Saturday, November 15, 2008

I'm Speaking on a Travel and Tourism Panel

Entering Arizona on I-10 from New MexicoImage via WikipediaI've been invited to participate in a panel discussion next Wednesday. The event goes by the lengthy name of "Promoting AZ Travel with Social Media & Interactive Marketing".

My lovely wife, Sheila Dee, spent a number of years in the travel industry. A good portion of Arizona's economy comes from travel & tourism, as we are a vacation destination. I spent six years running an interactive advertising agency. And I do dabble in social media. Yep. I guess I qualify.

As you might imagine, attendees to this event and panel will be looking for recipes. They want easy-to-implement answers that will bring in an immediate return. The troubled economy has lead to a reduction in personal travel, and that hurts here at home. And while I don't think that a well planned (if that is even possible) social media campaign will get people to start spending more on travel. I also don't think that social media is a quick fix to cause revenues to jump up to previous levels.

My role (self-appointed) on the panel will be to carry the flag of reality. I do think that there are some valuable lessons and best practices that can be applied to hotels, resorts and other destinations. If adopted, they will have a positive influence for the companies that implement and execute them properly. But it takes a LOT of work. It takes dedication. It takes a clear vision and strategy. And it takes a willingness to be flexible in tactics.

Should be a lot of fun. Thanks to Fionn from Elixir Interactive for inviting me to participate.

Do you have any insight on this topic? Leave me a comment. I'll try and work in as many relevant comments into my answers as possible.

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1 comment:

  1. Travelling quite a lot (though not yet for pleasure to AZ) I can tell you what I want out of anything done by a hote, a city, a state: Information for ME in a format I like - and not whatever local politics want to have put on the front page. I do care about having a space to find the information I need [such basics as how do I get into town, is there public transportation, hotel shuttles], where do I find local stores etc. Give me additional ideas of what I can do there, for more than the usual "family with three kids in a car" - I am usually travelling alone and wifi has a higher priority than a (often dirty) pool outside.

    As hotels, cities and states are extremly bad at giving me information in a way how I want it (remember me? Paying customer, the one with the choices?), the biggest give away for that panel is basically to get everybody to understand to submit local information to Google. If I want a hotel, I will search on google maps for it to see what is next to the venue I want to go to. If I want information, I will check google reviews, but I might check tripadvisor - you better be there. I will book through my usual booking engine (for AZ that most likely would be Orbitz) because it serves me better than other crap engines. And so on.

    Before they go deeply into Web 2.0, I'd like them to do their homework in 1.0. It is not that complicated. :) And: Have fun. ;)

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