Prepare to Drink From a Fire Hose at #eTS14











We’re all very excited about seeing everybody at #eTS14 next week in San Francisco.

Drinking in the knowledge

We’ve designed the program to reflect the fast-paced ways online marketing has evolved.  Prepare to drink from a fire hose as 79 presenters offer a stream of information in 15-minute (or shorter) segments built around your pain points and our commitment to provide attendees with a comprehensive view of what’s available. Of these 79 presenters, 23 are your peers: DMOs and attractions sharing insights from their experiences and initiatives.

In our attempt to show you the breadth of information, our content will not provide great depth, so we’ve added rotating round tables, a networking reception and lunch as well as DigMe media marketplace where 60 of you can follow up one-to-one.

Walking through the meadow

In our 15th year, we’ve identified several overarching trends reflected in the program that’s crafted to help us all understand the vast array of new media tools sprouting like wildflowers in a meadow.

First, with Facebook at less than 2 percent organic reach while the cost of their paid programs are increasing 24 percent, there has been a shift to identifying other pay-to-play options.

Second, the redefinition of content marketing and how it has driven organic engagement — which also raises questions about who’s going to carry the bricks to get all that content loaded. This issue has created what the New York Times called the “Personal Video Industrial Complex” complete with influencers who also, in many cases, are also being paid.

Third, there’s the fact that now it is not only possible to measure branding, but with the right targeting tools, highly specific audiences can be reached at various stages of the sales funnel.

 Appreciating the intimacy

Please join me in showing our appreciation to eTourism Summit sponsors, as their support allows us to limit attendance so that you have easy access to thought leaders and experts across multiple platforms.

Since ‘networking’ is our middle name, we’re introducing DigMe, a two-hour beta event followed by a reception where you can pick the brains of  27 vendors, agencies and experts to learn more about new digital products after having your questions answered in 10-minute speed dating sessions. We’ll look forward to your feedback to see if we should dedicate a full day to the event next year.


Looking forward to meeting you at #eTS14.  Maybe we should call it The Knowledge Factory.


Jake and the eTourism Summit Team



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How to Develop Your Internal Social Media Team

Gathan D Borden_headshot

By Gathan D. Borden, CHDM

Social media is no longer a function that solely lives in the marketing communications departments. And social media is no longer an afterthought in the travel cycle. Throughout their travels, social media fills a potential traveler’s void by offering before-market inspiration with photos and stories, in-market conversations with advice and tips and after-market distribution by sharing the traveler’s experience.

As destination marketing organizations, we are being asked to do more with less, and while sometimes that can be viewed as a negative, I view it as an opportunity to showcase how creative and flexible our organizations can be, to adapt to the ever-changing traveler who is now mobile. Social media allows us to connect with travelers in a myriad of ways, and we all should be using different channels for different purposes. Trying to stay abreast of the changes within both the travel industry and social media space can be a daunting task, and we cannot do it alone. Some of us opt to try and do it ourselves, some of us work in teams and others utilize an outside agency. In Louisville, we have opted to use all internal staff for our social media functions, and I am a strong believer that using in-house staff is not only a great way to market your destination via social media, but also a key way to gain organizational buy-in. I have organized a team of 11 people from various roles within the CVB to handle our social media efforts. Our team consists of people from sales, services, tourism development, partnership and marketing communications – and we all come together to do one thing and that is to promote Louisville.

I am in no way telling destination marketing organizations that they should not use agencies to help them create and administer their destination pages on social media. However, I am providing you with an alternative, in the case where you either (a) can’t handle the social media all by yourself along with your other destination duties or (b) you don’t have the budget to hire and retain an agency. So, without further ado, here are my ten steps to help you develop your internal social media team:

Teamwork in Louisville

Teamwork in Louisville

  1. Find someone to carry the torch.  To organize cross-functional team within your organization, you need one person who takes on the leadership role of organizing, setting strategy, developing tactics and measuring performance.
  2. Develop a social media policy. Before anyone jumps into the world of social media, you need to develop a social media policy that will protect the organization, protect the employees and provide direction on how to communicate effectively on social media.
  3. Find people who love social, regardless of their organizational role. You can teach people how to use social media, if they love it. But you can’t teach people to love social media if they are not active on it. Finding people who love it, brings synergy to the team.
  4. Use social networks from a personal perspective before developing a brand presence. Never sign up for a brand account until you play around with it personally. We oftentimes get excited with new technologies and dive into them without setting a strategy to see where it fits in the overall social media plan.
  5. Divide workload amongst the team’s strengths. Cross-functional teams work because everyone brings their strengths to the table. Find out what networks people are good at and love, then empower them to grow it.
  6. Set aside time for face-to-face meetings. At a minimum, quarterly meetings will allow you to get re-energized with the team, address issues and have conversations about ideas that can’t be done over email. These meetings are ideal for content planning sessions.
  7. Provide updates and milestones to the organization. Social media is sometimes seen as an invisible task, so make every effort to keep the organization aware of the progress and successes you are making. Recognizing the team in front of the organization creates goodwill amongst the team.
  8. Report on key metrics and performance to management. All management is different, so find out what they are looking for, and in your reporting make those areas stand out so that they can see your progress.
  9. Set goals to expand your social presence. Every year, you should set goals to become better at a network or to add one more network to your social media portfolio.
  10. Always keep your mobile device handy. You never know when you will run across good content, so always keep your mobile device handy. Just because you take a photo or video doesn’t mean you have to use it at that exact moment. As a marketer, you should already know what your destination story is, so when you see stuff, capture it and save it for a rainy day.

Organizing an internal social media team can be difficult, as you will deal with different levels of education and differing personalities, but once you get everyone on the same page, it will prove to be one of the most valuable communication teams and tools that your organization will ever use. Do you think you will try to organize your own team now?

Our guest blog comes from the desk of Gathan D. Borden, Director of Brand Marketing and Advertising for the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau. In this role, he is responsible for the overall advertising, branding, marketing and social media strategies for the city of Louisville’s travel and tourism promotion. Borden is a past and current speaker at eTourism Summit.

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Cool, Curated Content for the Countdown to #eTS14


21 Days To Go: Lookers = == Bookers

How to convert lookers to bookers? Macy’s has been leading the pack and doing it right for 156 years. Keri Hanson presents digital tips of the trade at #eTS14.

20 Days To Go: Video —-> Hyperlapse!

Hyper-cool. Only three weeks post-launch, Hyperlapse app is embraced by brands, contagious for users and hailed by Wired: “It’s like putting a $15,000 video set-up in your hand.”

19 Days To Go: The Parts < THE WHOLE

New Partnership Math: 1 + 1 = 6. Exponential factors are at work, creating win-win potential for clever destination and attraction marketers. Best example stories are coming up at #eTS14.

18 Days To Go: Tourism + Conservation

Congrats to Academy Award documentary film winner and leading conservationist Louie Psihoyos and team on the staging of IllUmiNations last night. The intersection of tourism and conservation matters; the whole world is watching.

17 Days To Go: You + Me beating-heart Plain Talking

We love geeks, but we always talk in plain English at #eTS14. Here’s the story of the Internet told in maps. We think you’ll like it.

16 Days To Go: imgres

Are you totally hooked? Enid Hwang tells Jake Steinman that she can unlock potential for us, taking Pinterest to the next level for destination and attraction marketers at #eTS14.

15 Days To Go: Churchillian Strategy: search

Set your digital reach objectives somewhat short of worldwide domination, but why not think big?
We’re excited to hear David Fluegge of Colorado Tourism and Gathan Borden of Visit Louisville talk about strategy, skill sets and social media at #eTS14.


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Good Storytelling Never Gets Old: On the Agenda at #eTS14


30 Days To Go: Tell Me a Story

Reach for the stars. Ask Jennifer Coleman from ScenicWA how she generated a stellar 1,240% organic reach with a post designed for successful storytelling on a cellphone. #eTS14

28 Days To Go: Curating LA Stories

What’s Your L.A. Story? Los Angeles Tourism’s Leslie Guettler reveals how they crowd-sourced hundreds of LA stories for the summer campaign.

27, 26 Days To Go: Corporate Storytelling

Is corporate storytelling bullshit? Sparkloft Media‘s CEO Martin Stoll thinks so! He’ll share a couple reasons why at #eTS14.

25 Days To Go: A Picture Tells 1,000 Words

Passion for Pinterest = Platforms we all want to know more about. Pleased to have Community Manager Enid Hwang, one of Pinterest’s first employees presenting at #eTS14.

24 Days To Go: Whisper in My Ear

We like: “Sleeping with the Enemy.” David Atkins of Visit Pittsburgh is on to a pretty sexy shoulder season solution. Hear more at #eTS14.

23 Days To Go: Just Whistle for Me

We’ve heard of ‘Whistle While You Work’ — and now Twitter is suggesting ‘Buy While You Tweet’? Hi-Ho!
Let’s get the latest on Twitter developments from Brian Carr.

22 Days To Go: Facebook’s Latest Story

How will you vote in this social media engagement debate? Pro: “It’s not Facebook, it’s your content.” Con: “Facebook’s giving us the finger, it’s about money.”


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Countdown to #eTS14: Can we talk?


We’re excited as the days unfold in the run-up to the 15th eTourism Summit. Here’s this week’s summary of thought-provoking, cutting-edge ideas we’re going to be hearing more about. Let us know whenever you’ve got something compelling to share and visit on Facebook for daily updates.

38 Days To Go: How can we keep up?

It’s algorithm anarchy with changes coming fast and furious. Google & Facebook made 300+ in just 4 months! SEO experts Laszlo Horvath and Sandee Jordan will help us stay up-to-the-minute.

37 Days To Go: Can we talk?

Meeting planners are jaded. They’ve been everywhere and seen it all from the front row and from the back of the house. So, how do you get them to engage on social media? Mandy Volpe knows, and she’s sharing her success stories.

36 Days To Go: Can we simplify matters?

KISS. Enduring advice — keep it simple — from Destination Analysts, who have done usability studies for hundreds of DMO and attraction websites. Get yours critiqued by the pros.

35 Days To Go: Can we create the best ads?

Twitter has knocked off Topps to create a ‘baseball card concept’ that does double duty as paid ads for travel clients.

34 Days To Go: Can we surprise and delight?

Sprinkle your content with photos, videos, humorous items, human interest. Content marketing is no longer about optimizing and refreshing words, but also generating engagement that will be shared and surface in searches.

33 Days To Go: Can we do something that’s free?

What are the best ways to build followers on Instagram? Katie Cook, Director of Digital Marketing, Austin C&VB shares some great tips.

32 Days To Go: Can’t we just be happy?

Shouldn’t every company have a Director of Client Happiness Enforcement Officer?  Richard Beeson of AgoraPulse is happy to share the good word. 

31 Days To Go: May we help?

DigMe 14 is introduced in Beta, an eTS digital marketplace.

Spend the last two hours of the 2014 eTourism Summit over cocktails with a series of fast paced 10-minute meetings connecting the most savvy group of digital tourism buyers with the most innovative digital media companies.

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What Google Sees & More, On the Agenda #eTS14


Loïc Le Meur, a developer, wearing Google Glass explorer edition in 2013 (Photo credit: Loïc Le Meur)


46 Days To Go: Google gets an eye exam

Simpleview’s Search Analyst Sandee Jordan provides details about what the omnipresent search giant actually sees.

45 Days To Go: Sit at the front of the classroom

Small and mid-size businesses learn from big spenders. What’s working in video marketing is pay per view after 30 seconds.

44 Days To Go: Join the debate club

How will you vote in this social media engagement debate? Pro: “It’s not Facebook, it’s your content.” Con: “Facebook’s giving us the finger, it’s about money.”

43 Days To Go: Copy a friend’s homework

Milena Regos of Out and About Marketing liked Tourism Montreal‘s #MTLMOMENTS campaign from eTS13’s session, “Steal These Ideas” …and re-worked it with success.

42 Days To Go: Know the school rules

Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation will be able to hand out a $10 million penalty to marketers who break the rules. Check out CASL explained here by MailChimp.

41 Days To Go: Keep your batteries charged

 Twenty DMOs and attractions will relate their digital campaigns and marketing ideas at #eTS14.

40 Days To Go: Remember your lunch money

We drill down budgeting for digital at #eTS14: What’s the difference between KPI and ROI? How should marketers use each at budget decision- making time?

39 Days To Go: Listen and take notes

Read Jim Brody’s guest post below for a useful cheat sheet on managing online reputation.



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Online Reputation Management Got You Overwhelmed?

socmediaA guest post by Jim Brody

Here are some solutions





For DMOs and the travel industry alike, the world of digital marketing is exciting, but all too often it is overwhelming.  During the Reputation Management Master Classes I conduct, DMOs frequently mention that the delights of engagement can be steam-rolled by the sheer scope what can realistically be done with limited resources. It’s a convergence of several factors:

  • Every business must engage in online conversation, whether they like it or not
  • A fear of negative comments and its potential impact on the business
  • Content is spread out across too many platforms to effectively monitor
  • Giving the impression that a conversation about you, but without you, means that you don’t control your own marketing
  • Risks associated with engaging in conversation

That’s a lot to digest. Here’s a start to helping you navigate the world of third-party content and put you squarely on the path of effectively managing your reputation:

1. You can’t do everything and be everywhere, but that’s OK.  Different types of content and content websites work well for different types of businesses. The chart below can help you prioritize and focus. This lists the most used platforms for each type of content (i.e. YouTube for video).


Screen shot 2014-09-02 at 11.29.14 AM


2. Actively recruit online advocates.  You’ll need a strategy to make this work for thenature of your business.  For example, lodgings can email following a stay, while DMOs can launch an online promotion to encourage and collect content.

3. Register for Google Alerts for your business to get regular updates of user-generated content as it surfaces across the Internet.

4. Engage with content creators.  Respond politely to bad reviews, comment and thank people for beautiful videos, feature photos on your website, or reach out to bloggers. People respect businesses that get involved in the conversation, honestly and fairly.

5. Make sure you take immediate action to respond to and refute any content you feel is fraudulent.  Most platforms have policies regarding this. Avoid an online debate with the content creator.

6. Be authentic, open and honest about your business or organization.  Someone (or a group of someones) will almost surely make your mistake into an online conversation…and that could go viral (and it would be all your fault).  So don’t lie.  Period.

Jim Brody has 15 years of digital marketing experience including his role helping DMOs manage their reputations on TripAdvisor. He is now collaborating with eTourism Summit to deliver a series of Reputation Management Master Classes for DMOs to educate their stakeholders and partners.



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Reasons to consider weekends as primetime – Happy Labor Day!





More than Half of U.S. Email Campaigns Launch Tuesday-Friday

According to a new eMarketer report (Email Benchmarks 2014: Richer Data, Mobile Optimization Crucial for Greater Relevancy) email open rates improved again this year, thanks to consumers’ growing use of mobile devices to manage their inboxes. Yet key benchmarks, such as click rate and transaction rate, continue to decline. As it gets harder to cut through the inbox clutter, email marketers increasingly seek new ways to upgrade the relevancy of their communications.

The majority of marketers opt to send emails during the week, but marketers switching their send day to Saturday could see higher open rates and average order sizes. Thursdays saw the highest volume of U.S. email sends in January 2014, according to marketing analytics and competitive intelligence firm TrackMaven. Tuesdays and Wednesdays were equally busy, while both Saturday and Sunday saw the lightest volume.

Share of U.S.* Email Marketing Campaigns Sent

By Day of Week, January 2014

Day of Week Percentage/Share
Monday 16.2%
Tuesday 17.6%
Wednesday 17.6%
Thursday 18.8%
Friday 16.7%
Saturday 6.6%
Sunday 6.6%

* Primarily in the U.S.

Note: Numbers may not add up to 100 percent due to rounding.

SOURCE: TrackMaven, as cited in company blog, March 2014- per eMarketer

But Q4 2013 data from Experian Marketing Services suggests that perhaps when faced with fewer emails, consumers may be more likely to engage and shop. The marketing services firm found Saturday had the highest open rates and average order sizes compared with all other days. Sunday had the highest click rate and revenue per email averages, but the lowest order amount.










Time of day definitely plays a role in affecting key email marketing measures, but there is no one silver-bullet time for improving benchmarks across the board. In fact, findings suggest that oftentimes, key measures such as unique open rate and average order size are at odds.

Email Marketing Campaign Metrics in North America

By Day of Week, Q4 2013

(among emails sent by Experian Marketing Services clients. U = unique)

Day of Week U. open rate U. click rate Transaction rate Rev/Email Avg order
Monday 17.3% 2.5% 0.08% $0.11 $186
Tuesday 17.9% 2.5% 0.07% $0.10 $193
Wednesday 17.2% 2.2% 0.07% $0.09 $181
Thursday 17.3% 2.3% 0.07% $0.09 $184
Friday 16.9% 2.2% 0.07% $0.10 $187
Saturday 18.3% 2.5% 0.09% $0.12 $201
Sunday 17.5% 2.7% 0.09% $0.13 $174

SOURCE: Experian Marketing Services, “Q4 2013 Quarterly Email Benchmark Study,” March 4, 2014 – per eMarketer

Analysis of emails sent during Q4 2013 by Experian showed emails sent during the nighttime hours of 8 p.m.  to midnight saw the highest unique open rates, click rates, transaction rates and revenue per email. However, buyers interacting with email sent during this window were less likely to spend: The average order size was $162, vs. $180-plus for emails sent between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Interestingly, emails sent during that 12-hour block saw lower unique open rates, unique click rates and transaction rates, suggesting marketers might have to consider a tradeoff between these measures and average order size.

Email Marketing Campaign Metrics in North America

By Time of Day, Q4 2013

(among emails sent by Experian Marketing Services clients. U=unique)

Day of Week U. open rate U. click rate Transaction rate Rev/Email Avg order
Midnight-4 am 19.4% 3.4% 0.17% $0.20 $156
4 am – 8 am 16.8% 2.3% 0.10% $0.13 $168
8 am – 12 noon 17.2% 2.3% 0.07% $0.09 $192
Noon – 4 pm 18.7% 2.6% 0.10% $0.12 $184
4 pm – 8 pm 20.0% 2.7% 0.10% $0.13 $186
8 pm-midnight 22.7% 3.6% 0.22% $0.23 $162

SOURCE: Experian Marketing Services, “Q4 2013 Quarterly Email Benchmark Study,” March 4, 2014 – per eMarketer


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E-Tourism Summit teams up with former TripAdvisor executive to create turnkey Reputation Master Classes

jim pic 4










The eTourism Summit has announced a partnership with Jim Brody, president of Sense of Place, to create a series of Reputation Management Master Classes specifically designed as a turnkey process through which DMOs can educate their hotel stakeholders on ways they can use online tools to better control their brand.

Jake Steinman, founder and CEO of NAJ Group, which produces the Summit said, “Jim Brody has been one of the highest rated presenters at eTourism Summit for the past six years. He can leverage his 15 years of digital marketing experience, seven of which were on the inside at TripAdvisor developing and selling its destination marketing products, to equip DMOs with tools to help their independent hotels and attractions learn how to manage their reputations.”

Over the past decade, Jim has worked with 700-plus DMOs worldwide, and given over 200 presentations on reputation management, third party content, digital marketing and related topics.  He currently serves on Tourism Ireland’s Marketing Partnership Group in North America and is a member of the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s marketing committee.

Brody’s intensive workshops cover the following topics:

  • How to handle “bad” content and “worse” advocate behavior
  • “Do’s” and “Don’ts” of incentivizing guests/customers to post reviews
  •  What to do in the event of a reputation crisis
  • Aligning 3rd party content with brand and promotional messaging
  • Choosing which platforms to focus on with limited time and resources
  • Working with bloggers and blog/news sites
  •  Specific practices for social network sites (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest)
  • Specific practices for online photo and video content (Instagram, YouTube)
  • Online behavior and why this all works
  • Maximizing the content on review sites (TripAdvisor, Yelp)
  • Working with “SNO” – Social Network Optimization

Here’s Jim’s schedule for the next three months:

September 22:   Africa Travel Association President’s Forum in New York City

September 24:   Reputation Management Webinar for Tourism Ireland

September 27:   Reputation Management Master Class in Toronto, ON

October 6:          Reputation Management Master Class in Nantucket, MA

October 8 – 9:   ETourism Summit in San Francisco, CA

October 28:      Reputation Management Master Class in Ontario Highlands, ON

November 6:     Reputation Management Master Class in Melbourne, VIC, Australia

November 7:     Reputation Management Master Class in Hobart, TAS, Australia

November 10:   Reputation Management Master Class in Bendigo, VIC, Australia

November 11:   Reputation Management Master Class in Victoria’s High Country, VIC, Australia

Now in its 15th year, the e-Tourism Summit has grown to be the world’s most helpful event for supporting DMOs and attractions as they navigate the ever-evolving digital marketing landscape.  On his new role with NAJ, Brody said, “I’m excited and honored to be working with the eTourism Summit team to support DMOs and the industries in their destinations as they all look to digital third-party content to help grow visitation.”

For those interested in more information, contact Jim Brody at The 15th annual eTourism Summit takes place Oct. 8-9 at Hotel Kabuki in San Francisco. For information, visit Jim Brody, who has been with TripAdvisor for seven years, is collaborating with eTourism Summit to bring Reputation Master Classes to destinations around the world.

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Contribute to the Countdown: eTourism Summit 2014


We’re adding daily updates to our digital pointers list called “60 Ideas and Tips for the 60-Day Countdown,” leading up to the 15th Annual eTourism Summit, October 8-9, 2014.

In case you’ve missed any of the latest tidbits…or, even better, if you’ve got one to share, get in touch on our Facebook page.

53 Days To Go: Forget About Free Lunch

Facebook executives state it succinctly: “Think of us as a publisher.” That’s pretty darn clear.

52 Days To Go: Always Live in Beta

Shifting sands. Just when you think you get it, they’ll change it. As Lee McCabe, head of travel at Facebook said, “If it works, it’s obsolete.” Clearly applies to Google and the other platforms.

51 Days To Go: Manage Masterfully

This stuff is not for interns. “Social media coordinators need the skill set of a Harvard MBA grad…who can juggle, too,” according to Martin Stoll, Sparkloft Media.

50 Days To Go: Stake Out Your Space

Are you joining our Attractions Track? Make sure you do these 3 things: “Claim your free real estate on: 1) Google Places with photos, 2) video for 360º Google Maps Business View and 3) optimized mobile.” – Shaun Aukland, Google Account Executive.

49 Days To Go: Play it Again

Destinations can rock by attracting viewers through music videos. Marla Johnson at Aristotle Inc. works with DMOs and a Grammy-winning songwriter to develop great original tunes.

48 Days To GoSharpen Your Pencil

Content Marketing in 2014 is as different from Content Marketing in 2013 as day is from night.

47 Days To Go: Rope Them In

Visit Tucson generated a remarkable 400% organic reach via Facebook using a post featuring dude ranches. We’re going to find out how.

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