5 Insights From Travel Bloggers at TBEX Europe 2024 in San Sebastián

Mari Kuznetsova Mari Kuznetsova
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Not to brag, but we just had an amazing time at TBEX Europe in San Sebastián. We networked with fellow travel bloggers, discussed blogging challenges and AI tools, and enjoyed sunsets and nom-noms. For people following along at home, we made sure to bring back some great tips for travel bloggers!

Travelpayouts at the TBEX Europe 2024 in San Sebastian

“San Sebastián, te quiero!” is the phrase we kept repeating to ourselves while packing for TBEX Europe 2024, the world’s largest conference of travel bloggers. In May 2024, armed with a ton of stickers and fortune cookies, we set off from five different cities around the world to the Basque Country.

We were not disappointed. Here are five key insights we learned from travel bloggers and industry experts at TBEX Europe.

1. Travel bloggers hesitate to use AI tools despite their potential

Many travel bloggers fear AI, don’t understand AI tools, or only use ChatGPT. Yuta Dobkyavichute, Travelpayouts’ business development team lead, set out to change this at her breakout session.

Here’s the gist of her talk:

Travel bloggers perform plenty of routine tasks every day, like SEO optimization, affiliate tool management, quick content creation, research, and data analysis… This kind of work can be annoying and require additional expertise. Wouldn’t it be nice to get it off your plate?

Well, numerous AI tools can help you with that—Jasper, Rytr, QuillBot, Grammarly, Copy.ai, and KoalaWriter, to name a few. Just don’t imagine that they’ll do all the work for you:

“AI won’t replace us. It’s here to assist. The real value of a blog lies in the human touch, which AI and technologies can enhance but never replace.”

While you’re exploring those AI tools, we’ll be working on an in-depth piece for you based on Yuta’s talk at TBEX. Stay tuned!

2. The major concern for travel bloggers is Google updates

It turns out that experts and content creators all suffer from Google updates. Almost every travel blogger with a website faces a decrease in traffic when they roll around.

The worst part is that it’s impossible to understand the exact reason your site was downgraded by the search engine. Traffic has been known to drop for high-quality sites, sites with infrequent updates, and even SEO-focused sites.

This challenge with Google has led to many thoughts about using social media as additional traffic sources and building a personal brand.If you want to learn which travel blogs are struggling after Google’s updates and what actions content creators are taking to deal with them, read our recent article.

3. Travel bloggers consider social media a source of additional traffic

Since they can no longer rely on organic traffic from Google, travel bloggers are starting to diversify their traffic sources.

We’ve noticed that they’re divided into two groups:

  • The first group is leading a Pinterest revival and trying to generate additional conversions to their blog articles there. They’re also following the development of Google’s social network and waiting for the launch of TikTok’s Pinterest analog.
  • The second group is going back to their socials. These bloggers are trying to make their platforms an additional source of traffic as well as monetize them.

All to get additional traffic to their blogs and reduce their dependence on Google.Whose side are you on? Before you reply, read our simple article on how you can use Pinterest to grow your website traffic.

4. Content creators recognize the importance of having a personal brand

Bloggers often struggle to boost travel blogs without a personal brand, as they lack a stable core audience. Before now, they received mostly organic traffic. Now, it’s hard to maintain this same level of organic traffic because of the constant Google updates.

Travel content creators are starting (at the very least) to add photos of themselves to their blog posts, and they plan to create more content using their face.

5. Monetization, branding, content creation, partnerships, and marketing: highlights from speeches at TBEX’s breakout sessions

TBEX is a gathering point for travel blogging professionals. Here’s a summary of the main topics from the keynote speeches about different aspects of blogging:

  • Monetization and Business Models: Exploring various revenue streams like affiliate marketing, paid advertising, and others that can help to scale a travel blog.
  • Branding: How to build long-term relationships, position yourself strongly, and become a successful blogger in your niche.
  • Content Creation: Tips and tricks for writing engaging intros, doing interviews, using video content, and building a community to boost your blogging business.
  • Partnerships: Collaborating with brands and fellow bloggers for mutual growth.
  • Marketing: Strategies for building a blog’s authority and expertise for SEO purposes.

How Travelpayouts Shook Up TBEX: AI Tools, Rooftop Dinners, and Smoothie Bars

We got energized at our smoothie bar

Even when speeches are interesting, they’re still easier to listen to with a smoothie in hand. That’s probably why we saw a never-ending line at our smoothie bar. In total, we made 1,200 drinks at TBEX!

The menu included:

  • Google Updates Stress-Reliever Smoothie
  • Emerald Power Slushy
  • Monetization Boost Mango Smoothie
  • Writer’s Block Buster
  • SEO Success Coffee Tonic

Which would you choose?

In an age of Google updates, we hoped for fortune (in our cookies)

Want a peek at your blogging destiny? Your fellow content creators learned theirs from fortune cookies. But you can do it online, too—it’s just less tasty. Just close your eyes, point at the screen, and see which phrase the fates have chosen: 👇

  • You will find all SEO keywords ever
  • Google updates will rank your blog HIGHER
  • May your blog bring you joy, and may you never experience blogxiety
  • Affiliate earnings are on the rise. Keep sharing your adventures!
  • Your next affiliate payout will fund your next adventure!
  • Prosperity in travel blogging is within reach
  • Affiliate links will turn your dreams into reality

Which blogging destiny has been revealed to you?

We admired a stunning sunset while dining on San Sebastián’s most beautiful rooftop

Do you know how hard it is to find the perfect rooftop for a big dinner in a small Spanish town? Maria and Lisa from Travelpayouts, who organized the event, don’t recommend it if you’re trying to relax. But they admitted that it was worth every drop of sweat.

We gathered 50 travel bloggers on San Sebastián’s most beautiful rooftop, where we talked a lot, ate a lot, and laughed a lot. The experience included a stunning sunset, unlimited wine, and appetizers. No one left hungry (or sober)!

Rate the view on a scale of 1 to 10!

(Correct answer: 100)

We met with our partners and ambassadors

We were happy to meet our ambassadors from Red White Adventures. We’re very proud that Travelpayouts is able to work with such talented guys.

This conference also introduced us to new friends 🥺 For instance, we met Jarco, the creator of BWD Travel Guides; Susanne and Patrick from From Place to Place Travel; Jen, the creator of Jen on a Jet Plane; and many other cool travel heroes.

Each of you brings something unique and special to our travel community! Thank you so much for choosing us.

Don’t hesitate to approach us at the conferences. That’s the only reason, aside from the unlimited wine, that we go to them—to “unvirtualize” with you.

All right, then. This TBEX Europe was amazing! As an Emerald sponsor, we were thrilled to support the travel blogger community, share our insights, believe in the best with fortune cookies, treat ourselves and other guests to smoothies, and enjoy an unforgettable rooftop dinner.

But that’s not all! Unlike those of you who attended TBEX Europe 2024, you don’t know yet that we announced our sponsorship of the Travel Blogger Awards 🎉 to be held at TBEX North America 2024 in July.

So, see you in Puerto Rico next month?

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