Growth

Live events on digital tourism

Live events on digital tourism

The live events are a series of webinars made in 2015 that aim to provide support, insight and guidance on digital issues to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the tourism industry, as well as practical advice on the day-to-day running of a business.

Live events on digital tourism - managing your online reputationThese six webinars have been specifically designed to meet the needs of tourism SMEs.

They examine recent trends in tourists' use of technology to discover, plan and share their travel experiences. Each webinar is led by an industry expert on one of the topics below.

Find links to the webinars below.

Your business. Today's visitor - 14 January 2015 at 16:00 CET

This webinar introduced the series and offered an insight into what it means to be a small or medium-sized business marketing itself to visitors in 2015.

The 2008 global financial crisis impacted countries and industries the world over. Nearly six years on some EU countries have recovered to pre-crisis levels, yet many have some way to go. Tourism has strong potential to contribute to economic growth, since its contribution to GDP in the EU is estimated to be around nine percent. As a fragmented industry made up of many small and medium-sized businesses, it has shown itself to be an excellent catalyst for growth, employment and intercultural dialogue.

Today, the tourism industry looks considerably different to that of just ten years ago. The internet has levelled the playing field. The rise of social media, and its effect on the economy, has shaken up the industry, driving real change. Today’s tourist is also changing, both in origin - with increasingly affluent emerging markets sending more long-haul tourists than before - and in expectations - today’s visitors are connected, informed and seek unique experiences.

These changes pose huge challenges for those who, for many decades, have become accustomed to a well-established way of doing business. The developments are opening up new opportunities for startups to enter the market. Meanwhile, savvy established businesses continue to re-invent themselves and remain competitive.

This introductory seminar looked at the changes taking place in the industry and offered businesses wanting to get ahead and succeed the opportunity to understand what's driving change and how to embrace it.

Contributors to the live event

Business experts:

Paul Stephens - Digital marketer

With over 20 years in marketing and developing websites since 1996, Paul is now one of the UK’s leading experts on digital marketing. He oversees an award-winning agency and often lectures and consults within the industry on digital and marketing related subjects and has a particular interest and skills in the travel and tourism sectors. Paul operates nationally and internationally, helping brands to think outside the traditional horizontal and vertical channels and transform their business with creative multi-channel marketing and digital re-invention.

Luis Costa - Marketing expert

Luis Costa is an expert in IT and Tourism. Previously he worked several years for Turismo de Portugal IP, in online marketing and IT for destination management. More recently, he developed his main activity in the Strategic Planning Directorate and coordinate projects in the field of R&D, innovation and entrepreneurship for the tourism sector.

Business to be mentored over the course of the series:

Laura Bujalance - Yoga retreat entrepreneur

Laura was introduced to yoga in 2010. It changed her life completely and she decided to become a regular practitioner. Having attended several retreats with the eye of a long-term tourism professional, she knew very well what ‘yogis’ look for during their retreats. She also knows the Spain very well and believes there isn't a more beautiful country with such diversity of landscapes in all Europe. She wants to show yogis local Spanish culture, tasty food and astounding natural beauty and get them inspired and help them share their practice with each other.

SME Panel:

Borja Saracho - Tourist project entrepreneur

Born in 1973, in Vitoria, Borja began work at an early age at Vitoria airport (the Basque Country capital). He then founded his first company at the age of 19 years old. He has also run several projects on IT business and intelligent transport systems. In the last six years he has run a company selling an innovative brand of unique wines with an original cellar process - their wine is aged in barrels, then bottled and its ageing process finished under the sea. The underwater cellar benefits from a unique setting with zero gravity, the tides and a constant temperature. The project was awarded most innovative tourist project by the Basque Government in 2014.

Neil Lapping - Tourism entrepreneur and digital marketer

Neil is the founder and Chief Adventure Officer of a UK tour operator specialising in self-guided walking and cycling tours. A University of Cape Town business graduate he has used digital marketing to bootstrap his business from his kitchen table to a market-leading adventure tour operator. Since 2008 his company has achieved an annual growth rate of at least 30%. In 2014 their team of twenty five people arranged adventures for over 10 000 people in destinations worldwide. Neil brings a world entrepreneur’s view of what delivers business growth through paid search, website design, content marketing and conversion optimisation.

Other Contributors:

Pedro Ortún - European Commission

Mr Ortún is an industrial engineer, specialised in chemistry and industrial organisation, with a Doctorate in Business Administration. Since 1988 he has been a Director in the European Commission, in charge of different industrial and service sectors. He has been responsible for tourism, among other industries, at this Directorate-General (DG) since January 2000 and thus has a wealth of experience in this sector.

Marketing your business online - 28 January 2015 at 16:00 CET

A practical guide to marketing your tourism business, whether you are an attraction, hotel, tour operator or a destination. This webinar ran through key marketing basics.

Attracting new customers can be a daunting task. The players in the tourist industry are complex - businesses and their customers differ widely, from individuals passionate about a certain type of destination to guesthouses providing a unique experience. There is no 'one size fits all' approach and there is no benchmark for the tourism industry. An extra challenge is that customers vary in culture, nationality and habit and are thus all, unique.

The unique aspects of every business and every customer mean that no book, website or course can tell you how to successfully market your tourism business. However, there are commonalities between the visitor psyche and business models within the industry. The key to succeeding as a tourism business is understanding these common factors and using them to inform the right decisions.

This seminar explained the ‘visitor buying cycle’, with a particular focus on digital media and how technology is shaping and informing travel decisions. It explained how a visitor comes to discover a place in the initial ‘dreaming’ phase, and how they decide, book, experience and share their experience with peers. This strategic approach showed the many opportunities at each stage and how businesses should harness knowledge of their business and customers to succeed.

Contributors to the live event

Business Experts

Carol Favre - Consultant in tourism training

After starting her career in food and travel retail, Carole dedicated 13 years to training and teaching in tourism. In November 2013 she set up a boutique consultancy business that specialises in supporting small tourism entrepreneurs to gain better access to markets (tour operators or independent tourists). She works mainly with micro excursion and accommodation providers in destinations where there is a need to maximise and spread the economic impacts generated by tourism. Having travelled extensively herself, she has a strong understanding of western tourist motivations and needs, as well as tourism markets and how to exploit a destination’s resources to provide memorable experiences to holidaymakers.

Lindsay Herbert - Digital expert

Lindsay Herbert has been creating and leading digitally transformative strategies for large-scale international businesses, charities and organisations for over 10 years. As the Global Head of Digital of an award-winning international digital agency with 150 staff worldwide, she has lent a personal hand in the radical innovation of major clients across a wide range of sectors, from The UK Intellectual Property Office to Monash University in Australia. Passionate about new technology and user experience, Lindsay regularly speaks at major conferences, seminars and events worldwide. In addition to co-authoring many of her agency's reports on digital strategy and customer experience, Lindsay is currently writing her first book on achieving digital innovation, based on her own experiences, with insights from interviews with traditional organisations who have succeed in implementing and sustaining major innovations using digital.

Dionisis Kolokotsas - Google

As Public Policy and Government Relations Manager of Google, Dionisis’ mission is to work with policymakers and other stakeholders towards a bright future in the internet era for the economy, society and culture. Before joining Google, he was the General Manager of the Hellenic Semiconductor Industry Association (HSIA), where he helped build the brand and increase visibility toward target markets & audiences. Prior to entering the world of internet and high-tech, Dionisis spent ten years with Procter & Gamble (P&G). Based in Brussels, he travelled around the world to design and deploy communication campaigns. He also co-authored the P&G sustainability report in 2003 and 2004. In his early career, he worked on energy, environment and economic policy scenario analyses for the European Commission. He holds a Master’s in Integrating Sustainability to Business Management and a Diploma in Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Business to be mentored over the course of the series:

Laura Bujalance - Yoga retreat entrepreneur

Laura was introduced to yoga in 2010. It changed her life completely and she decided to become a regular practitioner. Having attended several retreats with the eye of a long-term tourism professional, she knew very well what ‘yogis’ look for during their retreats. She also knows the Spain very well and believes there isn't a more beautiful country with such diversity of landscapes in all Europe. She wants to show yogis local Spanish culture, tasty food and astounding natural beauty and get them inspired and help them share their practice with each other.

SME Panel:

Francesco Errico - Tourism entrepreneur

Who am I? An #outofthecrowd start-upper, father of two, in love with fishing and definitely a travel addict who strongly believes in human capital and in the power of networking. An education in business and travel management, followed by a few years spent traveling the world, led in 2000 to the launch of the first start-up in the cruise industry. It was committed to communications, services and tailor-made media solutions and in a few years it earned an important market position. Fifteen plus years in this field has given me the opportunity to create a wide international network of excellence in travel and a deep knowledge of the cruise and tourism industry.

Rima Hébert - hotelier

Rima Hébert and her husband François returned to French soil in 2003 after having spent twenty years working as expatriates in international hotel groups. Their journey has brought them from Africa to Turkey, passing through the West Indies and other islands. However, their long-term goal was to return to France and in 2003 an opportunity to acquire a hotel presented itself in Bayeux, where François was born. In ten years, their hotel has became a reference in hospitality in this small medieval town just inland of the D-Day landing beaches. In 2009 destiny called again when a recently-released plot adjacent to their hotel became available, allowing them to build a new hotel. Rima and François are proud of their career path and feel they have taken advantage of the opportunities the hospitality business can offer.

Managing your online reputation – 11 February 2015 at 16:00 CET

Aimed at helping established businesses understand the importance of ‘reputation’ online, this webinar introduced the importance of opinions, recommendations and reviews and provided practical tips on how to shape these to improve business performance.

The digital landscape has progressively transformed tourism into a customer-driven activity, which poses unique strategic challenges to business. Where guide books, newspapers, tourist boards and travel agents were traditionally the authority when it came to helping people to make travel decisions, now it is bloggers, social media and review sites which provide this authority.

This impact of this paradigm shift has been felt throughout the industry and forced even the biggest players to re-think their business model. For micro, small and medium-sized businesses the shift has been equally disruptive, yet the good news is that it represents an opportunity where success is rewarded by effort not money.

Exploring the core aspects of online reputation management, this seminar showed businesses how to get the most out of review sites and work with key individuals influencing their business, and how to collaborate with bloggers to tell great stories which inspire others.

Contributors to the live event

Industry experts:

Patrick Robinson - Public policy, Airbnb

Patrick Robinson is Head of Public Policy for Airbnb in Europe and Canada. Based in London, he is responsible for leading a team of public affairs professionals who work with cities to open the door to new forms of tourism and educate policymakers about the huge potential of the 'sharing economy' for sustainable economic and cultural growth. He has previously worked for major online and media brands including Yahoo, Virgin and the BBC in a variety of policy and communications roles.

Frankie Thompson - travel writer

Londoner turned wanderer, Frankie Thompson blogs about travel and writing at ‘As the Bird Flies’ and is an author of travel-related contemporary fiction. Currently based in Amsterdam, Frankie is a freelance travel and lifestyle copywriter and is a features writer for Travelettes, one of Europe’s most popular online magazines for female travellers. When not writing or travelling, you can find Frankie in one of Amsterdam’s flea markets or trying to remember where she parked her rusty old Dutch bicycle.

Business to be mentored over the course of the series:

Laura Bujalance - Yoga retreat entrepreneur

Laura was introduced to yoga in 2010. It changed her life completely and she decided to become a regular practitioner. Having attended several retreats with the eye of a long-term tourism professional, she knew very well what ‘yogis’ look for during their retreats. She also knows the Spain very well and believes there isn't a more beautiful country with such diversity of landscapes in all Europe. She wants to show yogis local Spanish culture, tasty food and astounding natural beauty and get them inspired and help them share their practice with each other.

SME Panel:

Ioana Edlmann - Tourism entrepreneur

Following a degree in Journalism and Communication at the University of Bucharest, Romania, Ioana dedicated six years to high-level research in the field of political communication and voting behaviour in Oxford, United Kingdom and Florence, Italy. On completing her PhD, she decided to leave the academic world. Excited about the future of the internet for businesses, she started working as a consultant for an online company delivering HR services to Italian companies. After the birth of her first daughter, Ioana decided to put all her expertise into the family business, a historical farm converted into a farmhouse and rustic villa complex in northern Tuscany. Now a mother of three girls, Ioana takes care of the online communication and marketing for the business and is working on a new project dedicated to kids’ activities at the farm.

Importance of content – 25 February 2015 at 16:00 CET

Explaining the importance of content in tourism marketing and how to plan for, publish and disseminate great content to promote any business.

The importance of content in tourism marketing is not new but it is something which continues to evolve. Rich images, inspiring videos and fascinating stories can all give a taste of the true experience.

Written content, photos and videos are an important part of telling the story behind an experience. If told in the right way, that story can be the trigger which makes people decide to book a tourist experience.

This seminar looked at how to plan for, create and publish great content. It also looked at how content should fit into any digital strategy and the purpose served at each stage of the visitor buying cycle.

Contributors to the live event

Industry experts:

Edward Russell-Johnson - Digital marketing manager

Edward Russell-Johnson is Digital marketing manager at a digital marketing and web design agency with a portfolio of international clients. He works across a variety of digital marketing channels including content marketing, social media, SEO and pay per click (PPC). Edward has advised tour operators on their social media and content marketing, and has assisted one of the largest and most successful stately homes in the UK with their analytics data and user flow. Edward has also worked on digital marketing campaigns with the European Tourism Association (ETOA).

Tomas Vanderplaetse - Destination marketing expert

Tomas is a freelance digital tourism creative working for destinations and travel organisations. For ten years he has been in charge of online marketing activities for Tourism Flanders (Belgium) where he rolled out the content and mobile strategy, conversation management approach and local and global awareness campaigns. Tomas is a frequent speaker on tourism and likes to share inspirational videos about different destinations.

Business to be mentored over the course of the series:

Laura Bujalance - Yoga retreat entrepreneur

Laura was introduced to yoga in 2010. It changed her life completely and she decided to become a regular practitioner. Having attended several retreats with the eye of a long-term tourism professional, she knew very well what ‘yogis’ look for during their retreats. She also knows the Spain very well and believes there isn't a more beautiful country with such diversity of landscapes in all Europe. She wants to show yogis local Spanish culture, tasty food and astounding natural beauty and get them inspired and help them share their practice with each other.

SME Panel:

Markus Wilder - Wildlife park curator and online content producer

Markus was originally recruited to create content for the animal information pages of the park's website. After this, his role broadened to include responsibility for other marketing channels, as well as being responsible for animal records, care, and health and safety. Markus is now the curator of the park, although a large chunk of his role still revolves around creating online content for the park.

Caspar Diederik - Digital storyteller

Caspar is a traveller and teller of artistic digital stories. His life changed dramatically four years ago when he left a managerial position in a marketing company and moved from his home in the Netherlands to southern Italy to pursue his dream. His background in social cultural science paired with a lifelong love of photography led to the creation of a travel storytelling project based around a tribe of digital storytellers who cultivate authentic experiences around the globe and try to recount them through evocative videos. His videos have received worldwide attention and are sought after by national tourism boards and marketing campaigners.

Succeeding in social – 11 March 2015 at 16:00 CET

Most businesses are aware of the importance of social media but many struggle to get to grips with the basics. This session provided advice on how to effectively decide on and manage social media networks as part of a business strategy.

Today, conversations between friends are more likely to happen through social media than in person. This revolution in the way in which we communicate has brought people around the world closer together - a conversation is no longer restricted by distance or cost. It has empowered revolutions and it has transformed how we travel.

Opinions previously sought in person are now being sought online. Experiences shared around a table are now posted in your social media feed; sources of inspiration are no longer found in glossy magazines but through online communities.

Most business owners are aware of how social media has transformed their own lives but many struggle to get to grips with the way in which it can change their business. This seminar aims to cut through the noise surrounding social media and provide practical advice on how choose, use and manage social media to work in business.

Contributors to the live event

Industry experts:

Bruce Martin - Tourism social media agency founder

Bruce Martin is the founder of a social media agency specialising in travel and tourism. His company delivers effective social media strategies, organic content delivery, smart social advertising and coaching services for large organisations and niche tour operators and boutique hotels. Bruce is also the co-founder of the UK travel industry’s largest and most-active online community. He previously worked in travel marketing and was instrumental in the launch and development of the world’s largest library of travel eLearning courses. Bruce is the Industry Chair for the International Federation for Information Technologies in Travel and Tourism’s ENTER2015 conference in Lugano, Switzerland.

Martin Stoll - Social media agency and think tank founder

Martin Stoll is the founder and CEO of a US-based social media agency and think tank. The company is focused on providing clients in the travel, consumer goods and outdoor industries with insights on and solutions for integrating social media into their marketing and communications mix. As a self-admitted data-junkie, Martin focuses on researching and identifying social trends that shape consumer behaviour. Martin speaks at travel industry conferences around the world because of his thought leadership on social media optimisation and future trends. Previously, Martin worked as a travel journalist and for a large airline company in sales and marketing.

Mawghan McCabe - Director of sales for social media monitoring and analytics company

Mawghan McCabe is the director of sales for Europe, Middle East and Africa of Engagor, a comprehensive platform for real-time customer engagement, social media monitoring and analytics. Mawghan holds a Bachelor of Science in Business and Leadership Development from Vanderbilt University, USA.

Business to be mentored over the course of the series:

Laura Bujalance - Yoga retreat entrepreneur

Laura was introduced to yoga in 2010. It changed her life completely and she decided to become a regular practitioner. Having attended several retreats with the eye of a long-term tourism professional, she knew very well what ‘yogis’ look for during their retreats. She also knows the Spain very well and believes there isn't a more beautiful country with such diversity of landscapes in all Europe. She wants to show yogis local Spanish culture, tasty food and astounding natural beauty and get them inspired and help them share their practice with each other.

SME Panel:

Luísa Aguiar - CEO and co-founder of an accessible tourism platform

Luísa is the CEO and co-founder of an accessible tourism platform that connects local hosts with travellers who have a disability or reduced mobility.

Thinking mobile – 1 April 2015 at 16:00 CET

Mobile is already part of and will increasingly dominate every aspect of travel. This webinar seeks to help businesses understand the changes taking place and help them prepare for it.

The mobile revolution is truly upon us. There are more mobile phones than people on the planet, and the reach of smartphones is catching up fast, with many developed countries already at full penetration of the market.

The very nature of being connected 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week is a game changer for the tourism industry, even more so than the rise of social media.

Smartphones are a seen as an essential travel companion for today’s youth and are being used at every stage in the visitor cycle. They are instrumental in the choice and booking of tourist destinations by providing information for decision making and on-the-go commerce.

Add the ability to post reviews after the tourism experience, and it is easy to see how, the smartphone touchpoint of a product or service is not only a part of the experience, but the entire experience.

This seminar explains how mobile is impacting decisions and opinions at every point in the buying cycle and highlight quick-wins, strategic approaches and new opportunities. The information is practical and educational and shows how to begin planning for and thinking about mobile.

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