Friday, April 9, 2010

Hotel Business and Social Media in Germany

I just listened to the podcast six pixels of separation while I was in the gym. David Meerman Scott who wrote the great book "The new rules of marketing and PR" said that he loved to speak at conferences in foreign countries and this is one of the things which impressed me. Every country has it's own approach to social media and that is also an interesting fact. Here in Germany we still also have very much to learn from what is happening in the United States.

The HSMA Germany hosted an interesting convention yesterday - E-Day 2010 in Munich. You will find all the tweets, albeit in German, on twitter with the hash tag #eday2010. Over 200 people from the hospitality and tourism industry had come for this conference. It was very well organized and interesting.
Due to the fact that I listen to a lot of podcasts from the U.S. some of the stuff wasn't exactly new. However the people attending were a mixture of people who are already into social media and have their twitter accounts, face book fan pages etc. and others who were just starting and trying to understand what this was all about; at least that was what I understood from talking to people and listening to the different contributions.
In any case any meeting of this kind confronts you with new input and people you get to know. One woman came to me at once because she knew me through twitter. Another interesting thing were all the tweets generated directly from this convention and retweeted by people attending and not attending this meeting.
Let me mention a few of the panels which I found interesting:
Uwe Frers who is CEO of TripsByTips and Escapio made a very interesting and animated lecture on the revolution of the media and the consequences for tourism
Daniel Sobotka from Travel Charme showed best practice examples
Stefan Niemeyer showed an example of destination marketing for the region of Mittelrhein/Loreley
I was specially interested in the possibilities for mobile applications for hospitality. Unfortunately the solutions offered by local hero haven't been really satisfactory yet.
The final discussion of several participants had also been very interesting. "What you do if you had just one hour per week to invest in social media?" - was one of the questions by anchorman Uwe Frers. Hans-Peter Schraffl of CEO webSuccess said that he would invest it in the increase of hotel reviews - a very clear and decisive answer!
My conclusion: I had several inputs which weren't new but reminded me of several things which still are to do. There were interesting people and it is always good to exchange ideas and see people in real life which you only knew virtually before. The downside was the fact that I had higher expectations. Mobile and local social media trends weren't mentioned to satisfaction and I missed an international aspect further to Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Südtirol (part of Italy but emotionally not really I think). I hope that in the future there will be a more European offer including also other countries like Italy, Spain or France. I have seen that these countries are also very active in social media like Twitter or Facebook but still too restricted to their countries and languages.

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