Using social media to attract meetings and conferences to your town


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How tourism professionals (CVB, DMO, tourist boards) can connect and network with meeting planners and event professionals using social media tools like blogs, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, videos and photos.

Presentation given at TTIA Texas Travel Summit 2010.

My team and I do online and in-person training in social media for tourism and hospitality at Tourism Currents -

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Using social media to attract meetings and conferences to your town

  1. 1. Fill That Conference Center: How Social Media Can Help You Bring More Events to Your Town Sheila Scarborough, Tourism Currents
  2. 2. What We'll Cover <ul><li>This is networking (no magic fairy dust)
  3. 3. Who is your market for meetings?
  4. 4. What can your town offer them?
  5. 5. How social media helps them pick YOU </li></ul>
  6. 6. What To Do First: STOP!
  7. 7. Two Questions You Must Ask <ul>1) Who is your market for conferences and meetings? 2) How can your town appeal to that market? (Venues, lodging, food, transport, “vibe”) </ul>
  8. 8. Yes, you must still ask the basic questions; social media does not change that.
  9. 9. Who Is Our Market for Meetings? <ul><li>Who holds meetings, and....
  10. 10. ....what is the size/type/frequency of their events </li><ul><li>Big annual trade show blowouts?
  11. 11. Quarterly board meetings?
  12. 12. Small group retreats?
  13. 13. Corporate training? </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Does Town Match the Market? <ul>Are we a town that entices our market? <ul>Conference venues & surroundings Transportation Lodging Places to eat Sports (catch a game?) & green spaces Family diversions “ Vibe” & atmosphere of town </ul></ul>
  15. 15. Match Town to Market: Example 1 <ul><li>Round Rock
  16. 16. New medical facilities
  17. 17. Meetings niche....
  18. 18. Medical & health care conferences? </li></ul>
  19. 19. Match Town to Market: Example 2 <ul><li>Eureka Springs, AR
  20. 20. Many different things </li><ul><li>Arts, music, crafts
  21. 21. Passion Play
  22. 22. Bikers
  23. 23. Foodies
  24. 24. Architecture </li></ul><li>Meetings niches: LOTS! </li></ul>
  25. 25. So, we.... <ul>Know our meetings market. Know what our town can offer. It's time to connect! </ul>
  26. 26. HOLY COW, let me at 'em! Is it social media time yet? Patience, grasshopper....
  27. 27. Avoid Drowning <ul><li>Do your homework
  28. 28. Know where to find the people who plan meetings
  29. 29. Get in front of them
  30. 30. Now, meet the planners.... </li></ul>
  31. 31. Who Plans Meetings? <ul><li>Associations
  32. 32. Meeting Planners
  33. 33. Trade Show Planners
  34. 34. Corporate Meeting Planners
  35. 35. Spontaneous event organizers </li><ul><li>We'll talk about one at the end </li></ul></ul>
  36. 36. Associations = All sorts <ul><li>TSAE </li><ul><li>Texas Society of Association Executives </li></ul><li>ASAE </li><ul><li>American Society of Association Executives </li></ul><li>Associations from your niche market </li><ul><li>For Round Rock: Texas Nurses Assn.
  37. 37. For Eureka Springs: Victorian Preservation Assn. </li></ul></ul>
  38. 38. Meeting Planners = Alphabet Soup <ul><li>Where to find many event professionals? </li><ul><li>PMCA - Prof. Convention Management Assn.
  39. 39. TSNN - Trade Show News Network
  40. 40. MPI - Meeting Professionals Int'l
  41. 41. IAEE - Int'l Assn. Of Exhibitions & Events </li><ul><li>The IAEE “Expo Expo” </li></ul></ul><li>AAAACK!! (this is why you do homework) </li></ul>
  42. 42. Note: Some may not be familiar with what a CVB or DMO can do for them. Do not assume.
  43. 43. OK, it's time now.... Social Media! Boo-Yah!
  44. 44. Event Planning Channel TradeShows Channel Blogs
  45. 45. LinkedIn Build Company Profiles Groups Answers
  46. 46. Twitter Connect with Twitter accounts in your market #AssnChat #EventProfs
  47. 47. Video and Images Video examples: Columbus & Indy Virginia Beach Convention Center (Flickr) Rhode Island Convention Center (Facebook)
  48. 48. Other Ideas CVB and/or Convention Center blog Add venues to Foursquare, Gowalla, Facebook Places Podcast (radio show) on Blog Talk Radio Upload presentations to SlideShare
  49. 49. New service DMAI's empowerMINT Connects meeting planners with CVBs and DMOs One-stop RFP
  50. 50. Let's talk about Hutchinson, Kansas Yes, your town can do this, too
  51. 51. Takeaways <ul><li>It is networking & human relationships
  52. 52. Takes time, but payoff can be significant
  53. 53. Social media is a tool and a method
  54. 54. Meet your market where they are
  55. 55. Make sure they know what you can do
  56. 56. Any town with moxie can do this </li></ul>
  57. 57. Photo Credits <ul><li>Bull Moose delegates: Library of Congress on Flickr Commons
  58. 58. Stop sign w/rabbits: Nationaal Archief on Flickr Commons
  59. 59. Rules: Gord McKenna, Flickr Creative Commons
  60. 60. Medical mannequin: Texas A&M Health Science Center
  61. 61. Bathhouse: Sheila Scarborough </li></ul><ul><li>Mr. Miyagi courtesy ampedAsia
  62. 62. Don't drown: SAR swimmer courtesy DVIDSHUB, Flickr
  63. 63. Yell practice: TX A&M Cushing Library on Flickr
  64. 64. Hutchinson KS blogger fam tour courtesy BJ McCray on Flickr </li></ul>
  65. 65. Thanks for your time! Sheila Scarborough Tourism Currents