Category Archives: Attractions marketing

Bright Shiny Object Profile: Pictyear

Jerome Tricault, Pictyear

Jerome Tricault, Pictyear

Each year eTourism Summit includes a  session where new start-ups present their product to a group of three potential users in a “Shark Tank” format.   This year we selected several companies that our attendees had suggested and others that are new but may be part of the Visitor Center of the Future.

Pictyear:  Meet Jerome Tricault, founder and CEO of Pictyear. We sat down for a chat with the serial entrepreneur and father of four in his office, which happens to be located 200 yards from eTourism Summit World Headquarters.  His current creation is a collaborative photo app was chosen for eTS based on its potential to enhance shareability.  Pictyear is the first app that allows smartphone users to create collaborative photo books with friends and family…on the go! And, it’s free.

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Q: What problem does this solve for users?

JT: It’s an app that allows friends and family to build a commemorative photo book either as a free e-book that can be shared with friends and family on Facebook and Twitter  or as photo book that can be produced on the go.

Q: How does it work?

JT: Here’s a 60-second intro that tells you everything you need to know.

Q: How much does it cost?

A: The app is free, to create a shareable e-book is free, and a printed book shipped directly to your home is $29.95.

Q: How can eTourism Summit attendees use it?

JT: I can think of five ways:

  1. Have your Visitor Center show people how they can create their own photo album.
  2. Create a scavenger hunt promoting lesser known attractions.
  3. Offer advertising for partners on the back cover of each book.
  4. Earn money as we share in revenue of every book that gets printed.
  5. Visitors attending special events together can create their own photo album.

Q: How do you feel about being selected as one of six start-ups to present at eTourism Summit?

JT: I’m a little nervous about my French accent, but we’re excited to be chosen. When you try the out the app at eTourism Summit, we’re going to award the best ePhoto Album generated from the Summit with $100.



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Filed under Attractions marketing, eTourism Summit San Francisco, Storytelling, Tech

eTourism Summit 2014 Takeaways

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The “fire hose of information” delivered at #eTS14 is not meant to put fires out, but rather to start more fires burning. Stoke your at-home fires with these top takeaways curated from 22.7K Twitter impressions across the cyberspace that was #eTS14.

Thunderous themes:

  • Be human, not corporate
  • Interact with people
  • Be a story instigator; content is still king
  • Mobile, mobile, mobile
  • China, China, China
  • Music videos: the next frontier for DMOs
  • Free FB lunch is over; use pay-to-play wisely
  • Empower the under-35s 
  • Re-visit and prioritize your SMART KPIs
  • Steal good ideas and scale them to suit

More Key Learning Points

Social Media Platforms

Facebook: Reachpocalypse is real and can only be fought with a compelling content strategy directed at sharing by a committed fan base. Be conversational, use other people’s good content, feature outstanding visuals of food and scenery. Watch for organic to drop to zero and a buy button to appear.

Twitter: is growing up fast. It’s fundamentally changed how we watch TV to make it interactive in real time, explains Brian Carr. One billion conversations are happening every 48 hours; 280M users will likely peak at 300M and 78% use on mobile will rise to 81%. Promoted tweets by keyword and tailored audiences mean it’s time to strategize on a clever campaign. Use Twitter analytics and experiment with Twitter Cards to drive traffic to your website, Lead Generation Cards to capture user interest and emails, App Cards to prompt a download. 

Pinterest: resonates as a visual bookmark which has key impact during dreaming stage. Different to other channels, it’s not about past or present, but future. Works best when you think of your content as actionable, creating travel tips, itineraries, must-dos, free things, etc. It’s OK for a business to start with 24 boards, populated with 20 vertical images on rich pins. Enid Hwang’s tip: omit hashtags, they may penalize you. 

YouTube: 71% of travel searches on YouTube are for specific destinations, trumping search at 58%. Seeing Y-o-Y growth at 179%. Destinations and attractions account for 40% of all travel video views. Talk to your visitor centers, address what people want to know when developing video content. Google’s Shaun Aukland says, “Video is the next frontier.”

Google: Importance of search through the five stages of travel: Inspiration/Planning/Booking/Experiencing/Sharing. Note that if all advertising were to move to mobile-only, that’s OK, since 50% of all travel-related searches are now on mobile. “The importance of mobile is the single most important thing you can take away from this conference,” suggests Shaun Aukland. He emphasizes that the  “under-35s understand this stuff naturally,” and management from the governor’s office right on down should “listen to them, give them budgets and let them lead.” 


  • Best-practice example: Memphis video kills it in one minute with poetry and a voice over that rivals Richard Burton. – (filmmaker Peter Bragiel, In Transit)
  • Audio is 50% of your presentation. Use music to convey desired mood of video. – (Marla Johnson, Aristotle)
  • The story must be the foreground, the destination is the background. There’s nothing unique about eating out, a nice glass of wine, a swimming pool. Golfers already know where the golf courses are.
  • Remember that Vimeo is where Millennials are hanging out. “Subscribers are currency. Forget views. It’s about how many people have relationships with you.” – (Peter Bragiel, InTransit)

      *  “What are your top 10 Google and YouTube searches? Are you answering those questions with video? Start.”  – (Shaun Aukland, Google) 

  • You can even do it in-house. Too many ideas? Break up the topics into short, separate videos.
  • “Must. Do. More. Video.” – (Melia Dicker, Visit Mississippi)
  • “Like a home video?” Fly the producer over!” – (Peter Bragiel, InTransit)

Social Media & Advanced Social Media Marketing

  • Create a social media culture in your organization. Your chief storyteller and best brand ambassador may be sitting right next to you. – (Gathan Borden, Visit Louisville)
  • Get to your community’s bloggers. You don’t have to be first to the punchline, but do pass the good stories along.
  • Join the Instagram conversation. Among Millennials with smartphones, 43% are using it. Thursday is the biggest day. – (Katie Cook, Visit Austin)
  • “What’s even better than targeting your customer? Finding other ones just like them.” – (David Fluegge, Colorado Tourism)
  • Keep your Facebook and personal pages separate. Business Manager is the solution. – (Josh Collins, Visit Williamson County)
  • Start “thinking like a publisher.” Facebook is. – (Mo Sherifdeen, Travel Oregon)
  • Advanced analytics, custom audiences, lookalike, tracking pixels, using your own mailing list: tools are your friends. “Spray & Pray approach won’t work.” – (David Fluegge, Colorado Tourism)
  • “Native beats banner.” – (Jessica Cox, MMGY Global).  Native advertising is here to stay, so join the crowd, use it wisely. – (TJ Salo, DreamPlanGo)
  • Focus on one KPI at a time or you’ll end up achieving nothing. – (Tess McBride, Sparkloft Media)
  • Consider targeting email unsubscribers to continue conversation elsewhere on social. – (David Fluegge, Tourism Colorado)

       *  “A sense of place is the filter I put every piece of content through. How strongly does it evoke a destination?” – (Talia Salem,  Brand USA)     

Attractions Social Marketing

  • Change happens. “Be tolerant of chaos.  Let the ground move under your feet every single day.” – (Geoff Drake, Monterey Bay Aquarium)
  • Make your organizational chart flat. Employees such as mountain climbers and aquarium explainers are hearing fabulous comments from the public every day. Use compelling, appealing assets from the top of the world to the bottom of the ocean. “Cute baby otters works, too.” – (Geoff Drake and Theresa Ho, Yosemite DNC)
  • Attractions now have the upper hand with flash sale sites. – (Bob Schwartz, Boston Duck Tours)

       *  Vary your content, tone of voice, even grammar and punctuation for each social media platform according to user demographics. It works. – (Amie Wong, California Academy of Sciences)     

  • Mobile bookings means massive opportunities in the tours and activities space, even a storefront within the app. – (Michael Berman, Peek and Alex Bainbridge, TourCMS)

Small Budgets, Limited Resources

  • Maximize Twitter hashtags, Instagram and Pinterest when there’s no money. – (Leslie McLellan, San Jacinto Valley CVB)
  • Video need not be expensive. Maintain the rights and use contest entries.
  • Q: If you could have only one staffer on social media, what skill set? Designer? Photographer? Writer? A: “Don’t overlook a sense of humor.” – (Marla Johnson, Aristotle)  Tip: Check out graduate school of journalism students to find all 4-in-1.
  • Prioritize your channels, prioritize mobile.
  • Develop a tone of voice. (Tucson got 824% FB organic reach with “Advice From a Cactus” post.) Use other people’s content. (ScenicWA got 2500% organic reach with one-a-day image feeds.)

MICE Marketing

  • Look in the right place. You’ll find this audience on LinkedIn. – (Mandy Volpe, UniqueVenues)
  • Use website landing pages for specific types of meetings.
  • Push notifications will be the email marketing of tomorrow.

Experiential Travel

  • The sharing economy is here to stay. Embrace it, work with it.
  • Restaurateurs see as complimentary (appreciation of good food and company), not competitive. – (Guy Michlin,
  • International visitors wanted to “live like a local.” Now they want to “meet the locals.”
  • The physical distribution of Airbnb changes a visitor’s experience with a destination, since they primarily live an average of 5 days where hotels are not found. – (Andrea La Mesa, Airbnb)

Out-of-the-(Tool) Box Thinking

  • We have street view. We have satellite view. Why not drones? Drones are the something in-between. 
  • Not perfect is the new perfect on Snapchat. You don’t have to maintain the image of a perfection to get engagement. Watch developments: Snapchat Stories, Our Stories and Snapchat geotags…not to mention ads. – (Martin Stoll, Sparkloft Media)
  • Bitcoins have a higher and more steady demand than Expedia anticipated, and “none of us should be ignoring this innovation.” – (Michael Gulmann, Expedia Media Solutions)
  • Google CEO recommends Googlers to work one day/week out of mobile exclusively. Grounds the consumer experience, invites innovation. – (Shaun Aukland, Google)

Media Buying

  • “Data and creativity are the Montagues and Capulets of advertising. They’ll start working together with formidable results.” – (John Durham, Catalyst S+F)
  • “Mobile advertising is in its infancy,” at currently only 2% of all ads. – (Scott Swanson, Opera MediaWorks)
  • Fasten your seat belts, but you don’t have to drive your data as crazily as the big box retailers do. – (Chris Smuthy, Sojern)
  • “The real purchasing strategy lies in the why and the how – not the where and the who.” – (Sabrina Wilson, Ad+Genuity)
  • Evaluate ROI during campaign, not just at completion.
  • Use call to action words appropriately; different ones apply to awareness, inspiration, consideration, activation, re-living.
  • “Invest in storytellers. In Louisiana’s best content, you can just smell the food.”- (John Durham, Catalyst S+F)

“There are three kinds of people: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who wonder what happened.”Nicholas Butler Murray (1862 – 1947) educator, former president of Columbia University

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Filed under Attractions marketing, Digital Tourism Marketing Trends 2015, DMOs, eTourism Summit San Francisco, Facebook, Google, Instagram, KPIs, Native Advertising, Pinterest, Snapchat, Social Media Platforms, Storytelling, TripAdvisor, Twitter, YouTube

eTourism Summit 2014 Expands its Attractions Track

At eTourism Summit, we’re continually staging a full-blown “Listening Tour” to stay a beat ahead of whatever’s coming down the pike before it reaches the junction of DIGITAL MARKETING and TOURISM. Our delegate feedback from last October signals a green light on expanding the Attractions Track at #eTS14.


The Magnetic Attraction of Attractions and Q&A with Viator

 Over the course of our lifetimes, the world’s greatest attractions have come to realize that simply unlocking the doors in the morning is no replacement for a marketing strategy.             

 In other words, they used to think that if people cared about the treasures of the Louvre, the depths of the Grand Canyon or the mystery of Stonehenge, they’d just show up. 

These days, attractions marketing is a great deal more sophisticated than printing a brochure and running a gift shop. However, one thing hasn’t changed: Attractions attract. 

With a Finger on the Digital “GO” sign

We spoke with Kelly Gillease, Vice President Marketing at Viator to learn more about the latest.


We’re pleased to begin by recognizing and thanking Viator for their sponsorship of the Attractions Track at the upcoming 15th annual eTourism Summit.

eTS:  Kelly, tell us about how you came to Viator. 

KG:  It was a sequence of internet startups, from Hotwire to Expedia through its acquisition of Hotwire, then to Yahoo that led me to Viator, which was funded and poised for expansion in 2005. 

eTS: What are the top three trends attractions should be most aware of in their marketing?Screen shot 2014-06-20 at 12.19.05 PM

KG: There are currently two topics that outrank any others. 

First, in the decision and buying process, the shift to mobile is absolutely essential of as yesterday. Since travelers have a guide and a booking engine in their pocket, finding things to do has moved away from the desktop. 

Second, attractions should harness the power that mobile provides once visitors arrive. While I have seen some attractions do a good job of this, I’ve never seen one who has done an excellent job. Attractions should start with free Wi-Fi, and then be really smart about the possibilities of helping visitors to share their experiences online in the moment.     

eTS: What are the top challenges that attractions need to confront?

KG:  The quality of experience on mobile websites means attractions must think through the operational aspects, too. For example, printing and ticketing requirements need to be optimized and simplified.   

eTS: How can attractions better partner with hotels, activities, tours to sell more product?

KG:  We talk to lots of smaller attractions and non-profits that lack the immediate resources required for developing an app, producing multi-lingual landing sites, micro-sites and other opportunities that present as weaknesses. In partnering with Viator, for example, we can help them achieve better global distribution and get a slice of the big pie, which in turn creates sales and allows them to scale up over time.   

eTS: What’s new inside Viator in 2014-15 that you’ll be sharing with us in greater detail at the eTourism Summit in October? 

KG:  We’re looking forward to sharing details about better tech solutions for consumers to buy deals, sales and last minute tickets from the attractions we work with.  


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Filed under Attractions marketing, eTourism Summit San Francisco