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IFITT Talk: Numerous participants, inspiring speakers and great debates

One more successful IFITT Talk organised by the Centre for Tourism & Leisure Management (CTLM), University of South Australia: numerous participants, inspiring speakers and great debates.

The IFITT Talk on “Digital Marketing in Tourism” was one more successful event co-organised by the Centre for Tourism and Leisure Management (CTLM) of the University of South Australia and IFITT. The IFITT Talk was held on the 30th August and hosted at the University of South Australia at Adelaide, Australia. It gathered more than 140 professionals representing the wider South Australia tourism industry including: accommodation providers, cellar doors and wineries, restaurants, visitor attractions, the MICE and transportation sector, destination management companies and city councils. The quality and the stimulating speeches of the 12 speakers have kept all participants in their seats until the very last moment of the event. The event was opened by Marianna Sigala (Professor of Tourism, Director of CTLM, University of South Australia) who gave an overview of the activities and projects of CTLM and IFITT and with a welcome speech by professor Andrew Beer (Dean of Research & Innovation, University of South Australia) who highlighted the importance of tourism in South Australia and the strategic commitment and priority of the University of South Australia in tourism research.

The IFITT Talk brought together academics and professionals, all experts in their fields, who presented and discussed the latest technology trends and issues in digital marketing in tourism. IFITT Talk featured three sessions and a grand debate at the end. The first session focused on digital marketing for tourism destinations and featured two speakers. Edward Brooks (Digital Marketing Manager, South Australian Tourism Commission, SATC) provided a great overview of the digital marketing practices and strategy of SATC including SEO, online advertising and social media campaigns. Paul Baron (IFITT Board member) provided interesting insights into the business models, dilemmas and challenges that destination management organisations face when implementing destination marketing strategies.

The second session included four speakers presenting several cases and examples of digital marketing applications and tools in tourism. Marianna Sigala (Professor of Tourism, University of South Australia) gave a presentation highlighting the importance of story-telling for building engaging and effective online marketing campaigns. She gave numerous examples identifying the components and the roadmap for designing interactive social media campaigns in which the tourists become an active audience interpreting and distributing the story of the company. Siggi Frede (Strategy & Marketing consultant, Effektiver) discussed the importance of developing digital communications that address the special and different customer needs during every stage of the customer journey. Justin Wastnage (Co-founder, Ciné Souk) discussed the evolution of travel storytelling across the ages from Neanderthal explorers to today’s micro video blogs. He gave numerous examples of the influential role of story telling in  travellers’ decision making and the impact of micro blogging in the digital era. Simone Douglas (Social Media AOK) discussed the need to measure the impact of social media marketing strategies and identified the key performance indicators and metrics that one should use for measuring online performance.

The third session paid special attention to the use and impact of digital marketing in the food and wine tourism sector. It included five inspiring and insightful presentations. Aise Kim (Senior Lecturer, University of South Australia) debated and provided several practical examples and cases showing how food tourism destinations can use the Internet and virtual reality for building their brand personality and image. Marianna Sigala (Professor of Tourism, University of South Australia) provided an overview of the various infomediaries in wine tourism, their business models and how the latter disrupt the traditional wine distribution channels and transform consumer behaviour by creating new wine markets. Darren Oemcke (Hydra Consulting) highlighted the importance to measure the right things when evaluating and designing online campaign by providing first hand evidence of a campaign of a wine maker. Anthony Valeriano (Director, focused on B2B marketing and distribution in the wine sector and gave evidence of the importance of wineries and cellar doors to use online channel aggregators in order to increase their visibility, promotion and bookability online. Matthew Moate (Wine Industry suppliers Australia, WISA) presented the Wine Portal, which represents an online hub connecting all stakeholders related to the wine (tourism) industry empowering them to exchange knowledge, network and share knowledge and insights.

The IFITT Talk ended with a grand debate whereby discussions revealed the increased need to: support wine tech entrepreneurship and start-ups; use food and wine as a distinctive advantage to build an appealing image and distinctive proposition of South Australia as an international competitive destination; the need to work collaboratively to develop and promote unique tourism experiences; and the need to further enhance and upgrade the technological business skills, competencies and understanding of the tourism industry.

This was the third IFITT Talk organised by the CTLM (University of South Australia) and hosted at the University of South Australia, Adelaide, which has also received a great enthusiasm and participation from the local tourism industry. The next IFITT Talk is planned for the 21st of November 2017 on the topic of “smart tourism services and smart tourism destination”. Bookmark your diary not to miss this unique event. 

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Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.