THE Highlands is to become the social media spotlight later this year.
More than 40 of the world’s top travel bloggers and social media influencers converge on the city for a two-day social media summit focused on travel.
It is the first time that the Social Travel Summit, which VisitBritain is this year sponsoring to promote Britain internationally, has been held in Britain and it will see some of the world’s leading travel bloggers sharing the latest trends and insights with delegates about how digital marketing is influencing travel.
As well as keynote speakers, the two day summit includes workshops, panel and roundtable discussions.
As part of the summit, which is being organised by travel influencer network iambassador, the travel bloggers will be undertaking tours across Britain to showcase the depth and variety of travel products on offer.
Individual itineraries are being planned with destination partners to promote all of Britain’s nations and regions to an international audience.
Figures from the Social Travel Summit held in Hamburg last year show that more than 500 images and blog posts were created during the summit and shared globally, reaching an estimated four million people.
Head of International Media & Destination PR for VisitBritain Paul Gauger said: “Not only will delegates have the chance to benefit from the expertise of the world’s top travel bloggers and use this knowledge and insight to help promote their own businesses and local destinations, the post summit tours will see Britain in the international spotlight as bloggers sharing their content globally, ultimately inspiring more visitors to travel here and explore all our nations and regions.”
iambassador Chief Executive Keith Jenkins said: “We’re very excited to bring the Social Travel Summit to Scotland in 2016.
“The summit is fast becoming a key date in the international travel industry’s calendar in helping to shape digital travel and influencer marketing practices by bringing together key influencers and industry decision-makers for two days of learning, brainstorming and networking.”
VisitInvernessLochNess Chief Executive Graeme Ambrose said: “VisitInvernessLochNess is delighted that VisitBritain has managed to bring the Social Travel Summit not only to Scotland, but to Inverness.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the destination as well as hear from, and tap in to, the expertise and knowledge of influential bloggers from across the world.”
Research by VisitBritain - the role of social media in the context of holidays - has shown the powerful influence social media has in positioning Britain as a destination of choice for international visitors, offering unparalleled opportunities to engage directly with potential visitors in a timely way, with the right messages, demonstrating an understanding of their world and motivations for travel.
That’s one of the reasons why VisitBritain’s largest campaign for 2016 - the GREAT Britain ‘Home of Amazing Moments’ campaign (#OMGB) has a strong digital focus to promote memorable moments visitors can only experience on a trip to Britain.
It aims to show people the experiences, culture and countryside available across Britain to inspire them to want to be part of it, and book a trip to come and discover their own amazing moments. It invites people to share their amazing moments using the hashtag #OMGB, which will also be used by the travel bloggers attending the summit.
Encouraging visitors to share their own holiday experiences online is already a key way that VisitBritain is inspiring more people to come to Britain.
The national tourism agency is a frontrunner in the digital space, ranking first among key competitors in number of Twitter followers (300k) and third for Facebook fans (3 million) and Weibo followers (510,000).
Both campaigns tie in well with another key finding of VisitBritain’s research which shows that people are most eager to share their own content if there is a high chance it will be recognised and promoted.
UK travel and tourism businesses including tour operators, DMOs and digital marketers or any travel industry representatives interested in attending the Social Travel Summit, which takes place from 20-21 September 2016 in Inverness, can find out more at http://thesocialtravelsummit.com
Tourism is Britain’s seventh largest export industry and third largest service sector. The industry is also a major job creator, for example every 22 additional Chinese visitors that come to Britain create an additional job in the sector.
Inbound tourism is worth more than £26 billion to the UK economy.