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Thursday: WTM Social Travel Market is live!

Thursday: WTM Social Travel Market is live!

Steve Keenan

November 8, 2012

Brought to you by our partners

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Come back to this page throughout today Thursday for extensive coverage of WTM Social Travel Market, 2012. The event was created in 2011 and is put together and run by Travel Perspective.

The hashtag is #STM2012 for the sessions, #WTM2012 for the show
Read the live blog from yesterday’s WTM Social Travel Market with speaker presentations
See ALL of the sessions from yesterday’s WTM Social Travel Market on the WTM YouTube channel

10.30am: Morning! We’re up and running again today – with a new initative for STM. Today, we’re broadcasting from the Turkey stand (EM800-850) as we go ‘on the road’ at WTM – and what welcome hosts the Turkish have been. There are 100 seats and 100 more standing spaces, with three big screens – and coffee and water available. A very welcome treat at WTM. Redmint Comms, which represents Turkey, said a few words about its connectivity (66 GSM users out of a opulation of 72m, ranked 7th in the world for FB) – and the crowds already building up.


10.50am: Chris Richardson of @RTWLabs tackling the near impossible – to build a WordPress blog using WTM wifi, which is usually sticky at best. But some very useful tips in what is quite a specialised seminar – with the aim being to demystify tech and show how easy it is to build a site. The theme is food and flavours along the Silk Road, so we registered the domain – so you can see what we’re building. Oh, and bloggers can enter a food-related challenge on the Silk Road to win a trip to Armenia.

Chris and his helpers, Mary Frary of Travel Perspective and blogger Steve Whale, take some questions while Chris is building the site. A question from a woman from the BBC – which WordPress sites impress? says Chris for design “but I still prefer sites for comment rather than design.” Adds Mark: “There is no barrier to entry in publishing now.” WP – it’s difficult to break and half of all top-rated sites use WP. Session winding up but we could have spent hours on this – still, showing what can be done in just 40 minutes is wildly encouraging to newbies. The woman sat next to me is now starting hers this week “for sure.”


11.35am: Second session underway – #travelfail: crisis management and social media. First crisis averted – moderator Andy Jarosz manages to get the United guitars video working. We’ve got journalist Jeremy Skidmore with us (I gave him his first job in travel, you know) and Sarah Rathbone from Siren Comms, both who have extensive experience in handling travel crises. Looking forward to this.

OK – here’s the story. Two guests have fallen ill at Hotel OK, where rapper 50 pence is also staying – then he falls ill. Press not onto it yet, nor the fact revealed that the hotel had failed a health check. How should the hotel be communicating with the public? Jeremy – on all fronts. GM in hotel lobby for a start. Sarah – post statement on website, message of reassurance, has doctor available (but don’t admit liability, yet, says Jeremy). Volume of inquiries getting higher, so respond quicker. I can see a lot of attendees taking copious notes…..


Crikey. One guest has died, 50 pence is stable but it’s on the national press and there’s an eye-witness – even a hashtag #hotelnotok. Companies shouldn’t attach with a negative hashtag, says Sarah, as they will be looking at your official feed anyway. Davy, the ‘eye-witness,’ is tweeting he saw a body being carried out the hotel – and is loving the attention on Twitter. Sarah suggests a senior hotel exec should contact Davy to explain latest situation – knowing he will retweet everything. Fascinating stuff – really makes you think how things can get out of control quickly. And really top-notch responses to any twist in the crisis from Sarah and Jeremy.

See Andy’s presentation here.


12.15: Enrique Ruiz, UK director of the Spanish National Tourist Office, now on stage speaking about marketing in an era of austerity. He is presenting the ten commandments of country branding.

1. A country is a brand.
2. Country brand is owned by consumers not governments.
3. Create a long term strategy.
4. Differentiate. Focus on 1 or 2 points.
5. Focus on emotions.
6. Create a story.
7. Content is king. Producing relevant content and getting your consumers to produce relevant content.
8. Only relevant content is king.
9. Digital marketing ia not an option, social media is not a trend. No division between online and offline.
10. Big ideas replace big budgets in times of austerity.


In 2009, Spain’s marketing budget was €96 million worldwide; it is now €10 million. Last year, produced a €250,000 Bollywood movie with Spain as the setting – it has now been seen by 60 million people. We wrote about his approach to social and digital earlier this year. The country is refocusing its Facebook efforts, looking not at the number of Facebook fans and Likes but instead to engagement. What is coming next, he asks? Flashmobs, blogger outreach (he namechecks our table football challenge at Bar Kick last night – cheers Enrique). Spain has also just launched a social media newsroom.

Enrique now sharing an anecdote about someone called Thomas Cook who approached the company of the same name to ask whether he could get a free trip because of all the teasing he had endued through his life because of his name. Thomas Cook refused but a low-cost holiday company stepped in and took him on holiday, generating huge amounts of social media publicity in the process.

See and download the presentation here:

1.05: Hotfooting it to the Tech Theatre for our last three sessions of the show. Having been initially in favour of staying in one conference room, interesting to see the ebb and flow of attendees on the floor of the show. The last stage no exception, with in excess of 150+ seating and dozens more on the fringe.

They are, of course, intrigued to hear the Facebook session and yet again, plenty of notebooks (paper ones) in evidence as delegates absorb the talks from Neasa Costin of FB Global Marketing Solutions and Alfonso Giménez, Marketing director Europe, Palladium Hotel Group – which last year used wristbands to check in to FB at a ‘pod’ in one of its hotels in Ibiza – and has now moved onto fingerprints, and developing other options. As Ed of Siren says: @Ed_Siren “Paying for drinks at a hotel using your finger prints! @socialtrav has gone seriously high tech this afternoon!”

Neasa’s Facebook presentation is below:

Neasa has kindly shared this great list of 10 tips for creating compelling Facebook content.

Also relive Alfonso’s presentation here:

1.40pm: Have really been looking forward to this one – Dr Frank Cuypers, who worked with Flanders this year on The World’s Biggest Blog Trip. They invited ‘storytellers’ who would recommend Flanders for its festivals, rather than direct marketing. It’s not about number of followers – it’s about their place in the network: hence, the storyteller tag. Fascinating. Got 10k people who liked Flanders is a Festival on FB, and some old-fashioned radio and print coverage (interesting to hear the on-off-online cycle so strongly at WTM this week – both merging now, rather than competing). Went heavy on Pinterest. So, the results! Of 94 bloggers who visited, asked for results from 82 (as others haven’t finished posting). Got 12m unique visitors from 273 posts. It cost 300,000 Euros – but ‘conservation value’ is 30m Euro. New measurement! The top keyword is Ghent (923). Results showed somebody in Ghana mentioned Flanders 301 times but they don’t know who!

See the presentation here:

2.30pm: Right – the final seminar and we’re in competition with the Ecuador drummers. Take back what I said earlier about enjoying being on the floor. Mark Frary trying to shout above the noise with a video from Finnair using Angry Birds. Phew – drumming has stopped, just in time for Simone Kurtzke who a PhD in online video! She runs social for Visit Scotland. As this is a session on DMO innovations in 2012, she’s talking about a photo comp she ran this year – which generated as many images as Visit Scotland had collected in 40 years. Only showed best pics with credits on social – “but people are saying use my images. It’s like an open door,” says Simone.

Next up, Tori Pearce of Think! Social Media, the agency that helped create the Flanders project. Think! did a FB campaign for The Wood Chipper of Fargo (search it), another to put the town of Vulcan on the map (guess? then search it) and another shout for Norway – that’s twice I’ve heard Visit Norway being spoke of in high terms.

Kylie from the Japan National Tourism Organisation reminds us of the earthquake – and how they bounced back with a Wow! moment campaign, sharing photos in six categories – with trips to relevant places in Japan. Learn ninja fighting, go the geeky district, sushi – you get the picture. Runs til February and Japan, like Scotland, spent only seed money in traditional media to get it going.

Now! Miquel Alabern of the Catalunya has moved on from photo competitions – and invited a group of 11 Instagram users from seven countries to Spain this year (between them, 500k followers). Lots of coverage in traditional media (marketeers still love that, don’t they? Another recurring theme – using new media to get coverage in old), the invited entries from locals – and the 240 best are currently on display in Barcelona. There are now 64,000 #catalyunaexperience photos on Instagram – nice work all round.


Two to go – and it’s Nicholas Montemaggi from Emilia Romagna and his Blogville project. Heard a lot about this. Instead of a tight, pre-scripted press/blog trip, bloggers were invited to spend as long as they want (well, more than two weeks might have been a bit naughty) in an apartment in Bologna or Rimini – then give them what they wanted (fashion/food/wine/fishing – who knows?). They got 50 bloggers, spending 83 days of love blogging and 20 organised trips. Veeerrryy interesting flexibility but backed by professional local contacts. More than 250 blog posts (like Flanders) so far and 3,000 shared photos (which many bloggers let the tourist board use – like Scotland).

And finally, finally – after two days and 13 sessions, our 36th and final speaker – Rachel, the Fan in a Van.

And the biggest applause went to…… Nicholas!

Thanks everyone – speakers, attendees and the people behind the scenes – for making #stm2012 such a great experience and, hopefully, a worthwhile experience.

And of course to our event partners Siren Communications and Gogobot, who wanted to share this video clip with you.

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