The Social Travel Forum in Graz ….and a free report for you!

What is the Social Travel Forum?

The first Social Travel Forum (STF) was held in the Austrian city of Graz on Wednesday, May 22nd 2019.

The Social Travel Forum was very much born out of all the discussions that have taken places as part of the Social Travel Summit Think Tank where delegates (DMO’s, content creators and influencers) were given the task of brainstorming solutions for issues pertaining to digital destination marketing and publishing.

After working closely with industry and content creators, the iambassador team increasingly recognised a new demand for a set of clear visionary principles that could guide future relationships between content creators and DMO’s/travel brands as all parties face up to a number of new industry challenges and changes. This was therefore the primary objective of the Social Travel Forum when the first edition was hosted by Graz Tourismus. Partnering with Graz was a definite nod to the DMO’s progressive approach to destination marketing and management, and it was an honour to work with them on the first Social Travel Forum.

What happened at the Social Travel Forum?

Ten delegates, comprised of content creators and European DMOs, from seven countries were specially invited to Graz to discuss a number of topics that ultimately fell under two pertinent issues: authentic content creation, and destination marketing and management in the context of sustainable tourism. The discussions were facilitated and moderated by Peter Jordan, a destination marketing and management consultant, who specialises in the research and analysis of travel industry trends.

The Social Travel Forum Graz participants were Gemma Suner (Costa Brava Tourism), Becki Enright (Borders of Adventure), Keith Jenkins (iambassador/Velvet Escape), 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). The selection of delegates ensured a number of different DMOs were represented (in terms of size, resources and target markets) as were content creators who all had varying niches and audiences.

A programme consisting of brainstorming sessions, debates and role play was created by iambassador and Peter Jordan. Among the subjects debated were:

  • The growth of staged content and how it influences the way people travel

  • ‘How to influence the influencers’ with the goal of promoting responsible traveller behaviour

  • The present and future of DMOs and how they can best serve the destinations around them

  • The role of travel bloggers and content creators in the future of destination management and marketing.

The Social Travel Forum Report

As with all previous Social Travel Summit Think Tank sessions, the culmination of the discussions held at the Social Travel Forum have been compiled into a report that will help guide the industry and content creators through the main challenges we are all facing, as well as identify and share strategies and solutions that work in destination marketing campaigns.

The position paper from this first Social Travel Forum has now been published and you can download your free copy from this page here.

There is a lot of information in this report and it is essential reading for anybody working in online destination marketing today!

This report is also going to act as the launchpad for further discussions and strategy-planning that will take place as part of the Think Tank to be held at the Social Travel Summit in Ravenna, this September. If you’d like to be part of these discussions, and therefore ultimately the future of destination marketing, please do join us.


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