The fifth edition of the Social Travel Summit was held from the 24th till 26th September 2018 in Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom. This year, 140 delegates from 20 countries – including 47 influencers – converged in Belfast to learn, network and share their knowledge. Lots of buzz was created around the event – #STSBelfast was a number one Twitter trending topic in the UK for both days of the Summit! – so here is a summary of the highlights in a 3-minute video. Scroll down further for an overview of all the sessions and experiences the delegates enjoyed in Belfast.
This year’s destination partners, VisitBritain and Tourism Northern Ireland, extended a warm welcome to all delegates directly upon their arrival at Belfast Airports.
The delegates arrived in Belfast on 24th September. In the afternoon, tours were offered to Lough Neagh, Larchfield Estate and Belfast city. This was the first opportunity for the influencers and the tourism industry delegates to network with one another.
In the evening, delegates were welcomed at an exciting two-part Opening Reception sponsored by Tourism Northern Ireland. The first part took place at the beautiful Great Room in The Merchant Hotel, also the venue of STS Belfast. Delegates were welcomed by Keith Jenkins, CEO of iambassador, as well as representatives of VisitBritain, Tourism Northern Ireland and The Merchant Hotel.
The second part of the Opening Reception comprised of food and street art walking tours around the vibrant Cathedral Quarter. The tours ended at The Dark Horse pub where delegates were treated to more food (including freshly-shucked oysters), drinks and entertainment.
The following day, the first conference day kicked off with registrations and an STS tradition: an opening dance!
This was followed by a brilliant opening keynote by Jason Miller (Global Content Marketing Leader, LinkedIn).
The rest of the day was filled with panel discussions, the STS Think Tank, and insightful presentations on determining and measuring outcomes by Erik van Erp and Laurel Robbins, content marketing by Ian Cleary and developing and integrating action plans for multiple channels by Dana DiTomaso.
The STS Gala Dinner is one of the many highlights of STS each year. In Belfast, the Gala Dinner was held in the impressive St. Anne’s Cathedral. Sponsored by VisitBritain and Tourism Northern Ireland, the dinner had a Game of Thrones® theme. The delegates were dressed in cloaks and specially for the evening, the original Iron Throne from the hit series was brought to the Cathedral. Delegates were treated to a three-course dinner created by Northern Ireland’s leading chef and an evening full of music and dance.
After a truly epic night at the Cathedral, the delegates continued with the conference the following day. The conference on day 2 kicked off with an opening keynote by Chris Marr (Content Marketing Academy) on strategic approaches to content marketing.
Download the STS 2018 Think Tank Report.
STS Belfast ended with a fun English garden themed party at Babel, on the rooftop of the Bullitt Hotel. Sponsored by Visit England, the party featured make-up artists, a photo booth, bespoke cocktails and lots of food.
STS Belfast was arguably the best edition yet in terms of content, speakers and events. Delegates awarded STS Belfast an overall satisfaction score of 4.8 out of 5!
A big thank you goes to the destination hosts, VisitBritain and Tourism Northern Ireland, as well as the other sponsors: Visit England, Marketing Manchester, Amadeus, Titanic Belfast, Tourism Ireland and Visit Wales.
We would also like to thank all delegates for choosing to attend STS Belfast! We hope to see you again in 2019!