Kerwin’s Korner: March 2014 – My Monthly Activity Report

Kerwin's Corner

Kerwin's Korner March 2014I’ve been meaning to start this for sometime now, but have not. Initially, I wanted it to be a Monthly Income Report, but I think a Monthly Activity Report works for now and will see where it heads. Maybe you’ll hate it and see no value in it and thus I’ll stop doing it or you’ll love it and want more. Let me know what you think though by leaving a comment below after you’ve read it, but only after you’ve read it. The goal is to inspire and stimulate you, so here goes.

Business Cards

Business Card May 2014I’m fresh out of business cards, so I made slight modifications and ordered new cards. This is my fifth iteration now. I keep making changes as my business model changes and I receive feedback. When I hand someone my card, I watch their reaction and listen carefully if they have any comments. Once I handed someone my card and they asked me what is my name. A clear sign that my name was not prominent enough. I fixed that as quickly as possible and dumped those cards. You have to be observant and adapt to feedback quickly. I use Vistaprint for all my cards.


I’m very big on conferences so I tend to plan my stays with friends around that time. I get to see my friends and spend time with their families. A win-win for all involved. It’s fun being a nomad in that respect. Here are my conferences for March 2014.

New York Times Travel Show

Models at Atlantic City, NJ booth at Times Travel ShowI decided to hang out with one of my high school friends who live in the Bronx around this time. It’s always fun hanging with them and seeing my godsons as well. I can’t go to New York and not visit.

You can always apply for a Press pass for this event. If you qualify, there is no charge. The event brings together DMOs from mostly the Caribbean and local U.S. This year, Atlantic City, NJ had a large presence with their DOAC promotion. One cool event was a better form of speed dating. This allowed the DMOs to come to our tables and talk with us. As such, I was able to talk with several of them within an hour and a half (Barbados, Cayman Islands, Curaçao, Martinique and the USVI). These are now excellent contacts and will serve as great information for my readership.

It was freezing cold during this New York visit, but I took time out to do a Walks of New York walk with Jeff Dobbins. I had not realized that I knew so little about New York, even though I lived there for about six years or so until I did this walk. My favorite part of the walk was the visit to Grand Central station plus an inside look at the being renovated St. Patrick’s Cathedral. If you are in New York, I highly recommend it.

Blogger Match up in Asia

I had signed up for this new service to be able to get in touch with DMOs from the Asia side of things. I have readers always asking about this part of the world so I need to develop contacts and become proficient. I had signed up and totally forgotten about it. I did receive an invite to fill out the forms to qualify for attendance, but totally missed the “you are invited to apply” email. Once I saw it, I quickly filled it out and am now awaiting a response.

If you want to sign up for Blogger Match Up program, head over to

ProBlogger Event

Welcome to Pro Blogger 2013I think, that this is one of the most hotly contested blogger conference tickets ever. Typically, within minutes of being available they disappear. For 2014, I missed the first offering as I was out of money, but was able to catch the second wave. No idea how I’m getting to Gold Coast, Australia just yet, but I’ll figure it out. Last year I got a great deal flying on Delta and booking a hotel together and may try that again this year. The year before, I just could not find anything that was worthwhile, but I did buy the virtual ticket so enjoyed the content. I got frequent flyer miles for the trip and also got upgrade to Business Class on the Sydney to Los Angeles, CA segment on the way back. It helped that I was already Gold Medallion status on Delta Airlines too.

Besides the obvious, networking, one great thing about this conference is that you get to apply for press trips setup by Queensland Tourism. I attended last year and was able to do one of the trips. I had a chance to explore the Gold Coast area, visiting attraction such as Warner Brothers Movie World, Paradise Jet Boating and the Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk as well as cycling along the beach then having breakfast at one of the local places. I now have great information for my readers who want to visit the Gold Coast area.

This year is no exception and you can see what they are offering here. Even if I don’t get one of the slots, I now have some great ideas of trips to do for myself and to suggest to my readers, plus I now have the great resource of the Tourism office. Either way I win in my book.

It’s too late for this year, unless someone cancels for the event, which does happen. You can keep an eye out for any extra tickets here. Oh, Darren provides a virtual ticket, so you can hear all the presentations. They are not live, but almost live. Somehow he manages to upload the audio and sometimes the presentations within hours after they are presented. You have to purchase a virtual ticket though to make this happen when they become available closer to the event.


ITB 2014 in BerlinI journeyed to Berlin, Germany to visit two friends who live in the city and also took the opportunity to visit the ITB Berlin Show. It’s fun being a nomad with friends worldwide. This turned out to be a very productive conference, I met two key contacts that I’ve wanted for a while and ran into random people plus rekindled friendships with other travel bloggers as well as meeting new travel bloggers.

I did also stay at the  Wombats City Hostel so I could check it out having heard about it from a fellow travel blogger. The hostel is well run, clean and has ensuite rooms (toilet and showers in the room). I too would recommend this joint.

Medical Insurance

As I do not have medical insurance, I have to sign up by March 31, 2014, so I did just in the nick of time. I still have to call back and complete the application as the systems were down. I actually have travel insurance which does cover medical as long as I’m 100 miles or more from Houston.

Monetization – Affiliate Signups

This is my month of signing up for affiliates. Well all my months will be checking out affiliates. This is a great way to fund your blogging ventures. This month was pretty tough. Here’s what happened:

I got this notice from Mad Ads Media Network after submitting an application on Feb. 26, 2014. Looks like I have a lot of work to do.

We regret to inform you, but we’re unable to accept your site into the Mad Ads Media network at this time.

Unfortunately at this time, this site fails to meet our traffic requirements. You are encouraged to reapply when the site reaches an 800k Alexa rank. 

We encourage you to make the required changes and to submit your site for approval again.

Thank You, Publisher Team

I signed up with which is a service that allows you to chose credit card offers. It’s a very tough approval process that is based on the content on your site as well as the traffic. Hopefully I’ll get approved. I signed up for this service as my audience is a travel audience and I tell them how to get miles from credit card offers.

Avangate Affiliate program

Screenflow by TeleStreamI signed up with this company as they host the affiliate program for Screenflow for the Mac from Telestream. This piece of software allow you to record your screen as well as edit videos. I use it to edit my travel videos as well as create instructional videos for as well as showing travelers how to do something. Check out Screenflow.


Mad Mimi Email MarketingThis is yet another email marketing tool; yes there are many of these. I’ve not used Mad Mimi, but in looking at it, its another alternative on the low end of the scale. It starts out at $10/month and goes up from there. Aweber is $19/month for 500 subscribers and then it scales up from there. You can try Aweber, which is what I use, you can try it for $1 for the first month.


LinkVehicle is an affiliate network to earn money for your blog. I met these guys in Las Vegas at NMX and signed up then. I only got approved this month. I’ve not started using them as yet, but will check them out and advise. You enter information about what you would like to promote and what you will charge. They then go find advertisers that want to reach your audience and pay what you are asking.

Expedia Affiliate Network (EAN)

This is like having a complete booking engine on your site. The back engine is from You also have options to change the colors so it matches your site. This is good to make money if you are trying to get your users to use your systems to book flights, cars and hotels, plus attractions.

LeadPages Affiliate program

This is a cool piece of software. I use it to create my offer pages. I’ve had it for almost a year now and love it. They have varying levels of sign up to meet your budget. The good thing is that you can easily create your pages without having to hire a programmer. The pages are very appealing as well. You can see a page I’m setting up here for a new project. Check out for more details.

Affiliate Window Affiliate

This is the company has several affiliate programs. To keep out people who are not serious they have you pay 5 USD up front on applying, but that is credit to your account once approved. I had mixed feelings about this at first, but they had an advertiser whom I wanted to work with; Virgin Trains, so I signed up. If they have an advertiser that you want to use, you can sign up here as well.

Virgin Trains

They are handled by Affiliate Window, hence the reason for signing up. I’m starting to provide more content for my readers and ground travel is one of them. As such, I’m signing up with the different train services to make this happen. I’ve actually taken Virgin Trains before and love their service, so this works for me.


I signed up with this company as Deutsche Bahn uses them to manage their affilaite program. This vendor ties in with my offerings for train information for my readers. Check them out here.

Running for Office

I was nominated for a position with the Professional Travel Bloggers Association and I accepted the nomination as I know I can help to enhance our profession.


Elance.comI have a current developer, but he’s gone missing. I do need to continue providing functionality for my users especially with new partners, so I placed an ad on and for an API programmer. I’ve not yet hired someone, but will do that soon. I highly recommend that you outsource the things that are repetitive and that you are not an expert. This frees you up to do the things that works best for you.


Fellow travel blogger, Lola Akinmade Akerstrom from geotraveler’s niche, has inspired me to document my pitches. She does a great job here. From conferences, referrals, etc. I sent out twenty-five pitches. This is a combination of hotels, tourist boards and reservation systems. You really have to do pitches, otherwise your business will not grow. Afterall, you do have to keep the lights on, right? The pitches were to people I met face to face as well as those to whom I was referred. Each month, I will endeavor to give you a good idea of what I’ve done in this realm. Here are the stats:

25 Pitches sent

8 responses received
2 – success; one granted me access to the system I needed, the other sent additional information requested
1 – success; will contact me once project is ready
1 – Works with bloggers from a specific country only
2 – Reviewing my proposal; awaiting decision
2 – Waiting for me to setup a time to talk with them ( and

17 – Awaiting a response
17 – followups sent


I subscribe to Ian Cleary’s blog as its chock full of really good social media marketing content. I’ve also met Ian on to separate occasions and the guy is really an inspiration, plus he really knows social media. I recommend checking out his stuff. He mentioned a few tools in one of this newsletters and and one of them, is pretty good. There is a 14-day free trial so you can see if it matches your needs otherwise its $500/month; pricey, but it depends on how you value what you want to measure and what additional business that can bring you. I tested out a few of the reports and loved them; no money to subscribe at this moment though.


This is a tool that competes with a few other online streaming tools. It uses Google Hangout as its backend. I will check it out and see what gives. I had bought MeetingBurner about a year ago, but its not working out for me, so I’m dropping it. My aim is to use this software to hold live events with my readers where we can talk about a destination, share ideas, tips, etc. Plus it can then replay the broadcast at the reader’s convenience. So check out WebinarJam and see if it will help you in your travel blogger business.

Blogging Finances

I’m a big fan of Pat Flynn over at He has solid information and is actually a great person in person; met him a few few times at blogging conferences. He’s create a new podcast called AskPat where you can ask him questions about blogging. It actually inspired me to finally implement my service where users can ask me travel questions. So watch out for that. Well, he had an offer to try Freshbooks for 60 days instead of the normal 30 days. So I took him up on it as I’m still looking for something to keep track of the books. I think the offer has changed now as its just for 30 days without entering a credit card, so still a good deal. Hop over to

Flew Norwegian Air

Norwegian Air Boeing 787-8 nose in OSLOn my way back from Berlin, I had the pleasure of flying Norwegian Air from Berlin-Schonenfeld (SXF) to Oslo, Norway (OSL) and then onto Fort Lauderdale, Fl (FLL). This flight was a great price at just under $300. You do have to pay for your bag and food, but even with that you can’t beat the price to cross the Atlantic. Especially when you cross in a new Boeing 787-8. Check them out at

casey zeman building your audience with live vide 3/18

Sixt contacts

At ITB, I was able to get a brochure that has contact information for Sixt sales and marketing teams worldwide. If you are interested in working with Sixt, please let me know the country via email and I can send you the contact information for that representative.

myDriver BWM and Chauffeur in Berlin, GermanyWhile visiting ITB, I met the folks from myDriver. This is a division of Sixt that offers three types of luxury cars (Mercedes, BWM and Audi) for local ground transportation. Berlin is one of the cities they serve, so I decided to test it out. Besides they gave me a 25 EUR certificate to try them. My trip from my friend’s house to the Berlin-Schonenfeld airport was abut 34 EUR, but the drive was sweet as I was picked up in a BMW 520d and had my personal chauffeur. I actually took a local train to a stop that was closer to the airport in order to minimize the cost and that worked well. The car had magazines, a charging unit for my phone and two bottles of water. The drive was polite and ontime. Plus, he gave me a 10 EUR coupon to use for my next trip. I highly recommend using them if you are in one of the cities they serve.

March 2014 Expenses

FounderFly (emarketing course)9.95Monthly
Payloadz (ebook distribution/hosting)14.95Monthly
Hostgator (Website Hosting)15.94Monthly
Hostgator (Website Hosting)15.94Monthly
Hostgator (Website Hosting)15.94Monthly
Lujure Media (Facebook Page)15.00Monthly
Wishlist (Membership site software)20.00Monthly
Meeting Burner (streaming service)39.95Monthly
Reel Marketing Insider (Video Marketing Course)49.00Monthly
Aweber (email marketing software)69.00Monthly
T-Mobile (phone service)82.16Monthly
Sub Total374.83
Webinar Software297.00One time
Problogger Event358.42One time
Sub Total755.42
Grand Total1,130.25

March 2014 Income

Amazon Royalties9.80Kindle Books
Passrider Series - How To Book Hotels in London, England9.36Ebook
Membership Site89.52

Does Your Pitch Suck? Twelve Tips To Better Pitching

TBEX Toronto Welcome Painting

TBEX Toronto Welcome PaintingI was just at World Travel Market (WTM) and prior to that TBEX, so I’ve had a chance to refine my in person pitch. It’s really tough when you have to basically walk the pavement and sell your services. Blank stares are usually a good indicator that you’ve lost your intended audience. Or sometimes, they start looking around waiting for an excuse to leave your presence.

As such, I’ve come up with ten tips to help you win over your potential partner. Feel free to add additional ones in the comments section below. Here goes:

  1. Falcon and Kerwin at WTMDress smartly. Yes, most people do judge you by how you look. It’s how we are as humans. You have one chance to make an impression, don’t waste it. With that said though, dress as the conference dictates, don’t over do it.
  2. Do your homework. If possible, do a little homework about the partner before you approach them; check their web site, magazine, etc. You are looking for what are they working on, what’s coming up in the future, etc. The thought here is that you have a potential solution for them.
  3. Have a proper greeting. Say Hello, with your name and add “I’m a travel blogger,” extending your arm for a firm handshake; not too firm now. Look them in the eye and don’t get distracted by what is going on around you.
  4. Travel Blogger Unique Business CardsExchange business cards. If the potential partner offers a card, do the same at the same moment or as soon as possible. If they don’t ask for yours at the end of the conversation, say something like, “if you have additional information, here’s my card, feel free to let me know.” At this point, they may also hand you their card. Don’t feel intimated to ask for their card by saying, “Do you have a card? I’d like to send a followup email with some additional details about my travel business.” They may at this point say, I’m out of cards. That’s O.K., say thank you for their time, offer your hand, shake and depart.
  5. Use both hands if appropriate. If cards are exchanged, note how they are giving you their card; if two hands are used do the same. But don’t be clumsy as I did at a booth at WTM as I had hot tea in one hand and my bag in the other. I had to put everything down, which was a little awkward. It was a good thing the potential partner really wanted to talk to bloggers.
  6. Keep the pitch short. Deliver your 60 second pitch ending with “How may I help you with your marketing goals?” then wait.
  7. Get it together. Based on what you say/propose they may have additional questions; answer directly and professionally. No need for the extra stuff that adds no value to the conversation.
  8. Be respectful of their time. The worst thing you could do is to waste the time of your prospect. Have your ducks in a row.
  9. Be genuine. Look for an avenue to genuinely comment about their appearance, their culture, etc. don’t over do it though and don’t get too personal.
  10. Talk about a common bond. If during the conversation, you find you have a common bond, talk about it, but don’t for too long unless the conversation warrants it.
  11. Move on. If nothing comes of your interaction, that’s O.K., you did your best, move on thanking as you go and being polite.
  12. Review and Improve. Go over the conversation you just had in your head and see how you can improve it for the next encounter.

There you have it; good luck in your pitching. Like most things, it takes practice. Press on.

Leave a comment below to let me know about what you’ve experienced in your encounters and additional tips you have for your fellow travel bloggers.

Networking: My Word for TBEX Toronto 2013. How Did You Do?

Toronto Tram

Union Station ClockAt the end of May, I was excited to head to Toronto, ON Canada for TBEX 2013 in North America. As it turns out, I was among about 1,200-1,300 travel bloggers to descend on the city; perfect for networking. Here is a recap of my adventures:

I made my way to Toronto from New York City, NY on Tuesday night after an all day .com)/via Rail train ride through upstate NY and southern Canada. After looking at many places to stay, I had pre-booked a room in the dorms at the University of Toronto’s New College Campus conveniently located on the edge of downtown. This place is open for rentals from May 4 to August 4 when most of the students are away. It’s cheap at 35 CAD/night for a single room and 29 CAD for a shared double with shared washrooms with individual shower and bath units. No, I did not take a bath there. Plus there is a common room (kitchen included) as well as a washer and dryer (1 CAD each).

Travel Bloggers Biking in Toronto IslandOver the next few days, I had managed to snag a tour of the Ontario Wine Country near Niagara Falls as well as a craft beer tour, a photo walk, a bike tour of Toronto Island and a tour on the 501 Tram down Queen St. All courtesy of Tourism Toronto, so thank you. These tours allowed me to get a good flavor or was it flavour of Toronto’s offerings so I can share with my audience and be intelligent when they ask about Toronto/Ontario.

I ensured I attended all the parties, well most of them anyways; even the Travel Massive one where myself along with a few others drank beer at a local pub while we waited to get in as we had not RSVPed. It was well worth it as I got a chance to meet more bloggers and industry professionals while trading stories over a glass of something.

You see TBEX is all about networking; at least for me anyways. You have to sharpen up those skills, say hello to everyone, be polite and respectful and network. Work on that handshake and 30 second answer to “What do you blog about?” Give, give and give some more. And if your friend is speaking, try your best to support them although sometimes this may be really tough.

TBEX 2013 Toronto brought networking to a new height – Click To Tweet

It was great to meet many people from all over the world who blog about all kinds of topics. I challenged everyone I met to tell me why they blogged and what they wanted out of the conference. Most people had an idea, but some did not as it was their first time, so they knew not what to expect. But it was great to hear them try to come up with something though :-).

It was equally great, well somewhat more so to meet “old” friends. Some I had just seen a few weeks ago on the other side of the Atlantic at TBU Rotterdam and others whom it had been a while. So TBEX is like a class reunion of sorts at times.


Bed in U of T New CollegeBy the time I got home to my dorm room on Friday night, my birthday, I knew I’d be late for the keynote on Saturday morning; I was not drunk or anything like that, but I was tired. By now, I’d been going nonstop since Wednesday a.m. Travel Blogging is hard work, but fun rewards, so, its totally worth it.

It was 9:26a when I arrived at The Metro Toronto Conference Centre so I just went straight to the exhibits and chatted with the exhibitors that interested me and some of the new ones I’d not seen before. It was great, as I got to spend about 0:45 minutes almost uninterrupted with the folks from google talking about the Flight Explorer as well as the hotel application and where they see themselves in the travel vertical. They have great plans, but are really looking for the masses. This disturbed me as I’m concerned about using some of the tools they acquired from ITA; but we will see what happens.

Prawns at St. Lawrence MarketBy the time I was done, it was about 12:30p and lunch time. Since it was Saturday and I wanted to see the St. Lawrence Market in action (a local recommendation), I ditched the complimentary lunch (sorry TBEX) and headed there. I’m so glad I did as it was special; future post coming.

It was not until 2:30p that I returned to the Convention Centre, just in time for the Dave & Deb Show where they did a recap of the travel blogging business so far, thus providing us with vigor to continue on. Thanks guys for the inspiration. It’s always great to hear you both speak.

I skipped the Speed Dating as I did not sign up and I hate just having a few minutes to talk to people about what they are up to and how I can help them get their word out. This is why I took the morning to make acquaintances. Of course it meant missing the sessions, but it was a worthwhile sacrifice. A TBEX Tip is to always say hello to everyone you meet at the parties, in the hallways and/or sit next to at a presentation. You never know who you are interacting with so be professional and cordial. I’ve met great people that way; its the art of networking.

Non-Working Clock at Centre IslandLater that night, Expedia threw their big shindig on Centre Island providing us with food, drinks and yet another opportunity to network which I did. They also launched their Expedia View Finder opportunity where they are working with several bloggers to bring different perspective in travel; congrats to all. I spent a good time with Stefan from Rapid Travel Chai and his wife, Tess getting to know them a bit more, then hopped around meeting others. A Fun night! Oh, I had forgotten to download my pictures before coming over, so I was out of room to take additional pictures. Hence I had to delete some old ones and only took a few pictures. I had all my batteries charged though; oh well. I did get a picture of the non-working clock on Centre Island though.

Luke in Morph Suit Partying
Luke in Morph Suit Partying

At TBEX, there’s always another party and tonight (june 1) did not disappoint as I think it was Matador had a party at a local Club. With directions in hand and following a bunch of people off we went. More networking, but mostly partying. One blogger, Luke I believe (he was completely covered and I did not recognized his voice) even showed up in a morph suit, to the delight of the ladies with whom we were hanging out.

On Sunday, I was late again, but I did catch the tail end of Erik Lindbergh’s (yup, related to the one and only Charles Lindbergh the trans-Atlantic flyer) talk about electric aviation. The aviation geek in me peaked, so I was excited about it. Sadly, Erik disappeared behind the curtains after his speech and thus I was unable to find him later to say hello. I’m following him on twitter though, so I’ve acknowledged liking his talk.

I did attend a session by Ian Cleary about social media tools to increase your reach and then hopped around the next set of sessions, picking and choosing as I went. I thoroughly enjoyed Ian’s talk and did record it. So will work it out with Ian when/where to post it as its pretty long, but very informative. There was a talk by Matador that I wanted to attend, but was told by a guy at the door that it was now being held at a bar around the corner. Thinking it was a prank, I did not go; but apparently it was true. Not sure what happened there. Anyone know?

I networked with some new bloggers during lunch, then attended another afternoon session held by Katja Presnal (@skimbaco) about instagram. I’d not heard of her before but wanted to learn more about the topic. I enjoyed her presentation and so did others as they were busy on their electronic devices during her presentation. She also wrote the book

After that I listened to Gary Arndt and the folks from This Week in Travel before heading out.

Poutine at Lou DawgsOf course there was a final meet up at a place called Lou Dawg’s. The poor guy there had brought his computer so he could chill, not expecting about forty travel bloggers to descend on the place. He soon sent for backup after I told him what he was in for. Another great networking and just getting to know people and finding out what they are all about it. The next morning I had the 501 Tour so no rest for the weary at all. No worries, such is the life of a Travel Blogger.

So if it sounds like I had way too much fun at TBEX, it’s ’cause I did. Now I have a ton of cards to go through and re-connect with people. If I met you, you’ll more than likely get an email soon or a tweet or some acknowledgement of our meeting. Following up after TBEX with the folks you met is very important, so ensure you do that.

Toronto Bridge on Queen StreetThat was my TBEX, how was yours? Dublin anyone?

New To Travel Blogging? Then check out my FREE Travel Blogging 101 Course.

CES/NMX (formerly BlogWorld) Review: How I Got $778.27 Worth Of Merchandise For FREE


Goodies from CES and NMX 2013As a travel blogger it is necessary for you to get your name out there. One of the best ways to do this is to visit conferences. These conferences do not always have to be travel-related ones. I’ve been visiting BlogWorld and CES (formerly Comdex) for a few years. So when I had the opportunity to visit NMX, the New Media Exchange formerly BlogWorld (January 6-8, 2013) CES and the Consumer Electronics Show (formerly COMDEX) in Las Vegas this past week (January 8-11, 2013) I jumped at it.

At both conferences, I had the opportunity to expand my horizon about other areas of blogging, meet new bloggers, meet face-to-face with the PR folks from different companies that are related to my niche and also enjoyed Vegas with new and old friends.  It was also a great opportunity to see/meet people whom you follow online.  There was even a travel blogger meetup put on by the TBEX arm of NMX during the NMX Conference. I even saw Danny DeVito who was at the CNET booth being interviewed.  last year LL Cool J was at that booth another year Anthony Edwards from the TV series “ER.”

For admission to CES, I entered as a member of the Press by filling out the Press application; for NMX, I went as a Content Supplier and did the early registration at the discounted price.  You can also attend as Media/Press as well.  For NMX go here and for CES, take a look at this link for the CES Media/Press requirements. This is the piece that’s most important to you as a travel blogger:

Online publications must also provide a monthly traffic report from an external demographic tool, like Google Analytics, verifying the site or blog gets 1,000 or more unique monthly visitors (UMVs). The Web publication must be a previously established, independent site that is regularly updated with original and current news-related content. YouTube sites, Twitter pages, personal blogs, forums, user groups and communities will not be considered for media registration.

The Wine Cellar Wine Tasting at the Rio for NMX 2013 in Las Vegas, NVSo after walking the floors, visiting the booths, attending the sessions, networking, attending parties; the wine tasting party sponsored by, a tablet publishing platform, was one of my favorites, here’s the cool stuff that I physically took away (a basketball will arrive in the mail as I could not carry it with me).  These items will serve as giveaways to my readers on my different blogs as appropriate.  Some of the items I do have to evaluate as a part of the deal for receiving them:

  • From CES – A backpack; you can’t buy these so its priceless, I’ll perhaps give it away as being a nomad, I have nowhere to store it.  It served its purpose to bring the goodies to where I’m currently staying though. Oh and as Press, I got lunch each day, free WiFi in the Press Room as well as computers, if I needed them and I was able to interact with other journalist from around the world.  Another item you cannot buy.
  • From the Ford BoothSony MDR-V55 DJ Style Stereo Swivel Headphones with Reversible Earcups and Easy Portable Flexibility – White ($77.83). I went to the Ford booth as I wanted to talk to someone about a partnership and one of the marketing folks there told me about a contest; take a photo of yourself with any of the cards and add the hash tag #FordCES to it, tweet it and then show it to the folks there and if you are the first three you get a headset. So I did et voila, the Sony MDR-V55.  Here’s my tweet.
  • MTX Audio Morphsuit Dancers wear demonstrate the company's products (iX1 and iX2) at CES 2013 in Las Vegas, NVFrom MTX Audio – The iX2, a HiFi Quad Speaker Noise Isolation Headphones ($69.99). These are not yet available to the public.  I wanted to get the headsets, the iX1 ($179.00), but they had no more available, so I settled for the earbuds.  A review is eminent, but from what I heard from the headsets at the show, I’m already satisfied. This is how they promoted it at CES; it worked, I talked to their Marketing guy and got onboard with the product.
  • From Endgadget – A t-shirt obtained by participating in a tweet a code giveaway which unlocked a vending machine with the t-shirt ($15.00).
  • From Wiley & SonsCocoon GRID-IT! Organizer Case (CPG7BK) ($14.99). Wiley & Sons was giving these away at their booth at NMX, just for showing up, so I snagged two of them.  It’s an organizer for your bag so your stuff don’t go all over the place.
  • From Wiley & Sons – Two copies of two chapters (2 & 19) of their Video Marketing For Dummies book ($16.49 for the complete book).  While there I had a chance to meet Marsha Collier who writes for Wiley & Sons; I had Tech edited one of her books a few years back so it was extra special to finally meet her. I also got a chance to talk with Wiley & Sons about how they select topics and authors for their books.  They have a acquisitions department that combs the web for experts for the topics they develop; then they contact them to see if they are interested in writing the book. So keep blogging about your passion.  I got to talk to one of their representatives first hand about my talents.
  • From Dry Case – The DryCASE Water-Proof Case for iPhone, iPod, Smartphones, and More (DC-13) ($39.99); a vacuum sealed case for your portable electronic device that’s not as large as an iPhone Mini. I came across these young guys while walking the floor.  They were keen on demoing their product.  I asked if I could get an evaluation copy; the sales guy was kind of hemming and hawing, but the Marketing guy stepped up gave me an evaluation copy.  I tried it at the booth and it works as advertised; I was still able to use my phone, even took a picture and tweeted it. I think I messed up the twitter handle though; darn spell checker.
  • GoPro Crowd at CES 2013 in Las Vegas, NVFrom GoPro – A t-shirt (caught it as they were throwing it out) and face-to-face time with a member of their PR Team; also will receive a $100 off coupon for the latest GoPro HD HERO3: Black Edition product.  I currently have the original Hero, which I will keep to do multi-camera shoots.  GoPro is pretty open to travel bloggers, so drop me a note and I’ll give you the details of the PR contact.  When you contact them, give them a little time to respond as they are a bit overwhelmed with the public’s response. GoPro gave away three of their cameras as well as a bag of all their products; the crowd was wild and for good reason; the irony, my GoPro batteries were dead so I could not record it.
  • From Lexus – A mobile phone support; this is a little device so you can place your phone on it at an angle so you can watch a video or maybe film your next video
  • From Lexus – a Lexus branded DOT for your phone. Works best on Apple devices; so a cool item for Apple device owners.
  • Lexus at CES 2013 in Las Vegas, NVFrom Lexus – a Lexus monogrammed cigarette lighter to USB converter; I’ve wanted one of these for a while as most cars I rent (I don’t own a car), do not have one of these. I was actually going to purchase one myself.  I had to say to the Lexus agent, “How did you know I wanted one of these?”  He laughed.
  • The PR contact for Toyota and Lexus – this will help me to find sponsors for the road part of my journey.
  • From SurDoc – Four $100 gift cards ($400) – SurDoc is offering a 1 year unlimited cloud storage offer which expires at the end of February 2013.  Then its like $20/year after that for three years.  What a deal.
  • WordPress Booth NMX Las Vegas, NVFrom WordPress – An Incipio ultra thin iPhone 4/4S case case with the WordPress logo on the back. I don’t even have an iPhone, but they were giving these out at their booth at NMX and it will serve as a great gift for my readership. It’s always good to stop by the WordPress booths at these conferences, as the geniuses at the Happiness Bar are there with one purpose in mind; to help you with your WordPress issues. Guess what, its totally FREE.

Now all this merchandise although FREE, as you know and I’ve said above it is necessary to review them on my different properties (,,, and of course this site) as appropriate.

So once reviewed, I will give them away to my readership as prizes or use them for my own; more than likely the headset :-).

The message here is to get out there, look for other conferences other than travel conferences and find things that will appeal to your readers as you visit the conferences.  What are you waiting for go do it!

Are there any other non-travel conferences you would recommend?  Please share by leaving a comment below.  Also, please share this post with your fellow travel bloggers.

New Media Expo Las Vegas (BlogWorld) Early Bird Rate Ends on 23 July 2012

NMX-HeaderConferences are the best places to network and share your travel prowess.  You’ve hopefully done TBEX, but you should try New Media Expo formerly BlogWorld.

This conference has a broader range of topics than just travel and you will meet other bloggers in other areas.  This can only serve to broaden your knowledge and you may be able to share your travel knowlwedge with other bloggers and learn some blogging techniques as well.

BlogWorld is where I first met Johnny Jet from and also Gary Arndt from, two prominent travel bloggers. Many of you want to monetize your blog and there is a whole track just on monetization alone.  There is also a social media track and if you want do podcasts there is one as well plus many more.  In the past there’s been a cooking track so it was fun to meet other food bloggers as I blog about food at  You’ll get to meet all different types of bloggers and who knows you may be able to do a partnership in the future.

Plus its in Las Vegas, NV so you can’t beat that at all.


Rio Hotel Las Vegas
3700 W. Flamingo Road
Las Vegas, NV 89103
6-8 January, 2013

The early bird registration ends on 15 July, 2012, so register here today. [affiliate link]  If you miss this date, you can still register, but it will cost more.

16 Things To Do As A Travel Blogger Now That TBEX ’12 Is Over

Welcome to TBEX12

Sunset at 11, 444' in Keystone, COMy fellow travel blogger, now that TBEX’12 (Keystone, CO from June 15-17, 2012) is over its no time to sit on your laurels.  Its time to act on what you’ve learnt.  Its the hardest thing to step back and reflect then take action.  I’ll have future content here that will help you get over the hurdles.  Just ask.

As the conference is fresh in your mind, here are 16 things to do almost immediately if not sooner:

  1. A beer at the Kickapoo Tavern in Keystone, COReward yourself.  You’ve done more than most travel bloggers will ever do, and that is, attend a conference.  Most people are very scared to do that, so congrats.
  2. Relax for a few hours after you get home.  Take a little time to reflect on the conference, the people you’ve met, the event and to get used to lower altitudes unless you are from the Colorado area :-).  Don’t take too long as you have a lot of fun stuff ahead of you to do.  Read on.
  3. Sign up for the next TBEX.  If you’ve not already done so, you should now.  The learning and networking process always continues and TBEX is one of the places to meet your peers and industry professionals and learn about the travel industry.  Did you see that amazing video after Christopher Baker‘s speech? By the way, if you missed Chris’ speech, you missed out listening to/meeting a premier traveler.  This was my first time hearing about Chris, but I was inspired by what he has accomplished and will use some of his takeaways as I continue my travels.  But I digress.  The next TBEX will be in Costa Brava, Girona Spain.  Think Mediterranean sea, green hills and valleys and amazing food.  Sign up here.
  4. Send a Thank You note to the Sponsors.  TBEX had some awesome sponsors who helped to make the event successful.  Have you looked in your goody bag? There are some awesome stuff in there.  Drop them a quick e-mail.  You can see all the sponsors here.
  5. Send a Thank you note to the folks at TBEX.  The team worked very hard to bring you this conference and its a thankless job. If you’ve not had a chance as yet, do so now with a simple e-mail.  You can find their contact details here.
  6. TBEX business cardsFollowup with the contacts you made.  This is uber important and oftentimes omitted.  Too often, we attend conferences and do not even acknowledge the people’s cards we’ve collected during the conference.  This is a very time consuming process, but worth every minute of it.  Follow them on twitter, Friend them on facebook, “Like” their fan page on facebook, call them, text them, drop an e-mail, mention something you spoke about when you met, etc.  Offer your talents to them if needed.  Networking is a very big part of TBEX and this is the part that most people neglect.  Don’t be that person.  Thanks to some last minute networking at the Kickapootavern on Sunday night, I met some really cool guys from The Savvy Stews who are current users of my site for airline employees.  Followup now!
  7. Morgan from the Canadian Tourism CommissionFollowup with the folks you met at the Speed Dating sessions.  So, funny story, I had three pre-set sessions; the first one I went to the wrong vendor sat down after waiting 8 minutes into the session, then was told I don’t have an appointment (they were right :-(). The second one went well and the third one I showed up 20 minutes early only to be booted after that person showed up and then told that I was early, so come back in a few minutes.  No harm done, it went fine.  I hope your sessions went better than mine did :-).  Thank them for their time regardless of the outcomes of your talks.  Each vendor took their time to connect with you, the least you can say is thank you in a follow up e-mail.  Nurture that relationship.  If you do nothing else from this list, do this one.  The vendors will appreciate it.  In a few month’s time drop them another note to see how things are. Don’t be a pest though.
  8. Keystone, CO slopeSay Thank You to the host city’s CVB.  Keystone, CO, the city of Denver and the state of Colorado, pulled out all the stops to make our event a success.  So reach out to them and say thank you.  During the conference, I took time out to stop and chat with some of them, to say thank you and just chat.  You can find a list of things about the Keystone area here, plus on the right hand side are links to Kesytone Resorts, Vail Resorts, Visit Denver.  I was lucky to take the gondola up to the 11,444′ event with folks from Visit Denver; they were fresh off the Rallies and was very excited to meet everyone.  Here’s a crazy blurred pic (gondola was rocking) we took on the way up.
  9. Thank the speakers of the sessions you attended.  I sat trough a number of sessions and learned a tremendous amount.  I know you did too, so send a note of thanks to those speakers.  Your note should mention the session topic, if you found it interesting or not and if you will take any steps due to what was said.  Don’t be afraid to rebut something they said if you don’t believe in it.  But have some kind of suggestion rather than just a “I did not like…”.  Trust me, they will appreciate it.  You can find a list of the speakers and their contact details here.  It is also good to follow them on twitter and if you made contact at the event and made good rapport, ask for a friend request on facebook.  Continue to read their online postings and blogs as I’m sure you can certainly learn from them.TBEX Speakers
  10. Write a blog post about some aspect of your experience at TBEX.  Where should I start?  There’s so much that happened.  I met my wonderful roommates, partied at 11,444′, met some great people, listened to great speakers, I could go on and on.  Share this knowledge with other travel bloggers and travelers via a blog post.  Here’s a post that Lille (new contact met face to face at TBEX12) did and one from Maria whom I did not get a chance to meet at the Conference; but if you attended you would realize that try as you may, you won’t meet everyone.
  11. Look over your notes and create a plan of action.  Some people are conference goers.  THey just love to attend conferences, but then after the conference is over, the bag they received and the notes they wrote are out away never to be seen again.  This is waste of your time and money.  So look over your notes and create an action plan based on the notes you took.
  12. Execute that plan of action.  So you’ve done the step above and you now have a plan.  The next thing to do is to make that plan a reality.  Don’t overwhelm yourself, get some easy wins.  Maybe its that you get your own domain name instead of being hosted on Blogspot/Blogger.  Or purchase your the domain name for your name.    Or even just go visit the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau in your town.  Take the next step and execute the plan.
  13. Tbex Travel bloggers at Expedia ShindigStart a Mastermind with the people you’ve met that complements you.  It is always great to have like-minded people get together and discuss their goals.  No matter how good you are, you cannot do it all by yourself.  A Mastermind is a group of people who get together at a pre-set time to discuss how each other is doing and how they can help each other to get to the next level.  You don’t have to get together in person, you can use e-mail, Skype, a conference call, a webinar, etc.  Remember, the goal is to help each other get to the next level.
  14. Read and contribute by commenting as appropriate on the blogs of your fellow travel bloggers.  This simple task is a wonderful way to help get the word/message of your fellow bloggers.  Don’t forget to refer your friends and families to their articles as you see appropriate.
  15. Look in your local community and see how you can implement some of what you’ve learnt.  Maybe its writing an article for a local paper, or volunteering for an organization where your skills can be utilized, or holding a session at a public library.  Some bloggers says that they can’t get their name out there, start in your own local community.  This goes a far way.
  16. Last, but by no means the least, follow the #TBEX hash tag on twitter.  This will help you to see what people are saying, follow them if they interest you and retweet or reply as appropriate.

I hope this list have helped you to get the most out of TBEX ’12.  What else will you do now that TBEX US ’12 is over?  Please leave a comment below, “Like” this post and share with your friends if you found the information useful.

Also, check out this link to sign up to be advised when the site officially launches.