The first Social Travel Summit, a gathering of 50 top travel bloggers from around the world and key decision-makers from the tourism industry, took place at the Pentahotel in Leipzig, Germany, on 15-16 April 2014. Organised by iambassador in partnership with Reiseblogger Kollektiv, the Summit was arguably the first of its kind in travel blogging, bringing together specially invited professional travel bloggers and senior tourism industry representatives from 20 countries for two days of learning, networking and brainstorming. The objective of the Summit was threefold: to discuss the current state of the travel blogging-tourism industry relationship, develop best practices and to create a platform for more effective collaboration.
View the official STS Leipzig 2014 video:
The Social Travel Summit (STS) featured insightful and often humorous presentations on the future of social media and content marketing trends by the likes of Nick Westergaard (Brand Driven Digital) and Fergus Parker (Axonn Media).
A series of interactive sessions were held over the course of the two days in which the bloggers and industry shared their experiences, case studies and ideas. These were complemented by workshops for both bloggers and industry on subjects such as public speaking, media interviews, best practices for blogger collaborations and utilising different social media channels effectively.
Thirty delegates were invited to the “Navigating the Future” Think Tank session in which the bloggers and industry representatives had the opportunity to discuss issues facing the professional travel blogging community, identify bottlenecks in the blogger-industry relationship and determine best practices for mutually-beneficial collaborations. The findings of the Think Tank were published in the STS Think Tank report (please register here to receive the report).
“The Summit is a milestone in the rapid evolution of travel blogging. Fueled by a passion for travel and sharing, many travel bloggers are increasingly seen as professionals who offer tremendous value,” says Keith Jenkins, CEO of iambassador. “Our objective was to take this level of professionalism up a few notches and establish a solid foundation for collaboration between the bloggers and the industry, and we wanted to do this in a casual environment that fosters relationship-building.” In this sense, with ample networking opportunities, music and dance, and quizzes, the Summit created a fun, positive atmosphere that resonated with the delegates.
The #STSLeipzig hashtag generated 82 million tweet impressions, reaching more than 4 million twitter accounts over the course of the conference. On Instagram, more than 1,100 photos were uploaded with the hashtag (and the blog trip hashtags #welterbegermany and/or #germany25reunified). The #STSLeipzig hashtag was a trending topic on both days of the Summit!
The Summit would not have been possible without the support of the German National Tourist Board and Leipzig Tourismus und Marketing GmbH. “The first Social Travel Summit has been a resounding success in terms of both quality and quantity,” said Petra Hedorfer, Chief Executive Officer of the German National Tourist Board (GNTB). “More than 100 international delegates discussed the future of content marketing in the travel industry and generated a high level of interest in the summit and in Germany as a travel destination on social media sites.” Volker Bremer, Managing Director of Leipzig Tourismus und Marketing GmbH, added: “We are proud to have hosted such a successful and pioneering event. From a tourism perspective, Leipzig will benefit in the short and long term from the summit.”
“Hosting the first Social Travel Summit in Leipzig has been a great success and a wonderful experience for our team,” says Steffi Gretschel from Leipzig Tourismus und Marketing GmbH. “To organize an innovative industry event with 50 of the world’s top travel bloggers in an up-and-coming destination like Leipzig turned out to be the perfect match. Our social programme at the Spinnerei, the culinary tour of Leipzig’s trendy Südvorstadt district or the Porsche test drive generated a broad and high-quality coverage in text, video and images across all social networks.”