Ministers of Tourism and private sector leaders meeting at the 9th UNWTO & World Travel Market (WTM) Ministers’ Summit agreed that destination branding and the way tourism marketing organizations operate need to be adapted to the changes brought in by social media.
Over 60 tourism ministers and leaders from Facebook, Expedia, Melia Hotels, Eurostar and the World Travel and Tourism Council meeting in London discussed how market changes and consumer empowerment has fully shifted destination branding. Participants recalled that the current social media landscape requires destinations to invest further in understanding and engaging travellers in social media.
The Summit, moderated by CNN International’s Richard Quest, addressed issues such the need for transparent, honest and swift action in social media in times of crisis, how to generate engagement with travelers and locals and transform them into destination ambassadors and how to maximize big data to develop targeted marketing.
Opening the Summit, UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, underscored that “Today consumers have access to more information, more choices, and more opportunities to voice their opinions and can be the whistle-blowers for unethical practices or the biggest ambassadors for destinations and service providers. In this context, branding is an ever more complex challenge requiring destinations and companies to adjust their structures, their policies and their strategies“.