Today’s live Wednesday hangout focused on the future of travel events and trade conferences. The consensus of our panel was that more innovation is needed to make events more engaging locally and globally via the social web and simply being social in the locality.
Panelists included Martin Hatchuel of This Tourism Week, Ethan Gelber of The Travel Word, Alastair McKenzie of Travel Coffee Break Hangouts on Air and Andrea Nicholas of the Green Tourism Business Scheme (GTBS).
The hangout format worked great in terms of engaging lively interaction and an unscripted conversation about recent events (New York Travel Festival) and upcoming events including Indaba and the responsible travel conference hosted by Ugu South Coast Tourism in South Africa. Andrea broke the news that Bristol, England would host a green travel conference in November and our chats are helping her organization figure out how to make most impact.
I think the hangout format has proven itself a useful tool in these chats about marketing local. There have been a few technical glitches, but what a terrific free resource! Being able to communicate with colleagues and sharing the screen by listening to one one another has to say is a giant leap forward from skype and certainly from email.
The future of my participation in hangouts will certainly focus on specific topics (Indigenous Tourism, Biodiversity, Parks and Protected Areas) and regions. I’d love to facilitate some regular panels on South Africa, Australia or Mexico if we can integrate the conversations with updates to the Planeta Wiki and Planeta.com.
I would also like to line up some chats about Nevada, which just launched a new tourism campaign. How do we explore the state online and on the ground in a way that shows off the under-the-radar attractions and services. More about these initiatives in the near future!
Finally, let me put forth two provocative ideas. Let no future tourism conference bring together speakers without gathering the panelists first via a live Google hangout or hangouts. Let no future tourism conference call itself ‘innovative’ if it does not include livestreaming video. We have the technology. Let’s use it.