Travel bloggers and digital influencers from across North America gathered at the Mall of America for the annual Travel Bloggers Exchange. Travel Manitoba was a gold sponsor of this year’s marketplace and conference with the goal to connect with Midwest influencers in this key market for Manitoba.

A private, invitation-only event drew a targeted list of bloggers for a Manitoba nightcap after the event’s official opening party. Over fifty people (including many who weren’t on the list but who wanted to learn more about Manitoba), enjoyed an evening that featured music from Manitoban Scott Nolan and drinks made with the Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye, 2016’s world whiskey of the year – the first Canadian whiskey to earn the honour. Thanks to a partnership with Diageo, Travel Manitoba was able to provide all guests with a sample of locally distilled Crown Royal products and even gave away two bottles of the prized Northern Harvest Rye.

Interest in Manitoba remained high throughout the two-day event with 45 meetings with bloggers and members of Travel Manitoba’s Media Relations team, Jillian Recksiedler and Tamara Soroka, during the scheduled speed networking portion. During the open marketplace held throughout the conference, Travel Manitoba’s table was always busy, with upwards of 40 more informal meetings.

As part of Travel Manitoba’s sponsorship of the event, TBEX posted an article on its blog that highlighted Travel Manitoba’s success at creating relevant, creative, and effective content for a destination blog. The sponsorship also included a tweet from the TBEX account which saw good engagement.

As a result of the relationships fostered at TBEX and outreach in the U.S. market, Travel Manitoba will be hosting four influencers this summer to experience Winnipeg’s culture and scene, Churchill and fishing: Alex in Wanderland, the Vega Brothers, Wander the Map, and Heartbeet Kitchen. There are plans to bring in more influencers from the Midwest market next year.