Since its inception in 2014, the Social Travel Summit Think Tank has been a leading platform where professional travel bloggers and content creators, together with marketing executives from the travel industry, could discuss issues pertaining to digital destination marketing and publishing. The results of these discussions, including recommendations, are published in the annual STS Think Tank Report.

Past discussions at the STS Think Tank include:

  • tackling overtourism
  • transparency and ethics
  • internal structures of DMOs and maximising budgets
  • the value of bloggers beyond stats
  • planning the perfect travel blogger itineraries
  • how to choose the right blogger

In addition to producing tactical solutions at the STS Think Tank, we, at iambassador, felt that a set of visionary principles should be created to guide future relationships between content creators and DMO’s/travel brands. In view of this, we created a new discussion platform, the Social Travel Forum.

The first Social Travel Forum (STF) was held in the Austrian city of Graz on Wednesday, May 22nd 2019, hosted by Graz Tourismus, a testament to the DMO’s progressive approach to destination marketing and management.

Social Travel Forum Graz 2019

Concern is mounting about the impact of rising visitor numbers on destinations around the world. At the same time, more and more people are questioning how well social media paints a true picture (or not) of the modern travel experience, and how it influences the way visitors behave when they’re ‘on the ground’. Against this background, iambassador, in partnership with Graz Tourismus brought together nine thought leaders from the world of destination marketing and content creation to ask: “What role should travel bloggers and content creators play in the future of destination marketing?”

The discussions were led by destination marketing consultant and researcher, Peter Jordan, who has also produced the first STF Report.

social-travel-forum-graz-participants-2019-photo

The Social Travel Forum Graz participants (from left to right): Gemma Suner (Costa Brava Tourism), Becki Enright (Borders of Adventure), Keith Jenkins (iambassador/Velvet Escape), Peter Jordan, Susanne Hoeller (Graz Tourism), Melvin Boecher (iambassador/Traveldudes), Adeline Gressin (Voyagesetc), Nicholas Montemaggi (representing Emilia Romagna Tourism), Shivya Nath (The Shooting Star) and Manuela Moertenbaeck (Tirol Tourism).

In this first edition of STF, two pressing issues affecting the tourism industry were discussed: sustainability of travel and content authenticity. The discussions in Graz have resulted in this STF Position Paper. Please click the button below to download this free report.

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