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The best social media seminars at World Travel Market 2017

Steve Keenan

November 20, 2017

Mark Frary of Travel Perspective in conversation with Vanessa FitzGerald, sales director, Northern Europe of Facebook

Mark Frary of Travel Perspective in conversation with Vanessa FitzGerald, sales director, Northern Europe of Facebook

WE were delighted to return to World Travel Market to deliver seven world-class seminars on best use of social media in today’s travel and tourism industry.

The pace of change has, if anything accelerated since we introduced the social media seminars to WTM seven years ago. Now we don’t need to explain what Facebook is: everybody now wants to know what Facebook does – and will do next year.

The bloggers and vloggers now known as influencers are a hot topic: they are an integral part of tourism promotion and marketing. So do destinations have to rethink how they promote themselves? But what about sustainability, or tourist overcrowding? We covered all these subjects, and you can watch the debates below.

In our final seminar, we presented our annual challenge to find the Awfully Entertaining Social Media projects (Awesomes) of 2017. The standard was incredibly high this year, and the result a very close-run thing…

Screen Shot 2017-10-29 at 18.50.52 We were also delighted to welcome our sponsor Four Engage, which makes smarter use of data to uncover actionable insights; identify, classify and target high-value audiences and influencers and deliver more effective content and campaigns.

Thanks to our friends at World Travel Market, videos are available for each of the social media seminars. Catch up below

Face to face with Terry Jones, founder and chairman, Wayblazer

Best known for founding and serving as founding Chairman of, Terry Jones has become a powerful voice in the world of entrepreneurship through his numerous speaking engagements and the publication of his book, ON Innovation.

His career path has established him as a thought leader on innovation in our increasingly digital world. Today he is the Chairman of WayBlazer and managing principal of ON Inc, a consultancy he founded to help companies in their transition to the digital economy. Interviewer: Mark Frary

How can social media help World Heritage sites manage tourism sustainably?

How can UNESCO World Heritage sites work with social media platforms and Instagrammers and bloggers to promote themselves? Our panel of representatives of sites and key influencers discuss using the right channels to market, working with local guides and businesses and the challenges of overtourism in this International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.

Peter deBrine, senior project officer, UNESCO World Heritage and Sustainable Tourism Programme
Gary Arndt, travel blogger (who has visited 335 UNESCO World Heritage sites), Everything Everywhere
James Rebanks, hill farmer and author, A Shepherd’s Life
Carlo Caroppo, social media manager, Pugliapromozione
Josef Ciglansky, Social Media Manager, Czech Tourism

Moderator: Steve Keenan

DAY TWO: Welcome to the Travel Perspective social media seminars

Introduction from Kath Ludlow, managing director, Four Engage
Kath introduces the company’s first annual Travel Trends Report and Mapper 360, the company’s proprietary methodology which gives access to many forms of data used to inform campaigns.

Facebook: two billion and counting
Mark Frary in conversation with Vanessa FitzGerald, sales director, Northern Europe, Facebook

According to Facebook statistics, two thirds of its UK users are interested in travel. Globally, that suggests a market of more than 1.3 billion. There’s no doubt that Facebook and its siblings Instagram and WhatsApp are social media heavyweights when it comes to travel. We hear how the company is helping travel and tourism businesses target that army of travellers in innovative ways. We also find out how Facebook is facing up to its very public problems.

Watch both presentations from Kath and Vanessa

Is influencer marketing the way forward for destinations?

Brands and agencies struggled in 2017 to understand and harness influencers. They demand a lot but many deliver very little. But there are some very good ones delivering a great deal, and increasingly offering up creative solutions as well as audiences. But how do you find them? Should you pay them? And are those audiences actually being influenced?

James Street, co-founder, Whalar
Mark Henshall, Head of Content, Qubist
Jaume Marin, marketing director, Costa Brava Girona Tourist Board
Debbie Hindle, managing director, Four Travel
Danica Calderhead, brand strategist, Dash Hudson

* Read Mark Henshall’s guest blog: RIP Influencer Marketing, long live Influencer Marketing 2.0

Moderator: Steve Keenan

Why destinations have to change how they sell themselves

AirBnb and Visit Sweden have worked together to sell the country while Visit Jersey is leaning heavily on video content served up alongside life accommodation and tour offers. AirBnb has also launched Trips, turning hosts into centres of information. Is this hybrid model the way forward?

Enver Duminy, CEO, Cape Town Tourism
Aisha Shuaibu, Host – When Night Falls in London nightlife experience tour, AirBnB
Jenny Jonevret, Senior Project Manager, Visit Sweden
Keith Beecham, CEO, Visit Jersey

Moderator: Mark Frary

The best of social media, 2017

And finally, we presented our annual challenge to find the Awfully Entertaining Social Media projects (Awesomes) of 2017. In 2015, the winner was Iceland with its brilliant Ask Gudmundur campaign, and last year it was Visit Finland and its Polar Night Magic campaign.

A panel of industry judges and an audience vote decided the Awesome Winner of 2017, the highest industry recognition – and it was a tense finish. The judges narrowly voted for Iceland (again!) but when the audience vote was added in, the winner was….. The Faroe Islands, by one point.

The Faroes and Iceland both heavily relied on humour for their (excellent) projects. Peru had a brilliant idea, Austria demonstrated long-term thinking with its influencer project, while Exodus created and executed a marketing campaign brilliantly. But ultimately, the votes perhaps showed the heart ruling the head.

Said Jae Hopkins of Exodus: “It was really interesting. It’s definitely the case that a bit of humour and creativity goes a long way in social – something I can learn from. I’m very proud of the results of our project though, so didn’t really mind coming joint fourth!”

The Faroe Islands Translate Project, presented by Levi Hanssen, Content Manager at Visit Faroe Islands
The Austrian National Tourist Office – #ayearinaustria project, presented by Klaus Ehrenbrandtner
Sandra Doig, Inbound Tourism Deputy Director of The Peru Tourism Board (PROMPERÚ) presents the Suitcases of Peru project
Exodus – the Exodus Heroes/People project, presented by Jae Hopkins, marketing director Exodus Travels
The Iceland Tourist Board hardest karoake song project, presented by Dadi Guðjónsson

Kath Ludlow, managing director, Four Engage
Kash Bhattacharya, blogger, The Budget Traveller
Benji Lanyado, founder, Picfair
Jennifer Howze, co-founder, BritMums

Moderator: Steve Keenan

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