Travel Marketing Summit 2015 Official Recap: Show Must Go On Despite Winter Storm Juno

The Travel Marketing Summit 2015 (#TMS2015) picked the “Blizzard of 2015” to debut. Even so, the venue, the Snapple Theater Center in Times Square New York City, was near capacity.  Sponsored by Cooperatize, the world’s leading travel blogger and sponsored travel content marketplace, the Summit’s focus on How to Think Different was kicked off by former Brooklyn Borough President and current Vice President of Borough Promotion for NYC & Company, Marty Markowitz.

He told us the story of the Welcome to Brooklyn sign: from signs that didn’t make it like “Brooklyn, the Everything Bagel” to ones that are currently in use like “Brooklyn, How Sweet It Is” and “Brooklyn, Name It We Got It!” He even went into extreme detail on how the “Leaving Brooklyn: Fugheddaboudit” sign birthed the “Leaving Brooklyn: Oy Vey!” sign on the Williamsburg Bridge.  And in closing, Marty wished us well and hoped the best for all the businesses in the room, since the better that we do, the more in revenue the city receives!

Inspiration Through Food

Following Marty was Harry Hawk, founder of the Food Film Festival who concluded that people don’t travel for food, but they travel for food stories: which are made up of food, people and the destination.

Brian Alberg, the head chef from the Red Lion Inn was next, where he debuted the Red Lion Inn Film, which focused on the memories that were created around the food and ambiance of the Inn.

Inspiration Through Technology

We then switched gears over to the technology portion of the morning with Try the World and their subscription “city in a box” service, BookALokal which gives you the ability to eat at a local’s dinner table, and TWIP that allows you to find others that share your “Travanality” or travel personality.

Inspiration Through Storytelling

Immediately after our technology showcase, we heard from five different bloggers, Patricia Serrano, The Fresh Traveler, Megan Eileen McDonough from Bohemian Trails, Ashley Day from USA Today, Elina Furman, the A-List Mom, and Travelista Teri, about what inspires them in creating a story. A short break followed featuring extra sensory treats from Leske’s Bakery, Xpresso Delight, and make over services from Bella On Demand.

Travel Marketing Summit

Storytelling Panel at Travel Marketing Summit (Photo Credit: Megan Eileen McDonough)

Travel Marketing Summit

A few ladies from the Storytelling Panel during the break! (Photo Credit: Teri Johnson)

Travel Inspiration Through Non-Traditional Strategies

After the break, Chris Solarz, six time world record holder and finisher of over 250 marathons in 50 countries, gave us an exciting glimpse into some of his more memorable races like Everest (which he won with his wife), Antarctica, and the Crater Lake Rim Runs in Oregon.

FIT Professor, Dalia Strum talked about how fashion trends impacted travel decisions, while Delilah Rothenberg, Director of Business Development at Tiossan, talked about the amazing story of founder Magatte Wade and how Tiossan’s product have its home, Senegal, written all over it.

John Knowles, the Director of Marketing at the Roger Smith Hotel, shared his unique marketing strategy of creating a film festival that was centered around the uniqueness of the hotel; making the hotel not an after thought but a destination of its own.

Steve Solosky, the Travelling Professor, reminisces about how the origin of his tour business and how every time it comes back to the people that he serves and the stories they take home.

Inspiration Through Changing Perceptions About A Destination

Mickela Mallozzi from Travel Barefeet did a superb job of moderating the Changing Perceptions panel where we heard from Rob MacKay from Queens Tourism, Eddie Bergman of the Africa Travel Association, Ricarda Lindner of the German National Tourist Office and Michael Gigl from the Austrian Tourist Office. Here are some of the perceptions these destinations are trying to change about themselves:

  • Austria continues to challenge its “Sound of Music” persona
  • Germany overcomes its numerous stereotypes
  • Africa continues to overcome the Ebola scare
  • Queens overcame adversity and became the #1 destination according to Lonely Planet

Travel Marketing Summit

Lights are shining bright on the Changing Perceptions panel (Photo Credit: Patricia Serrano)

Travel Marketing Summit

Ricarda Lindner from the German National Tourist office speaking about altering misconceptions travelers have about Germany (Photo Credit: Mila Kickert)

Lunch & Amenities For Summit Attendees

Lunch was brought to us by the E&E Grill House and announced by owner, Eric Perlmutter. All #TMS2015 attendees were treated to a variety of goodies and services such as rejuvenating water from All Beauty Water, fresh pastries from Leske’s Bakery (from Brooklyn!), massages from Knead, and luxury beauty treatments from Bella On Demand. The team from SocialCentiv also provided cutting edge information on how brands and companies can effectively market on Twitter to reach new customers.

Considering Travel Opportunities Through Activities

We moved upstairs to the Anne L. Bernstein Theater where Elana Langer presented to us her What I Live By exhibit on shopping and commerce.

Following her was Gilad Goren from Travel+SocialGood, who convinced us that traveling responsibly shouldn’t be explicit but in fact the new normal.

Helping us navigate the treacherous tour / show / attractions marketing world, Broadway producer, Andrew Asnes, shared with us the best channels that his award winning show “50 Shades! The Musical” uses to attract customers.

Award winning photographer Troy House showed us how a picture really is worth a thousand words and that sometimes the powerful images are not the obvious ones.

Travel Inspiration Through Social Media

Elina Furman popped back in to moderate a panel about best social media practices with Seth Forman from TravelZoo, Rori DuBoff from Havas Media Group, and Jason Dove from SocialCentiv.

Professor Lynn Minnaert from the NYU-SCPS Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism, and Sports Management and Orchid Burnside from Islandz Tours gave us a front row seat to what it is like to be a tour operator. The session ended with a “seventh” inning stretch to prevent DVT and other clot-related injuries during long flights by the founder of Knead Massage.

Purchasing Travel Through New Technologies & Innovation

We took a quick juice break and headed toward the final block of the day which was kicked off by a panel featuring Gina Doost from What the Doost!?, Sam Selby from Hotel Tonight, Gillian Morris from Hitlist, and Eddie Robb from Make It Social. They discussed how technology (particularly theirs) was changing the face of travel.

Travel Marketing Summit

Sam Selby from Hotel Tonight walks through how the app is revolutionizing the hotel booking process (Photo Credit: Gina Doost)

Google followed with a very informative panel discussion from Ting Ting Yan, Jenna Hovel and Sarah Robinson on all three phases of the “purchase funnel” from inspiration down to purchase for travel.

Travel Inspiration Through Social Media Continued

Sree Sreenivisan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art gave us a quick run through of his top tech tips for the weary traveler including an energy inducing “social media success formula.”

Tomorro\\\ LLC founder Jon Bond revealed to us: “Most millennial travelers post DURING their trip because if it’s not shared, it didn’t happen.”

We ended the day with a tasting from Allen Katz and the New York Distilling Company before the announcement that the subways would be closed and everyone had to be off the roads for an 11pm curfew. We found a hotel that gladly took our over abundance of food and then said “bye-bye” to TMS 2015 and hoped that TMS 2016 is in a warmer locale.

A Huge Thank You To Volunteers, Sponsors & Partners

The Travel Marketing Summit would not have been possible without our awesome volunteers, sponsors and partners whom we believe are leaders in their industries. Thank you to All Beauty WaterAtout FranceBella On DemandCheapOairDharma EyewearE&E Grill HouseGerman National Tourist BoardKnead Therapeutic MassageLeske’s BakeryNew York Distilling CompanySocialCentivTiossan, and Xpresso Delight. Here are some images from the Summit attendees took with the sponsors and partners for the Summit:

TL;DR

#TMS2015 boiled down to a simple equation: Travel = People + Stories. People travel to meet and experience other people and to have stories to tell their friends whether that be in person or via social media.  Stories could be about food, sports, fashion, business, responsibility, culture, or technology.  Whatever the story was about, the goal was to connect with existing friends and with new friends to share stories and to deepen the human connection.  The new generation after all, lives with the mantra to Buy Experiences and Not Things.  As for Cooperatize, we can’t help you with the people part but we can help you with the story! To read/see more about the real-time conversation that took place during the Travel Marketing Summit: