Deal Blog
Chris Elliott – Nat'l Geographic Traveler's ombudsman and columnist for MSNBC.com
Rosalind Cummings-Yeates – Far-Sighted Fly Girl

As a print journalist and travel blogger, I'm often asked how the two writing techniques differ. While it is true that blogging has become more recognized as a legitimate journalistic outlet, it is not the same as having a Journalism degree. Wendy Perrin noted that her CN Traveler column had a three month lead time, while her Perrin Post blog is timely and up to the minute with deals, news, and tips. All of the panelists agreed that blogging is the new frontier in the travel industry and that we are learning as we go.

Podcasting and Video
Chris Christensen – Amateur Traveler
Mark Peacock – Travel Commons.com
Chris Elliott – Elliott.org
(moderated by Kim Mance of Galavanting.tv)

The web is maturing and multimedia is becoming a significant part of how people use the internet. We learned that 30-second to 1-minute videos are optimal. The different types of equipment used for podcasting were touched on, as well as syndicating your podcasts. Finally, we discussed quality video vs. quick video. Here's my YouTube video on Lost Luggage Tips from this Chicago trip.

TBEX 2010
Understandably, the organizers were happiliy exhausted with the results of the conference. When I asked for next years dates, I was told that BlogHer's dates were August 5-7, 2010 and their conference would be taking place in New York. Perhaps TBEX will again follow behind BlogHer? Check back for more details.

In speaking with fellow travel writers and bloggers, a session on traffic and monetization would prove popular. It was wonderful meeting so many fellow travel writers and bloggers in real life.

Travel Writers Share Lost Luggage Tips

Monday July 27, 2009 at 7:07 AM | 12 Comments

"Nancy D. Brown"

Travel writer Nancy D. Brown share tips for how to find lost luggage

 With a heavy heart, I waited for the baggage claim carousel at O’Hare Airport to circle one last time. Surely my duffel bag would magically appear momentarily. Afterall, this was a non-stop United Airlines flight from San Francisco to Chicago. I had checked my luggage in two hours early. How could this be happening to me, and at 1:30 in the morning?

Sadly, I admitted defeat and went over to the steel machine where I was to punch in my luggage identification number and wait for it to spit out the delayed baggage report receipt. Dejectedly clutching my laptop computer, I shuffled off to find the airport shuttle to the Hyatt Regency O’Hare. The nice folks at the front desk hooked me up with some toiletries and I went to bed confident that my luggage would be delivered before noon checkout.

As is the case of a lodging editor, I was moving on to review another hotel property the next day. Still no bag. After calling United Airlines 800 number, I was directed to their on-line site (which was down) to check the status of my luggage. I checked into the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place and was greeted with a friendly and sympathetic staff. A well-stocked toiletry bag was provided to me, but, alas, no Briggs and Riley duffel bag.

Eventually, I was reunited with my bag, but not before having to purchase a pair of dress pants and no-iron shirt for my BlogHer Travel Panel speaking engagement. I also need to send a shout out to Mary Kay Cosmetics and Public Relations Account Supervisor Jill Kleiner of Coyne. Her agency overnight Federal Expressed their entire make up line to me while I was staying at the Sheraton Hotel. And yes, Cat Lincoln of CleverGirls Collective saved the day when she slipped me some vital Yummie Tummie shapewear undergarments.

Rather than rant and rave, I’d like to offer some lost luggage travel tips from professional travel writers if an airline loses your luggage.

Travel Writers Share Lost Luggage Tips

Jennifer Leo: Los Angeles Times Travel Blog and Editor of Sand in My Bra series

Wendy Perrin: Conde Nast Traveler’s Consumer News Editor and Perrin Post blogger

Sean Keener: Co-Founder of the BootsnAll Travel Network

Rosalind Cummings-Yeates: Freelance journalist and travel blogger

Kim Mance: Editor of Go Galavanting.com

Donna Hull: Freelance Writer and blogger at My Itchy Travel Feet

Lanora Mueller: Writing Travel blogger

Shannon Hurst Lane: Freelance travel writer

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48 Hours in Eugene, Oregon

Sunday April 19, 2009 at 5:05 PM | 7 Comments

Alton Baker park

Visit Alton Baker Park in Eugene, Oregon

It was a no-brainer to squeeze two nights in Eugene before the conference I was to attend in Salem. I flew out of San Francisco on United direct to the Emerald City and was ready for a flurry of activities.  After picking up my rental car I drove to Valley River Inn, situated on the banks of the Williamette River. Memories of inner tube float trips on the lazy river, by way of Alton Baker Park, came to mind. The fact that our hands and feet were blue and numb from the mountain chill of the water were now a hazy detail in my memory bank.

King Estate Block 4D Clone 777 2006 Pinot Noir

Sip a glass of wine at King Estate, Eugene, Oregon

This trip, I approached Eugene as an adult of legal drinking age and headed to King Estate Winery for a gourmet lunch in their upscale restaurant, followed with a tour of the property.  It was a drizzly day as I approached the winery, but as is typical of Eugene, the rain cleared, followed with a hint of sunshine. The sheep munching grass between rows of grape vines added to the country feel.

That evening I dined at Marche, located in the 5th Street Public Market building. In true Eugene fashion, Founding Chef/Owner Stephanie Pearl Kimmel and Executive Chef Rocky Maselli utilize organically grown, local produce, as well as working with environmentally conscious farmers, ranchers and foragers.

I didn’t get a chance to walk around the 5th Street Public Market in the day time, however, I’d recommend this place to circle back on a rainy day. Fortunately for me, the Saturday Market was in full glory with its tie dye booths, only-in-Eugene outfits, free musical entertainment, accompanied with an awesome variety of food booth selections. I looked at the long line in front of Bangkok Grill and joined the in-the-know locals for some excellent Pad Thai with homemade peanut sauce.

"Eugene Girl"

Visit the Saturday Market in Eugene, Oregon

If you do find yourself in Eugene during a stormy day, an hour or two at Pearl Day Spa is sure to leave you relaxed and re-charged. The converted house on Pearl Street features two sky chairs suspended from the ceiling in the waiting area. As I carry my laptop with me, my shoulders appreciated the one hour massage.

You scream, I scream, Barack Obama stops for ice cream in Eugene. Prince Pucklers ice cream shop is a favorite hang out for college students and locals, alike. While the owners are the first to admit that they are technologically-challenged, they did point out that an admirer launched a Fans of Prince Pucklers Facebook page. And by the way, Obama’s flavor of choice at Prince Pucklers; mint chip.

Least you think that I simply ate and drank my way through Eugene in the past 48 hours, I did stay over night at the Augusta House, an all suite Bed & Breakfast tucked in the hills of Eugene. I’ll save my review of Beppe & Gianni’s Trattoria for the Uptake.com Restaurants Blog.

What are some of your favorite things to see and do in Eugene, Oregon? Please add them to the comments section. Look out Eugene, I’ll be back.

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Photo Alton Baker Park by Vern Rogers