DESTINATION BUSINESS TECH TALKS
By: Zimasa Magudu
The 2014 Tourism Indaba introduced the Techzone where Tech Talks were held by some of the biggest technology leaders to buyers as well as exhibitors throughout the course of the annual three-day trade show.
The Tech Talks were delivered in a style much like the TED Talks. It tackled topics that were relevant to the trade and destination market. Bloggers, trip advisors, social media experts all had their turns sharing the importance and relevance of their field of work and how it can help improve the destination business. The gap between trade and technology was filled through the engagements.
Renowned digital marketing expert, Aaron Nissen tackled branding and the misconceptions around it.
“The stories we tell have a bigger impact on building a brand than advertising,” he told the audience.
Nissen further emphasized the importance of authenticity in one’s company saying that the outer expression that is given off by the destination business should at all times match the inner experience received by the customers or travelers. This is because people tell their friends about their trips spreading the word. If a false image is painted by advertising, people will still tell their friends and that will have a negative effect on the business.
Bloggers and influencers were according to Nissen a vital tool in the branding or advertising of destinations because of the huge following and influence that they have on people.
“Get people talking and they will do the marketing for you. Access to WI-FI will help travelers to connect and share their trips and photos which will in turn be nothing short of free marketing,” he said.
Travel blogging is a relatively new profession and the measurement tools as well as rules of engagements were under question by the destination marketers. However the audience was in no doubt that bloggers and influencers were key tools that would reach into the hearts of people that would later be their customers.