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ITB Berlin 2009: ideas to leverage Web 2.0 tools for trade show exhibitors

ITB Berlin- March 2009(one of the world’s leading travel trade show):  some lucky bloggers will have a press pass in order to cover the event provided they leverage the major Web 2.0 tools during the event- those tools are mainly:

– blogging often DURING the event – giving their readers insights to this worldwide recognized event for the tourism industry,

– podcast and vidcast: audio/video are encouraged to be published online for people to listen to/watch it from different devices (iPod, multmimedia players, computers, …)

– micro-blogging via twitter: many people  consider Twitter as a waste of time-I was part of this group until I decided to play the game too and become almost addicted to it :-). But considering that Phocuswright (a well-recognized online travel industry research) and the consortium of travel-related bloggers Tips from the T- list (BTW, if you haven’ t done it yet, I highly encourage you to download and read this Tips from the T list book-which is free- but where you can find a “condensé” of advices from recognized travel 2.0 bloggers all over the world) consider it as a requirement for a blogger to be given a pass proves that twitter is  a tool to consider for covering such events.

Now what’s the point for Madagascar (the country)?

For the delegation that will go to ITB Berlin, or for our national DMO (Office National du Tourisme de Madagascar), I’ d  suggest they do the following:

BEFORE THE EVENT

* from now (January 18th): create a twitter account and clearly indicate on your profile that you are from Madagascar preparing Madagascar’s participation to ITB, have people follow you on twitter

* get in touch with potential bloggers/journalists that will come to ITB. Have those people follow you on Twitter and do the effort of updating your tweets regularly. You can give them insights or excerpts of what you’re going to do before as teasing or as a PR efforts in the view of having a wider “media” coverage for the participation to the event, or in the view of attracting more people to Madagascar’s booth during the trade show

* publish on youtube or dailymotion the promotional videos you are planning to bring to the event,

* gather all the brochures of Madagascar’s participants and upload it on scribd (I’ ve already covered this topic on “how to give an online life to your brochure”), then motivate all your participants, as well as your contacts to spread the word about it through every channel (for example through connections on any social networks that they are member of : on facebook, flickr, wayn,…)

DURING THE EVENT

* increase the number/frequency of your tweets that may announce some events that will happen on Madagascar booth,

* take photos/videos  and directly upload it for people to share it

While hints I’ m giving here are not exhaustive, you may consider having a look at “Trade Show insights”, which I particularly find useful for exhibitors to get used to as they deal with actual experiences

I’ ll also be intersted to discover other ways from you (readers of this blog) about how to leverage Web 2.0 tools for trade show exhibitors…

mobile communications… what’s in for your tourism activity?

On one hand, ipod, blackberry, and other smartphones …they all come with plenty of  features and most of your clients use them on a daily basis (isn’t it convenient to have all your communication tools in one device: phone, SMS, camera, organizer, USB disk, multimedia player, …moreover all your contacts are within reach through chat, SMS, phone call, web applications, …).On another hand, the number of  content designed for those mobile devices are now increasing . The trend is set: mobile communications goes beyond simple SMS. Anything interesting for your tourism-business?

Talking about online connectivity, one usually think about someone behind a computer browsing the internet. Let’s not ignore the fact that being connected through mobile devices is now a reality. A smartphone with embedded Google maps (however Madagascar map is not well-populated), a tourist that updates in real-time his twitter followers about how happy/unhappy he is about the service you have delivered (mind the buzz), another tourist that updates photos taken from his camera-enabled smartphone a flickr/facebook account, or another tourist that asks for guidance from his “friends” on the social networks he is member of about interesting places to be…: those are all features that are already available for tourists that come to Madagascar now.

In fact, although there’s no rule ot thumb with regard to mobile marketing so far (as well as for Web 2.0 too), one thing’s for sure: your target customers are using those features and give importance to the discussions held on those social networks whether they participate from a laptop/desktop, or they are joining the crowd from their smartphone/mobile devices. Your company may take a step ahead your competitors by actually having a clear marketing strategy on how to surf this wave.

More interesting reading on actual experiences for Avis/Budget Rent-a-Car mobile marketing as well as Red Lion hotels where Eyetravel analyses two approaches for mobile marketing by asking is it “about ROI or brand advocacy”

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