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Go Where The Geeks Are: Why Tech Events Matter for Tourism And Travel

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Panel: Tourism Currents workshop on social media for tourism
Speakers: Sheila Scarborough and Becky McCray
Date/Time: October 14, 09:45 – 5:00

Those who want to connect with visitors online need to speak their language, understand their communication tools and appreciate their culture and etiquette. Your CVB (Convention and Visitor’s Bureau) cannot make smart decisions about destination marketing in a digital environment unless youíre smart about how your visitors function in that environment.

To really comprehend how wired people use social media and technology – particularly mobile devices, in ways you probably don’t expect – you have to be immersed in their world. Saying hi to your teenager on Facebook (IF she’ll friend you back!) only gives a partial picture.

You need to do what networking expert Thom Singer calls, “Run With the Herd of the Nerd.”

Tech events are one giant market research opportunity. Watch how people use Twitter, see how they shoot photos and send them immediately to Facebook from their phone, note how they conduct quick hallway interviews with handheld video cameras and how they look for ideas on where to eat and party (hint: it’s probably Yelp/UrbanSpoon or Gowalla/Foursquare, not a brochure from a hotel lobby rack.)

This is why we’re excited to bring tourism organizations to BlogWorld; it gives them the chance to connect with some of the thousands of bloggers, podcasters and other online content creators who can help spread the word about a town, city, heritage highway, state park or downtown cultural district.

We’re designing a hands-on, no-fear social media seminar that will introduce tourism folks to our “geek world” and show them how it can upgrade their communications work. Rather than have people come to this huge tech event and be rather overwhelmed, we will take the time to give them the lay of the land, and show them how to listen online and how to connect with the people who will want to talk about their town and help tell its stories.

There is no other event that gives tourism professionals both an in-depth educational session plus the opportunity to meet thousands of online publishers, in one economical package in one place.

(And pssst: you can get 20% off of a BlogWorld pass with the code TC20. Jussayin’.)

The flip side is that many bloggers have no idea that there are organizations that exist solely to promote tourism and travel to wonderful places.

Are you a travel blogger? There are CVBs that would love to meet you.

Are you a food blogger? Plenty of CVBs would be happy to tell you about their wine trails, restaurants and agritourism opportunities on local farms.

Are you a parenting blogger? There are tourist boards who are full of ideas for family-friendly fun in their town.

Are you a craft or quilting blogger? There are tourism folks who can show you amazing craft shows and quilt trails.

Tech and social media stuff moves fast, and organizations need to keep up in order to make intelligent decisions about whether to incorporate the latest whiz-bang thing into their marketing efforts. Don’t feel intimidated, though; we feel strongly that technology is for everyone, not just wired geeky types.

At events like BlogWorld, you will be surrounded by the future of communications….right now….today.

Sheila Scarborough is a writer specializing in travel, tourism and social media. Along with Becky McCray, she is the co-founder of Tourism Currents, an online community focused on social media and technology training for tourism professionals. She thinks everyone ought to have a passport and experience jet lag. You can follow her on Tourism Currents and Sheila’s Guide to the Good Stuff. Sheila is also on Twitter @SheilaS and @TourismCurrents


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  • Nancy D. Brown

    Nice post, Sheila. Your workshop sounds like match dot com for travel bloggers and CVB’s.

    CVB’s if you are reading the comments section, I’d love to match up with you.
    I’m a travel writer/blogger/lodging editor. With recent budget cuts in my newspaper and magazine columns, I LOVE working with pr folks and destination organizations.

    Have fun at Blogworld everyone!
    @Nancydbrown

  • Sheila Scarborough

    Hi Nancy,

    Thanks very much for your thoughts, and hope you’re able to make some more CVB connections very soon! I think your equestrian travel/horseback riding vacations blog would be a great fit for any area that has dude ranches, guest ranches or maybe agritourism initiatives.

  • Ann

    This should be an amazing, and very hands-on way to connect CVB’s large and small with the tech world. It doesn’t take a huge budget to make a lasting impression and a massive impact – just finding the right people and listening. So excited to be a part of BlogWorld!

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