… by Sheila Scarborough
The fall conference season is always hopping, but the embarrassment of riches means that some tough decisions must be made about which events to attend (unless you have an unlimited budget and lots of people, so you can send someone to all of them. Right. We didn’t think so….)
Although we’re obviously biased towards the BlogWorld tourism track, we recognize that it may not work for everyone, so here’s our best effort to help you decide who to send where …
If you want maximum opportunity to connect with a wide variety of bloggers and other online publishers, plus attend focused educational panels and hear industry speakers on social media for tourism, then BlogWorld and New Media Expo West in Los Angeles, CA November 3-5 is your best bet.
Sessions will be intermediate level (with other tracks having beginner options) so #BWELA is the place to send your staff members who are somewhat new to the social Web (zero to 18 months.) We are also offering “speed dating” appointments between tourism/hospitality organizations and bloggers. There is at least one dedicated hospitality speaker for those who run resorts or other lodging.
Sample speakers: Caroline Bean from the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp., Shanna Smith Snyder from the Abilene (TX) CVB, Brian Matson from the Fargo-Moorhead CVB and Doug Anweiler from Authentic Seacoast Resorts in Nova Scotia.
Who should go? BlogWorld is perfect for your staff networking/schmoozing fiend who is also getting really good at social media (or who wants to get to that level.) Don’t forget – discount pricing (50% off) ends on Thursday!
If you want to mix it up with tech- and social media-savvy tourism peers at a small conference of the very geekiest CVBs, DMOs and Tourist Boards, then the Symposium on Social Media in Tourism (SoMeT) in Tunica, MS November 9-12 would work for you. This is where your communications person goes who is WAY ahead of the rest of the office, and who needs to stay at his or her “A” game for the benefit of your destination.
Sessions are advanced and geared to those who execute your strategy. Very “inside baseball.” No significant hospitality component.
Sample speakers: Katie Cook from the Austin CVB, Tom Martin from Converse Digital and Anne Hornyak from Sparkloft Media.
Who should go? SoMeT is great for your geekiest staffer who was on Foursquare and slinging QR codes months before anyone else.
If you’re looking for high-level discussions of travel and tourism technology as a whole, consider the eTourism Summit in San Francisco, CA September 29-30. Lots of strategy and integration discussions. A bit more international flavor than the others, looking at technology beyond social media.
Sample speakers: Google Travel head Neil Coleman, empowerMINT Director Christine Shimasaki and Head of Consumer Engagement and Marketing for Tourism Ireland Bryan Harte.
Who should go? eTourism Summit is a good idea for your Director who is trying to keep that 30,000 foot, integrated marketing view amongst insanely rapid tech and social media changes.
So, divide and conquer if you must, but try to take advantage of as many fall learning opportunities as your budget will allow (and we sure hope that includes BlogWorld!)
This post is by Sheila Scarborough, co-founder with Becky McCray of Tourism Currents, online education in social media for tourism and hospitality. Together they are the track leaders for the BlogWorld tourism track.