SoMe Tourism Symposium Uses Social Media's Facebook as Primary Tool to Plan Leading Edge Conference

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Facebook Fans are deciding the destination, educational content, and presenters at the inaugural SoMe Tourism Symposium that will be held on November 17 - 19, 2010. Over 1,200 votes have been received so far by potential symposium attendees to help select the location. By June 30, 2010 the selected location for the conference will be announced out of the 26 areas throughout the U.S. which are now in the running. Using the Facebook page as the conversation and voting platform, educational topics and speakers for the conference will also be created by potential symposium attendees.

Social Media Tourism Symposium

People who are interested in the SoMe Tourism Symposium can use social media – in this case, Facebook – to help decide all the aspects of the conference from the location to the educational topics presented and the presenters themselves. This is the first time that this method has been used for any travel conference held in the United States and maybe even the world.

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A new educational conference on the use of social media in the tourism industry is using social media to help plan the conference. The Symposium on the Use of Social Media in the Tourism Industry - or - SoMe Tourism Symposium will be held “somewhere” on November 17 – 19, 2010. The options for somewhere include 26 eligible locations throughout the U.S. The attendees of the symposium will help influence the location choice through a voting application on the organization’s Facebook page.

After one week of voting on Facebook, the SoMe Tourism Symposium has recorded more than 1,200 votes on where the potential attendees would like the event hosted. The 26 eligible locations throughout the U.S. following the initial RFP process include:

  •     Woodfield Chicago Northwest – Schaumburg, Illinois
  •     The Lake Erie Shores and Islands – Sandusky, Ohio
  •     Rapid City, South Dakota
  •     Knoxville, Tennessee
  •     Canton Stark County – Canton, Ohio
  •     Albuquerque, New Mexico
  •     Spokane, Washington
  •     Snohomish County – Everett, Washington
  •     Sonoma County – Santa Rosa, California
  •     St. Petersburg / Clearwater Area – St. Petersburg, Florida
  •     Newport Beach, California
  •     Portland, Oregon
  •     Greater Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  •     Orlando, Florida
  •     Naples / Marco Island – Naples, Florida
  •     Nashville, Tennessee
  •     Loudoun – Leesburg, Virginia
  •     Buffalo, New York
  •     Cheyenne, Wyoming
  •     Chicago Southland – Lansing, Illinois
  •     Chicago North Shore – Skokie, Illinois
  •     Greater Cleveland – Cleveland, Ohio
  •     Columbus, Ohio
  •     Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania
  •     Fort Myers, Florida
  •     Kissimmee, Florida

All prospective attendees from the travel, tourism and hospitality industry can vote by choosing their first, second, and third choice for where they would like the symposium to be held. Voting will end Friday, June 4, 2010 at 11:59 pm, PST. To vote, visit the “Favorite Picks” tab on the SoMe Tourism Symposium Facebook Page.

According to David Serino, aka @GammetGuy on Twitter and Social Media Tourism Symposium Founder, “People who are interested in the SoMe Tourism Symposium can use social media – in this case, Facebook – to help decide all the aspects of the conference from the location to the educational topics presented and the presenters themselves. This is the first time that this method has been used for any travel conference held in the United States and maybe even the world.”

The process began with the voting on the selection of a host city for the symposium. Over a two week period, from May 21st through June 4th, potential symposium attendees have been encouraged to submit their vote for three of their favorite destinations via the organization's Facebook page. On June 7th, the top three cities who have received the most votes will be announced on the SoMe Tourism Conference Facebook page. From there, conference planners will work directly with the three winning destinations and hotel properties to determine which one fits the needs of the conference best. They will then attempt to negotiate the best possible packages for attendees. When a contract is signed, by the end of June 2010, the host city and hotel will be announced.

Following the announcement of the host city, conference planners will post a survey on the SoMe Tourism Symposium Facebook page regarding the educational content. After the attendees define the educational topics of interest, an official call for presenters will take place. The audience gets to use Facebook again to help decide who will be the conference presenters, using a similar selection process through a public vote.

More updates will follow via the Facebook Page, the Twitter stream and via the hash tag #SoMeT on Twitter.

Social Media Tourism Symposium Founder David Serino is the President and Founder of Gammet Interactive, a Pinckney, Michigan-based marketing technology advisory firm serving the travel, tourism and hospitality industries. Social media applications and strategy assistance is being provided by Sparkloft, a Portland, Oregon based social media company.

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