Huntsville hosts social media influencers, writers for TBEX Press Tour

Press tour attendees boast combined online following of over 400,000




November 2, 2016


(Huntsville, AL) – As announced in early June of this year, Huntsville has been selected as the host city for the TBEX North America 2017 conference. TBEX is an acronym for Travel Blog Exchange, and is renowned as the largest networking and professional development conference for travel industry media professionals. As a prelude to the main event happening next May, a select group of nine travel writers were chosen from over 90 applicants to travel to the Rocket City and experience local attractions, shops, and restaurants, as well as to get a preview for what special activities await conference attendees.


The TBEX press tour will take place November 2-4, and will showcase the City of Huntsville through a jam-packed, two-day itinerary of scheduled activities at venues like the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, Huntsville Botanical Garden, Burritt on the Mountain, Campus No. 805, Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment, the Huntsville Museum of Art, and others.


The press tour participants will be traveling to Huntsville from cities across the United States and Canada. All nine participants oversee their own personal travel blogs, with each one touting its own unique readership, and some engage in additional forms of media (such as podcasting).


Combined, all nine bloggers reach an audience of over 400,000 monthly visitors to their websites, over 550,000 followers across social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and over 400,000 views on YouTube.


“This press tour serves as testament to the incredible amount of exposure Huntsville has received, and will continue to receive, through hosting the TBEX North America conference. TBEX, and all its accompanying events and activities, will put our city in the travel media spotlight on a global scale. Our hospitality partners have worked very hard to ensure that these writers will experience the best of the Rocket City, and we know their efforts will pay off in dividends,” says Judy Ryals, President/CEO of the Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB).


Participating TBEX Press Tour bloggers include:


Dana Vento,

Dana Vento is an upbeat blogger from Pittsburgh who loves to share her adventures as a mom of three. Dana plans on investigating Huntsville’s culinary scene as well as family and couple activities. Follow her on Twitter @DanaVento.


Lily Ashley,

Lily shares her experiences in life as part of a military family as a mom of six and wife to a U.S. Navy sailor. Lily’s blog is filled with travel tips, life hacks and recipes. Follow her @MilitaryFamof8.


Nicole Omohundro,

Nicole travels to Huntsville from Oklahoma City, where she resides with her husband and three children. Her blog shows the family’s lifestyle and helps inspire others to take adventures with their loved ones. Follow her @LilFamAdventure.


Chrysa Duran,

Chrysa Duran is a blogger from Minneapolis who focuses on living and traveling efficiently on a budget. Her popular savings tips have helped her gain quite the social media presence, with roughly 80,000 followers on Twitter alone. Follow her @ThriftyJinxy.


Kathy Stafford,

Kathy Stafford is a unique travel blogger who began her career covering figure skating, and even served as a media specialist for the sport during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. Her international travel is now the inspiration of her pieces for her blogs. Follow her @MilesGeek.


Chris Christensen,

Chris Christensen, also known as the Amateur Traveler, is a blogger and podcaster who shares his travel tips and experiences. He works at a startup in Silicon Valley and travels all over the world in his spare time. His podcasts boast over 120,000 monthly downloads. Follow him @Chris2x.


Karisa Klee,

Karisa Klee is a Midwesterner who relocated to Atlanta, Georgia, as a practicing attorney. Karisa will be visiting Huntsville for the first time and hopes that she can showcase Huntsville as a destination for young professionals. Follow her @FlirtWithGlobe.


Michelle Marine,

Michelle Marine is a mom of four from Iowa. Her blog reflects her interests with healthy recipes and stories of her family’s adventures. After home schooling for several years, she likes to share fun, educational opportunities for traveling with families. Follow her @SimpLiveLove.


Jan Eckland,

Jan Eckland is a blogger, writer and editor who loves to share her stories with her readers. She also works with the TBEX conference team. Follow her @TravelRaveJan.




TBEX will be hosting a TweetChat with the CVB and press tour attendees on Thursday, November 3, starting at 9:00 p.m. CST and lasting until 9:30 p.m. CST to talk about various aspects of the bloggers’ experience in Huntsville, as well as what conference attendees can look forward to in May.


Twitter users are encouraged to jump in the conversation by following and using the hashtag #TBEX and #iHeartHsv Thursday, November 3, from 9 – 9:30 p.m. Twitter users can join in on Thursday’s Twitter chat from wherever they are. Participants will be able to ask questions and have conversations with all nine of the press tour bloggers via the @TBEXevents Twitter account.


Rick Calvert, CEO of TBEX, said, “We are thrilled to bring TBEX to Huntsville in May of 2017 for several reasons. We know many in the TBEX community have never visited before, and we also know when they arrive they will be blown away by the sights, sounds, tastes and feel of Huntsville. The team we have worked with at the CVB is one of the best we have ever worked with at TBEX, and we’re certain this will be an event our community will remember and share experiences from for years to come.”


In anticipation of the conference, the CVB has curated dedicated TBEX-related content on the blog site, Additional information can be found on the TBEX North America conference and other related events on the official TBEX website.


For more information, contact Huntsville/Madison County CVB Marketing Manager Kristen Pepper at or w.256.551.2294 c.256.874.0583.






About Huntsville/Madison County CVB



The Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) is a non-profit 501(c)(6) organization which was developed in 1970 to create economic growth for Huntsville/Madison County by marketing the community as a top-of-mind convention and visitor destination. As the official city/county agency which promotes the area as a tourist destination and convention site, the CVB partners with an array of hospitality industry partners to market our destination to visitors of all types.