Hey Outplan Readers, Katera here. Last week I was in Ostrava, Czech Republic for TBEX 2018—a conference focusing on the future of travel media. As creative event planners, we regularly travel for our clients, but we’re always traveling salespeople for our destination, so TBEX 2018 was a great opportunity for us to tap into both sides. Read on to hear more about it.

Ostrava, Czech Republic is the third biggest city in the country, located on the far east side of Czechia near Poland. I arrived bright eyed and ready to talk shop with travel industry folks who are based all over the world. To be specific, 43 countries were represented this year in the TBEX attendee pool; many return TBEXers, but I myself was a first-timer.

While we discussed the hotel and travel industry trends to know, and the future of the marketing ecosystem, one thread was continuously weaved throughout the conference: storytelling is key. Whether your story is the schedule of an event, or a brand campaign, or a product launch, telling that story allows for you and your clients to get on the same page right away. It also allows the both of you to easily expand your networks and create mutually beneficial relationships across industries.

Outside of storytelling, another tidbit was repeatedly echoed in various sessions: second-tier market destinations are leading the way against traditionally primary-tier destinations. People want a more authentic experience, one that feels more off the grid and less “been there, done that.” So markets such as Austin, Ostrava, Savannah (GA), Istanbul, and Southern Moravia are garnering more exposure and, because of that, more traveler boots on the ground.

Attending TBEX Ostrava 2018 was a great way for me to be inspired by ideas that are not necessarily in our normal day-to-day here at Red Velvet Events. I appreciated networking with folks from all over the world who are in a similar (and yet very different!) role as me, and am excited to continue deepening those relationships.

Did you attend TBEX but we didn’t get the chance to chat? Drop a comment below and I’ll reach out as soon as I can.