‘I wish I could more quickly transfer everything we’ve learned in the last ten years to tourism marketers and business owners who are trying to get consumers to take notice of the great travel experiences they have to offer.”
Rodney Payne, SoMeT15AU Organiser

If you’re serious about growing your tourism business by gaining and maintaining a leading edge on your competitors with Internet marketing then you need to be on the ball.

I’ve been working in Internet marketing since 1996 and, although the principles of user-friendly design are still the same, other things have changed hugely. For example, when we set up our first Internet marketing agency Google didn’t even exist!

In fact, the search engines were so bad that in 1998 we created an online magazine called uNZipped (we were based in New Zealand), to teach people how to use search engines and direct them to the best websites.

That seems crazy now and in retrospect creating a better search engine (as Google did) would have been the way to go. Our goals were smaller but equally ambitious given that most of the business owners we wanted to help didn’t even know what a website was.

Like most successful business owners we’ve made plenty of mistakes over the years but we’ve also done some things right. They’re things anyone can do:

  • Constantly experiment with new forms of marketing and our own ideas;
  • Carry on moving forward, even when some ideas don’t go to plan;
  • Kept tweaking and improving ideas and services that work well;
  • Stay on top of the game by constantly learning new things and adapting old learnings to new Internet marketing and social media developments.

Which is why I’m so excited that Australia’s third annual Social Media Tourism Symposium (SoMeT) is being held on the Sunshine Coast in July this year.

About the Social Media Tourism Symposium (SoMeT )

SoMeT is a global tourism conference which is aimed primarily at Destination Marketing Organisations (DMOs) but is also great for small tourism businesses.

#SoMeT15AU will be held in Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast on 22 and 23 July 2015. The two day event will be packed with presentations and networking opportunities from tourism marketers who think outside the box.

I attended the first Australian SoMeT event in Wollongong in 2013 and left feeling inspired and honored to be part of the tourism marketing world. For hot tips see 13 Top Tips From the Social Media Tourism Symposium. The skydiving was amazing too!

I was also on a panel about working with bloggers so it was good to be able to share some of my personal experiences as a travel blogger too.

3 Reasons to Attend #SoMeT15AU

1. Learning

Understanding Web marketing is crucial or you won’t know the best way to spend your marketing budget. There will be a wide range of presentations that will help you with strategic planning,  tactical tips and takeaways from the world’s best destination marketers.

I can’t wait to hear international speakers like Charel van Dam from Amsterdam Marketing, Frank Cuypers from Visit Flanders and super savvy and entertaining William Bakker from Destination Think! as well as Australians like professional Instagram photographer Lauren Bath and Kris Flegg from Canva 360 who will  talk about branding in social media and run a fundamental design workshop.

2. Inspiration

Running a small business can be a lonely business and, although you can learn almost anything online these days, there’s nothing like attending SoMeT in person, hearing the speakers live and talking with them afterwards to inspire you.

People succeed in groups so if you want to be successful you need to spend time with people who are at the top of their game. #SoMeT15AU gives you that opportunity right here on the Sunshine Coast.

3. Meeting people

I don’t really like the term networking because it seems to turn meeting new people, which I love, into work. But call them what you like, the networking events at SoMeT will allow me to meet new people and catch up with old friends.

Those conversations get you fired up and inspired too but they also help you form genuine friendships and longterm alliances to grow your business with other people. Social media success doesn’t happen alone so meeting people is key.

#SoMeT15AU creates the best possible networking environment because it’s big enough that there are more people than you could ever talk to, but not so big that you can’t find the person you’re keen to chat with. I’m looking forward to relaxing, having fun and enjoying some delicious Sunshine Coast food too!

Find Out More About #SoMeT15AU

You can find out more about the event and speakers or book your tickets to join me here.