Malaysia International Tourism Bloggers Conference & Awards – The Conference Day 2 #mitbca2012

Hello, I am blogging live here from MITBCA 2012 Conference; Day 2 (last day).

The conference today started with Sheila S discusing The Great Equalizer: How the Social Web Helps Any Destination Play in the Big Time. 

Sheila told about about The Power of One; How Little Guys Win Online. Sheila introduces us delegates to @CodyKS who utilises the social media to promote the town he lives in.  She later discusses about #ScotlandHour, a twitter channel started by Susan Mc Naughton to help promote tourism in Scotland. Later she talks about Liza Pierce @AMauiBlog, a regular person writing a day to day entries about her daily life who loves about the island she lives in, Maui. She is a much seeked go-to person for travel bloggers who wish to visit Maui. Last person we discuss is Doug Anweiler @AuthenticCoast. He promotes Nova Scotia, he puts up great photos of the place and updates of the town. It’s a one man job. Instead of having to say “come and visit”, he says “this is what we have here”.

The point is the content does not have to be fancy. It can be just you looking out of your window and recording what’s around you in the form of pictures and simple text.

SESSION FOUR – Measuring return on investing in tourism using social media

Setting reasonable key performance indicators – the number will show – Dr Mridula Dwivedi (India) – Dr. Mridula  Dwivedi (India) discusses how some national tourism organisations (NTO) are not playing their roles and emphasizes that finding NTO websites was a task itself. Information is buried somewhere within the websites. She is calling all NTOs to take advantage of social media and use it as a platform to promote tourism.

Trend setters in travel and leisure – how to engage with them – James Craven (UK) – James discusses how NTOs, tourism operators and agencies can engage bloggers to help them promote their tourism businesses. He is talking from his own point of view as Managing Director of Hybrid News Ltd. UK where he engages bloggers to help promote his business. The big point is social media is not free and bloggers need to be paid for their effort in helping to get more online reach.

Monetizing via social media – where to start and how to grow – Nisha Jha (India) – Nisha discusses about social media being an enabler to help reach targets. Social media is not the answer to all marketing woes and it needs careful planning and diligent execution. Planning includes word of mouth communication, write and invite comments, publicise contents through social media, encourage discussions in forums, initiate contest and sharing of videos/photos. The bottom line is to constantly engage and obtain better SERP (search engine result page) and branding.

Leveraging on Social Media to Champion a cause – Jojo Struys (Malaysia)   It was fun watching Jojo handles her presentation. She shares a videos that she was involved in. The video was made at no cost at all and instead of getting only 200 students to involve in the awareness campaign, they entices nearly half a million of students to join. Apart from the video, the campaign uses prints, broadcastings as well as online social media to get the words out. Jojo also shared her experience visiting the Borneo rainforest. She concluded that Malaysia has a lot of interesting places to be discovered and hopes that local bloggers will find the time to explore and blog about it and share the experience with the whole world using online social media.

Open Forum: The Effects of Online Social Media on Tourism Websites Globally

Panel members: Director – Advertising Division, Tourism Malaysia – Abdul Khani Daud (Malaysia), President, Malaysia Social Media Chambers – Shahul Hameed Shaik Dawood (Malaysia) and Senior official from The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission – SKMM.

Abdul Khani explains that social media is quite new to the government. Although he thinks that social media is a good tool to promote tourism, it can also have a damaging effect on the industry (referring to the video of how the public of The Philippines posted topics about guns, crimes and the negative issues on social media).

Shahul discusses how social media helps boost tourism. It was interesting to watch a video of how billions of people around the world turn to social media today. He also shares basic tips on blogging. Things to consider are  timely blog updates, finding niche audience, write about anything but write from personal point of view and get ready for criticism. He also shares tips of the social media don’ts:

  • Never get emotional
  • Never take a comment personally
  • Never keep your page stagnant for a long time
  • Never force people to like your page or follow you
  • Never follow people just for the sake of following
  • Avoid having errors when writing on the wall or tweeting
  • Promote with all the positives you have, don’t highlight negatives of others to prove you are better.

It’s 1.14pm here and all the delegates are hungry. Haha.

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PARALLEL SESSION – WORKSHOP ONE. How to make social media tools work for tourism – James Craven (UK)
PARALLEL SESSION – WORKSHOP TWO. Social Media in Tourism and Leisure Business – Dr Mridula Dwivedi (India)

 

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