Month: December 2017

Marketing 3.0Tourism marketingTourism trends

How to work with travel bloggers

A FEW SIMPLE GUIDELINES FOR DMO’S AND BRANDS TO FOLLOW WHEN WORKING WITH TRAVEL BLOGGERS & INFLUENCERS

July 25, 2016   TAGS: bloggers trip, Blogger outreach, campaigns, destinations, DMOs, Destination Marketing, travel trends

I’ve outlined in this post a few simple key guidelines that DMOs and brands should follow based on my previous experience of running blogger campaigns and being involved in them as a blogger.

Clearly outline the social goals and content expectations of the campaign to the bloggers

The key deliverables of any blogger focused campaign from a blogger stand point is the blog content and secondly the social media expectations aka real-time storytelling aspect of your project.

You need to have a clear idea of what the overall deliverables are for the campaign and communicate that well in advance with each individual blogger.

Managing expectations is key in any kind of project and especially when it comes to influencer relationships. It sounds like common sense but it is amazing how many tourism boards or brands fail to specify clearly what is expected of bloggers when it comes to inviting them.

For example in a recent campaign with the Athens tourism board a group of 6 leading travel bloggers were asked to create content on their blogs and also on their social media channels using the #ThisismyAthens hashtag.

The bloggers were strongly encouraged in the briefing, wherever possible to interact with locals, both offline and online and ask them questions about the history, culture, food and traditions of the locations they visited.

Engaging and involving locals of Athens was a key deliverable of the campaign so this is something Toposophy made very clear in our list of blogger deliverables.

We also wanted to secure advance permission to use the blogger’s names and content on their owned social media platforms for the #ThisismyAthens campaign microsite on the agreement that Toposophy would credit and link directly to the blogger’s social media channels.

Again, common sense but seeking these permissions and being transparent, helps in building trust with the bloggers.

Quantifying the number of blog posts expected is important and also mentioning the minimum number of social media updates per day.

Guideline recommended (depending on which social media channels you are targeting) is at least 4 tweets a day, 1 Instagram and one Facebook post.

I have seen agencies asking for 5 Facebook posts, 5 Instagram posts and 5 Tweets a day. This is in my opinion is no longer destination marketing but asking the bloggers to spam their followers with content about your destination. The bloggers have often taken years to build up the trust of their followers so it is really important to respect that relationship and keep the expectations to a reasonable but defined minimum.

It is useful also to outline in your briefing to bloggers, the key headline figure for what would be seen as success for the campaign. While bloggers are not marketeers in the traditional sense, they understand the marketing needs and demands of DMO’s and will welcome you sharing information about your key campaign goals , the hard and soft objectives.

Again going back to the blog content, it would be good to specify the deadlines for delivering the content.

Ensuring bloggers stay connected at all times to the internet and giving them a mobile-WiFi device

Having access to the internet from the moment the bloggers land at the airport…..( not until they reach their hotel) will be extremely important for the bloggers ability to tell the story of the destination effectively in real-time.

Despite talking about this to numerous DMO’s and brands, it is amazing the number of times DMO’s forget to provide a mobile-wifi device or are unwilling to invest in a few. This is again a long term investment for the DMO, having these devices so it makes a huge difference having a few of these to hand out to bloggers with simcards. Also it is worthwhile having a few battery packs (10000 mah) to give to the bloggers to help charge their devices on the go. I have this but some bloggers may not have this so again worth thinking about this for current and future campaigns.

Sometimes, bloggers have unlocked phones : all they need is a sim ( I would need a micro-sim for my iPhone 6, so important to ask what kind of phone they have) and they maybe no need for a mobile-WiFi device. So this is something you should ask bloggers in your pre-departure checklist.

Some bloggers may have their phones locked so best investing in a state of the art mobile WiFi device that offers 21.6 kbps download speeds and is 4G friendly. Huawei sells these and I would check the battery life on these.

Sometimes even if a tourism board remembers to offer a mobile-WiFi device , they don’t offer enough data. This leads nicely to our next recommendation.

What amount of data should we offer per blogger? Again this depends on the social media campaign and goals.

We are now entering the world of live broadcast with Periscope and Facebook Live. So if you are encouraging bloggers to do a few Periscopes which again is a great tool for sharing the experience in real time, a ‘scope’ or Facebook Live chat can need about 1 GB of data for just a 15-20 minute live session. Based on a three-five day campaign to be on the safe side, I would make sure there is at least 10 GB of data available.

In that case, if data is unused, it can be used by the next blogger or for a future campaign.

Keeping the lines of communication open at all times

It is always great to have an open line of communication between the bloggers, the campaign managers at the DMO and partners on the ground: restaurants/transport providers/ tour operators who are welcoming the bloggers.
With this in mind, setup a closed Facebook group for the campaign which gives ‘room’ for the bloggers to talk about their experiences, ask questions, a place for local partners involved in the campaign to share tips , assist the bloggers and feel involved in the campaign. The Facebook group will also be the place where post campaign, bloggers share their articles which the group can then share on their personal FB pages.
Just as a back up, it would be great to create a list of the social media profiles of all the people involved in the campaigns. Starting with the social media coordinator at the tourism board, the bloggers handles and also all the hotels/guides/ tour operators/museums- everyone involved in the campaign.
Circulate this list to everyone in advance of the campaign so everyone can follow each other in advance and break the ice.

Curating the content of the bloggers in real-time

Again, a major failing of many blogger activated social media driven tourism marketing campaigns is the failure of the client to not curate the social media content of the bloggers in real-time.

Bloggers create, DMOs curate
. If there is one line you remember me from this guide, let it be this line.

Bloggers have the ability to share the stories from the trip via a number of channels: Instagram/Twitter/Facebook and now you have Periscope/Snapchat/Facebook Live.

DMOs has to curate and share these stories in real-time on their own social media channels. You can use the social media content of the bloggers to start a conversation with your fans on Facebook or Twitter when the bloggers are in the destination. This is a crucial aspect of the campaign that must be addressed.

It is very frustrating when a tourism board spends a lot of money to invite me to promote their country, only to find them not sharing any of my content on their social channels.

By retweeting and commenting on a tweet whether it is a memorable meal or learning glassblowing in the glass museum- it amplifies the conversation to a bigger audience which in turn then gets more people involved into the conversation about the destination.

Plus it shows that the DMO is passionate about the bloggers involvement and again it reinforces the trust element. So don’t be passive. Curate. Curate. Curate the bloggers content in real-time.

Beside retweeting on Twitter, share images on Facebook page and re-share on your Instagram feed. I would also recommend using Storify to summarize the social media activity and stories from each day. This storify can then be published as a blog post.

Creating a ‘My destination according to locals’ document

To help bloggers prepare for their trip and give them a flavor of what to expect, it always great to give them a briefing document.

Besides including the itinerary, key things mentioned like contact details in case of an emergency, social media handles which we’ve discussed already have a section dedicated to tips based on the key themes of your campaign.

Crowdsource these tips from within your organization. Crowdsource them from locals and partners involved in the campaign. Encourage them to share their tips with bloggers in advance of their arrival on their social media channels using the campaign hashtag. This again is a good way to engage, involve more people in your campaign.

Share with the bloggers the best places to eat street food, drink , party and also any cool, unusual facts and pieces of history about the city. This again is a great exercise for engaging locals and again gives the bloggers some really cool, unusual tips. If time and resources permit, we can divide these suggestions based on the key personas that the bloggers cover. This is what we did for the #ThisismyAthens campaign and the end product was a document with more than 100 tips. The city of Athens tourism board will use the tips and recommendations made by locals and partners for future campaigns with bloggers and journalists so this kind of exercise has long term value.

You can also add to this document, articles that were written about the destination based on previous campaigns. In fact, if possible, contact all the bloggers, journalists involved in previous campaigns and encourage them to share their old content using the hashtag before the campaign launch and also to offer suggestions and tips to the bloggers involved.

Make sure the document has practical things included like nearest pharmacy to the hostel/hotel where they are staying, English language website which give people information about the city plus essential apps to download to help plan their trip better.
Also if any bars or restaurants would like to invite bloggers for a meal or offer discounts: include this in the document.
Make sure this document is personalized and sent to each blogger in advance of their arrival.

Helping plan the blogger itinerary

The briefing document should have all the information, tips and advice that the blogger needs but depending on the blogger niche, each blogger may have a specific request or need for information. So again, it would be great to have someone dedicated within the tourism board who will be available most of the time to help plan or offer suggestions.

For the #ThisismyAthens campaign we offered a fixed amount for daily expenses of up to €50 a day that could be used by bloggers to cover meals (excluding drinks) and other incidental expenses, as long as they held onto receipts. This allowed the bloggers to be flexible in planning their daily itinerary and reduced the workload for the tourism board. Feedback I received from bloggers and based on my personal experience is that this is something bloggers will prefer this. This allows for more spontaneous travel and gives the bloggers more freedom to make the most out of their day. This is something worth considering when planning the individual itineraries.

As is standard practice when hosting journalists, it is also great to have a letter from the tourism board that explains the purpose of the trip and setting up access to all the key visitor attractions in advance, in case the individual blogger wishes to visit them.

I hope this posts covers key points. I think if you follow these guidelines you are definitely on the way to having a very successful blogger campaign.

Kash Bhattacharya Blogger outreach specialist, Toposophy and publisher, editor of BudgetTraveller.org

This blogpost is from   www.toposophy.com/insights/insight/?bid=430

StrategyStrategy planning & execution

Your Road Map to a Great Tourism Business Plan

Any great tourism business begins with a great “road map.” This road map serves as your business plan with actionable steps for moving forward with developing the enterprise. There are seven key components to your road map.

  1. Clear Concept- Before you can dive into the road map, the essential first step is to clearly articulate your enterprise concept. What is your enterprise? What do you do? What are you trying to achieve? What impact do you expect your enterprise to generate? Before you move further down the road map, be sure that you put some thought into these questions and can clearly define the concept of your tourism enterprise. Try to condense this concept into a simple one to two sentence pitch that clearly articulates your business concept.
  2. Market Analysis- Your market analysis includes the international, regional, and national tourism statistics and travel trends, the profiles of your target market segments, and a value chain/ industry analysis. Begin by getting an idea of the relevant tourism trends and statistics. What percentage of tourists coming to your destination region, country, or city are country nationals versus international visitors. When is the peak season that tourists come to visit? What are the typical demographics of visitors? Has the number of international tourists to your destination been increasing or decreasing? Addressing these questions will help you to better understand your market before moving forward.

From here, you can develop the profiles of your target market segments. Determine the nationality of your market, their wants and needs, their budget, etc. Think about whether your target traveler is seeking adventure and physical challenges, luxury and relaxation, or service and learning opportunities. Additionally, you will need to analyze the existing tourism industry in your destination. Especially if your enterprise will work with intermediaries; investigate the existence, success, and business models of tour operators, travel agents, and hotels; as they relative to your business concept to market or sell tourism products.

  1. Sales and Marketing Strategy- At this stage of your road map, it is important to determine strategic positioning in terms of the pricing, placement, and promotion strategies of your business. There are numerous factors, both short and long-term to consider for pricing including the value provided compared to that of competitors, the price the market is willing to pay, the revenue needed to enable the business to reach its financial goals, and profit maximization. Your placement, or distribution, may be conducted either through direct or indirect sales. Your promotion strategy will describe the sales and marketing techniques used to reach your target market and should include online and social media marketing.
  2. Competitive Analysis-Complete a summary of competing businesses and products, and determine your competitive advantage. Begin by defining your business competition- the people and businesses that offer similar products and services and seek the same markets. Research these competitors and assess their products or services on a number of factors, such as pricing, product quality, and customer service. Porter’s Five Forces Analysis is a useful tool to use for a through investigation of your competition. By assessing your business competition against your proposed enterprise, you will gain a better understanding of where your business stands and how best to leverage your strengths against your competition’s weaknesses. To determine your competitive advantage, simply outline the major advantages that your enterprise holds over the competition.
  3. Operations and Training Plan-Consider your business structure and the key personnel and training needs that will be required to support it, while also keeping in mind any legal considerations. Will your enterprise be a private company, a partnership, a limited liability corporation (LLC), a cooperative, a non-profit organization, or an association? There are pluses and minuses to each, and it is extremely important to think carefully to determine the best structure for your enterprise. Once the structure is determined, consider the number of employees needed and the roles and responsibilities of each. Consider the hierarchy of employees in your business and how profits will be shared.  Finally, the legal environment is key to consider; think about potential requirements like business registration, employee/membership agreements, permits, and insurance coverage.
  4. Community and Conservation Support- Consider sustainable tourism as a cornerstone to your business plan. Sustainable tourism has the potential to not only mitigate potentially harmful impacts of visitation to a site, but it can also support conservation of the resources upon which it depends. At Solimar, we employ a market-based approach that links jobs and revenue generated by sustainable tourism to support conservation of the resources upon which the tourism depends. To develop a sustainability plan, begin by assessing the conservation threats related to your tourism enterprise. Once these threats have been assessed, you can choose tourism conservation strategies that address those threats, such as an environmental education program or a trail monitoring and research program. Lastly, be sure to budget for the implementation of your sustainability plan, including salaries, equipment, materials, and trainings.
  5. Key Milestones and Workplan- Lastly, now that your business plan has been fully considered, you can create a timeline of the major activities related to the establishment of your enterprise and its tour products and services. Create a comprehensive list of the milestones to be completed for the successful establishment of your business and determine the order in which they shall be addressed. With each milestone completed, you are one step closer to being the proud founder of a great tourism business!

This blog post is from www.solimarinternational.com/resources-page/blog/item/163-your-road-map-to-a-great-tourism-business-plan

 

Marketing 3.0Tourism marketing

How Should You Assess a Destination Tagline?

Rarely a week goes by when we don’t see another round of city and destination slogans and taglines announced. Some are pretty good, many are plain lame, insipid and self-congratulatory, and some are just downright infuriating.

A tagline is a word or short phrase that captures the spirit of the brand promise and its essence. It can be a tease, a short descriptor, a call to action or an explanation, and succinctly stated in no more than five words.  Too many destination taglines are simply examples of marketing speak or clichés that do nothing to advance the identity of the place. Many end up with a tagline that is so esoteric that it needs extensive (and expensive) marketing communications to convey its meaning. Few small cities have the marketing budgets to communicate the meaning and relevance of their taglines through advertising.

All tagline options should be tested before they are approved by gauging the reactions of target audiences through research. However, prior to undertaking that research the following filters may be helpful as you initially assess the various options:

  • It captures and dramatizes the brand promise
  • It’s ownable and not the same or similar to other places
  • It hints at a reward, benefit or experience that customers value and can expect
  • It’s short, usually less than five words
  • It works with, and enhances, the logo
  • It’s credible, sustainable and matches the reality of the place
  • It’s easy to remember
  • It does not have negative connotations

In a nutshell, a tagline (and logo) should act as a trigger or cue to aid recall of the positive associations that the place is known for. Too frequently, the power and role of a tagline is
over-emphasized, i.e. no one will respond positively to a tagline and then decide to visit a place if they haven’t also been exposed to other compelling stimuli about the place. Let’s hope that in 2013 we see a lot less of the insipid and self-congratulatory efforts and more well-researched and meaningful taglines.

This post is from http://citybranding.typepad.com/city-branding/page/3/

Collaborative business modelsIntelligenceTourism trends

How Airbnb has given local restaurants a boost

The AirBnB phenomenon was not a completely ground breaking concept. The concept of staying at a guesthouse and kipping in a spare room has been around for for centuries. The Pubs and Inns of the 1600’s often had a room for weary (and drunk) passers by to rest their tired souls in exchange for a shilling or two.

What AirBnB has done so well is use technology to make it easier for this to happen in advance of a stay and allow those who have not thought about renting out a spare room or making a little extra cash, to do so.

The slogan they use of “ Live Like a Local” is something that I really like and something that I certainly did when I backpacked through south east Asia. I stayed in a lot of guesthouses which not only made me feel at home, but also gave me an authentic experience that i talk about to this day.

If you look at my home city London, there are over 20000 beds available to rent on AirBnB and although it is a threat in many ways to the hotel and hostel sector in regards increased stock, I think it has led to a new positive shift for other hospitality businesses.

For me living like a local doesn’t mean just your accommodation…
It means the full experience. For me this starts with food (I am a food lover after all). Back in 2003, in the first guesthouse I stayed in , in Hanoi, the first thing I did was sit with the mother of the household, and have a cup of tea and a bowl of freshly cooked Pho. Amazing… and experience I still talk about to this day.

Fast forward to 2016, and you look at the boom in street food, food markets and pop-up restaurants in London and you can see the shift in food culture which in turn creates a new form of tourism where people want to eat, drink and sleep like a local! The full “Living like a local” experience.

I found an awesome BBQ joint when on a business trip to De Moines, Iowa (Called Jethrows in case your interested, 8 types of BBQ sauce, amazing Ribs & featured on Man Vs Food!) by going on Facebook and using the “Near Me” functionality and could see great ratings by people who I didn’t know but were probably “locals” . I in theory asked the local crowd where was good to go and that answer was delivered to me.

Those restaurants and food outlets that are aware of the shift in travelers demands, and are active in their restaurant marketing , must be finding a new wave of different tourists (not always from abroad!) that find their local venue through the web, word of mouth, social media or food bloggers insights. Restaurants and other foodie places offering unique and authentic experiences, alongside quality service and food, will be a success in my opinion.

I think there is an opportunity for more strategic thinking between the likes of AirBnB and gastronomic outlets in regards encouraging the “eat like a local opportunities” to their customers rather than traveler being lured into the big branded places.

I think the opportunity is there for smaller restaurant operators to really fly, as long as they make themselves accessible through simple marketing and provide consistently authentic experiences to their customers to make them feel like a local, whether they are or not.

This blog post is from  www.toposophy.com/insights/insight/?bid=433

Business model innovationCollaborative business modelsMarketing 3.0StrategyTourism trends

It’s time for DMOs to take the leap on the sharing economy

The sharing economy is booming, but until now most European DMOs have largely stayed out of the conversation, seeing this new economic model as a cluster of problems, rather than as a useful tool to meet their policy goals. It’s time to turn the tables and get involved.

For many European destination marketing & management organizations, the sharing economy is regarded variously as a source of conflict, a fascinating (if frenetic) economic model, a shadowy way for some to make money, or just a plain headache. This is quite understandable, given the near-weekly emergence of new products and platforms, the anger expressed by many of those running traditional tourism businesses, and the uncertainty around rules and regulations. Activities such as short-term apartment rentals don’t just concern the city tourism board: housing, planning and taxation departments also have good reasons to be interested in what’s going on.

While the challenges can at times seem overwhelming, it is still a fact that the sharing economy is really just becoming the new rental economy or, in some respects the collaboration economy. Consumers love it, and the types of people who are getting involved are becoming more and more diverse. Private tours, home-cooked meals, apartments and other tailored experiences for travelers are becoming more exclusive every day! The main thing however, it that it just works. Barriers to becoming a ‘user’ or a ‘provider’ in the sharing economy are low, and the platforms are generally attractive and user-friendly. As a movement, the ‘collaboration economy’ is enabling citizens to cooperate, meet, solve problems and share local resources like never before.

This month’s Annual General Meeting of European Cities Marketing in Madeira took the theme ‘Dare To Share’ reflecting the desire of ECM members to engage with the sharing economy. With DMOs facing so much pressure from all sides to do more with less, engaging in a serious way with the whole concept of the sharing economy can sometimes seem too daunting for a simple city DMO to take on. At the same time, it’s perfectly clear that it isn’t going to go away, and that consumers are using it as a normal part of their daily life at home, and while traveling.

It’s time for DMOs to turn the powerful aspects of the collaboration economy to their advantage and take the leap. After all, many DMOs are under pressure from reduced budgets and higher expectations to participate in local economic development. They’re also increasingly expected to manage the destination, rather than concentrate purely on marketing. As we illustrate in the infographic below, the sharing economy can, in fact, provide a very useful tool for managing cities in a smart way, while improving social cohesion and enhancing the visitor experience.

While we believe that the sharing economy can offer real opportunities for city tourism authorities, it is however vital not to ignore one group of people: local residents. Local people provide the secret ingredient to great, authentic product development and marketing. At the same time, it is essential to ensure that sharing economy activities don’t impact negatively on their quality life or cost of living for the wider population. P2P platforms can open up the destination to new types of travelers and provide a valuable source of income for local people, however there is a darker side to this activity. Many are used by unscrupulous companies and individuals to evade safety rules and taxation, and platforms are accused of unfairly hoarding data when it could help in enforcing compliance with local laws.

Therefore, working closely with other government departments, DMOs have to ensure that when building partnerships with platforms, or even building their own, that they put their local people and policy goals first. To help DMOs understand how to ‘take the leap’ in a responsible, informed way, we’ve set out a seven-step guide.

This blog post is from    www.toposophy.com/insights/insight/?bid=427

Business model innovationInnovationMarketing 3.0Tourism trends

Connected Museums and connected learning

The presentation below was originally given as a keynote in Taiwan to the Chinese Association of Museums.

Our belief is that the technology like Conducttr can create “intelligent interpretation” – personalized connected experiences that see the museum as part of a deeper ecosystem that includes informal and formal learning.

In the diagram presented here, a cloud-based intelligence understands the learner’s current interest and tailors physical and digital environments to suit.

Note that a common problem for major museums is traffic flow. That is, most visitors want to see the museum’s top attraction. Using Conducttr connected to traffic sensors, guides and screens can be adapted and tweaks to direct visitors to less busy parts of the museum.

 

This blogpost is from  http://www.tstoryteller.com/blog

Marketing 3.0StrategyTourism marketing

The power of persuasion: how travel influencers can become a DMO’s new best friend

Energetic, dynamic, imaginative and flexible. Increasing numbers of travel brands are discovering the value of building long-term relationships with travel influencers, and tapping into their problem-solving abilities too.

Getting paid to travel, discover the best of every destination and tell the world about it sounds like the ultimate job, doesn’t it? Until recently it wasn’t considered a job so much as a passion indulged by nomadic creatives with a gift for photography and the ability to run an attractive blog. Today that’s changing rapidly as the best travel influencers take on a professional status in the world of destination marketing and carry out a job that’s worth paying for.

However, as destination marketing organizations are increasingly required, for a variety of reasons, to shift their focus to destination management we believe that there’s a role for travel influencers can help in that process. We also know that the best travel influencers can be instrumental in helpful for them – as travel industry professionals- to get a better understanding of where they fit in the picture. To bring both groups together and chart the way ahead, TOPOSOPHY was recently invited to run the Think Tank at the Social Travel Summit (STS) 2016.

For two days in September the event brought an exclusive gathering of tourism professionals, leading travel bloggers and online influencers from around the world to the picturesque city of Inverness. I’ve got to admit that I’ve always been jealous of what travel influencers do (and you probably are too), but it became very clear during the event that these people really do care about the destinations that they work with, and when it comes to digital content creation and distribution, they really know their stuff. It’s surprising that more DMOs and travel brands of all sizes haven’t yet fully understood their value.

It also struck me how many genuine friendships had built up between the travel influencers and DMOs who attended, and how, when this relationship works well, the destination and its local businesses seem to genuinely benefit. However it has got to be said that with changing politics, shifting priorities and trimmed budgets, DMOs can sometimes take the role of a friend in need of a helping hand. One of the reasons TOPOSOPHY was invited to host the Think Tank at STS Inverness is that we’ve understand the challenges that DMOs face, and we wanted to help both sides work out how they can best support each other in the future.

Firstly, one of the biggest hurdles that DMOs face is allocating resources to working with travel influencers in the first place. Management and political decision makers can be skeptical about both the reach of the influencer’s content and the ethics of being writer, editor, and marketer all-in-one. While analytics software becomes increasingly sophisticated and great steps are being taken to professionalize the world of travel influencers (e.g. through the Code of Standards and Ethics for Professional Travel Bloggers), there is still much work to be done on articulating the value of travel influencers beyond the statistics. This is where those at the Think Tank underlined the importance of building long-term relationships rather than ‘one-night stands’. It’s only after working for a period of time with a particular destination that a travel influencer can really tap into its soul and relay this artfully to their audience. It also keeps readers engaged as they see that the influencer is a real specialist in the destination. Long-term relationships also build up goodwill, which can help a lot when DMOs need a hand with spare photos, videos and content sharing months after a particular campaign or fam trip. Just as you would with your own best friends, it means choosing the right travel influencer to begin with.

Secondly, as DMOs work more with local businesses – involving them in major decisions, providing training courses or working as part of a business cluster, travel influencers have a useful role to play. I noticed how many travel influencers complained about how they produce attractive and highly shareable content (the kind of thing which would cost an individual business a lot of time and money to produce), but local businesses don’t share it or weren’t aware the influencer was in town in the first place. By preparing well, and including time to meet and greet local business owners, the DMO can help this key stakeholder group to understand better what they’re doing, get more involved in the project, and maybe pick up some social media tips along the way!

Finally, as we recently identified, challenges like ‘overtourism’ are really putting the strain on many destinations, especially in Europe. While the causes and solutions to this problem are very complex, we believe that travel influencers can play a very important role in raising awareness of alternative destinations and attractions and giving practical info on how to get there. It’s something we explained in more detail in last month’s blog post. Running fam trips off-season, including attractive daytrips and giving the travel influencer more time to explore freely (rather than make them stick to a rigid itinerary) can all help too.

Working with travel influencers: quick tips

If you’re looking for good advice on how to get the most from working with travel influencers, check out our list of seven top tips from our own Blogger Outreach Expert Kash Bhattacharya. 

Tailor made advice, just for you

As one of our selection of high-quality keynotes and workshops, Kash can provide tailor-made advice to suit your destination and local partners in a full or half-day format. We can also assist you on a longer-term basis with our blogger outreach services to source and select the right travel influencers for your brand, and provide training to help you and your partners to get the most out of the relationship.

Social Travel Summit Think Tank – Full Report

The full Think Tank report will be launched at WTM London in a special session Digital and Influencer Marketing Developments and Trends at 2:45pm on Wednesday 9th November (location: WTM Inspire Theatre EU475). It will be freely available online shortly after.

 This blogpost is from    http://www.toposophy.com/insights/insight/?bid=434

IntelligenceTourism trends

Some millennials will be driving future tourism growth faster

Think back to your geography classes at school and you may remember studying population pyramids, those diagrams used to show the relative size of different gender and age groups in any given country. Take a look at the population pyramid for most countries in Western Europe and you’ll see a ‘Y’ shape, with a relatively large number of older age groups (the baby boomers), and a comparatively reduced population among the younger age groups. Now go and check out the population pyramids for nations in Southeast Asia, such as Indonesia, Vietnam or the Philippines. You’ll find a cone in the shape of a Thai palace: very heavy at the bottom (with a booming youth population) and very thin towards the top.

Last week I was in Manila to give a presentation at the opening session of MICECON, the national tourism conference of the Philippines. During the few days I was in the country, I was able to see first-hand how young the country is, with millions of children, teenagers and young adults streaming around Manila’s busy streets and malls. The Philippines is a collection of over 7,000 islands that lies in the Pacific, south of Taiwan and north of Indonesia. It’s had a rocky history, variously governed in the past three centuries by Spain, the US and occupying Japanese forces. During the late 20th the country was run by a General Marcos (remember his wife Imelda’s famed collection of shoes?) and has long suffered as one of the poorer Asian nations.

Today however, the country is both generating and benefiting from the wider economic boom in Asia. English is widely spoken by Filipinos, who go for coveted jobs at the country’s growing number of outsourced-call centres. The Asian Development Bank forecasts GDP growth of 6.4% in 2015 and international arrivals in 2014 reached nearly 5 million with the government aiming for strong growth in the coming years. Domestic travel is extremely important since Filipinos largely seek to explore their own country before heading for trips abroad, and there is still much more room for growth among a population which totals over 100 million.

A youthful country preparing for strong growth in the future

Aware that the country’s tourism fortunes will increasingly rest on the Millennial generation from Asia and further afield, the Philippines Department of Tourism invited me to speak at the opening of MICECON, the Filipino national tourism conference to share some insights into the Millennials market, in particular those travelling from other Asian countries. As you may know, Toposphy is already working with the Pacific Asia Travel Association to study the way Asian Millennials travel, in an exciting project called ‘Stepping Out of the Crowd’, and we hope to add this to our insights in the months to come.

At MICECON, it turned out that ‘Millennials’ was the word of the day as the audience in every session asked plenty of questions on this subject. The Filipino travel industry is especially interested in younger travelers, and the reason starts at home. Young Filipinos grow up knowing that their country is a diverse and exciting place to explore, and they usually set out to do just that before heading overseas. Whether it’s for upgrading the country’s supply of accommodation or understanding how to make the most of the boom in Korean students coming to study English (estimates show that nearly 70% of Filipinos are fluent in English), delegates from hotel groups, tour operators and airlines expressed a strong desire to learn more about the Millennial mind-set and apply lessons to their own businesses.

The Philippines today has some strong competitors for many of its products and to some extent, its fragmented nature and distance from mature outbound markets such as the US, Canada and Europe are a disadvantage. The government has also recognized that transport infrastructure is lacking too, but is working hard to overcome these challenges. The country certainly has some outstanding assets, including beaches that match the best of the Caribbean, amazing diving opportunities, beautiful rice terraces, and some well-preserved UNESCO recognized heritage from the 300-year long Spanish era.

Still, in my opinion it’s the people who will truly place the Philippines at a competitive advantage in the years to come. Before arriving in the country I was familiar with the country’s slogan ‘It’s More Fun in the Philippines’ though I must admit I thought it was a cheesy slogan just like any other. A visit to 3 cities in five days taught me that this slogan really is the best possible description for what you’ll find there! Fiestas in the street, a love of karaoke, friendly neighborhood barbecues, articulate guides and warm hearted generosity seemed in abundance. Even the conferences are more fun, with MICECON proving that tourism conferences don’t always have to be stuffy, formal affairs for the industry of fun and enjoyment. At this year’s event, delegates happily dressed by the theme ‘Flower Power’ and danced their way through the conference lunch!

Given that competition is so tough from neighboring countries, it’s promising that the Filipino government and the wider industry have recognized that they need to start building up their knowledge about Millennials in order to design the right products and marketing messaging for the near future. MICECON was a great first step to doing this.

Toposophy will be there to support them on this journey as they seek more creative ways to engage with Millennials in the future.

This blogpost is from   http://www.toposophy.com/insights/insight/?bid=412