13 Top Tips from the Social Media Tourism Symposium

If you love travel and social media then you would have been in  heaven at the recent Social Media Tourism Symposium in Wollongong, Australia.

Tourism marketing movers and shakers from around the world converged in Wollongong this month to share social media marketing success stories and talk about how we can do even bigger and better things in the future.

I was honored to be one of them and sit on a panel about working with bloggers, a topic so terrific and thorny that it needs to be tackled in a separate blog post.

These are my favourite quotes from the Social Media Tourism Symposium. Sadly not every speaker is mentioned here because I was constantly jumping up and down for more earl grey, M&Ms or even to get my microphone fitted. Sorry about that. But special mentions also go to:

Tabitha Galvin from Wollongong Tourism for leading the way and persevering to make sure Wollongong won the right to host the conference through a social media voting campaign;

Sophie Baker for starting the eye catching Instameets on Hamilton Island;

Kate Duffy from the Canadian Tourism Commission whose ideas on communication and human relations, and whose passion for making sure social media excellence started within the organisation on their own private intranets was fabulous.

Lauren Bath for her social media success story of getting over 250k Instagram followers then quitting her job as a chef to become a professional photographer. Lauren even made time to take some portrait shots of me on the beach after the conference so hopefully I’ll have a shiny new Twitter photo to share with you soon.

Nelson Hall for shouting me coffee after our sunrise photo shoot at the lighthouse and for having the most cryptic Twitter handle.

Social Media Tourism Symposium 2013

On the panel from left to right: Kate Duffy, Annabel Candy (that’s me), Lauren Bath, Craig and Caz Makepeace and Holly Galbraith moderating on the far right – although we were very well behaved.

So here are some top tips from the 2013 Social Media Tourism Symposium in Australia:

1. Want to track a social media campaign? Decide the metrics you want to track BEFORE you start.
William Price, South African Tourism

2. Openness and authenticity is key for social media campaigns.
Ian Hill, Australian Capital Tourism

3. For tourism marketing think about the four stages of travel – Dream, Plan, Experience and Share.
Sarah Mattsonn, Tourism Queensland

4. Be consistent with social media updates.
Sean Blocksidge, Margaret River Discovery Tours

5. Ask your readers and fans to share your content.
Donna Moritz, Socially Sorted

6. Work with people who are well connected.
James Hacon, Destination Content

7. Create a harmonious visual connection on all your social media outposts.
Steve Hanzic, Hanzic Design

8. The integrity of your brand is at stake if you don’t take social media seriously.
Jesse Desjardins, Tourism Australia

9. Social media is cost effective mass media and enables you to target different markets. (Unspoken tip for the fearful: so use it!)
Diana Kahui, Destination NSW

10. Personalise the experience – different people want different things.
Emmanuelle Legault, Tourism Montreal

11. Get people talking and they’ll do the marketing for you.
William Bakker, Think! Social

12. Social media is changing advertising and marketing and this is only the beginning.
@Craig Wilson, Media Hunter

13. Spend ALL your marketing budget and time on digital.
That’s what Emanuelle Legault says Tourism Montreal is aiming for by 2014 and it sounds like a very smart plan.

Need help with digital tourism marketing? That’s our speciality and we’d love to help you take your travel business to the next level. Contact Mucho now to find out how we can help.

Which of these tips inspire you most? Or maybe you’ve got a social media marketing tip or two to add?