Travel Marketing: Tips from Travel + Social Good's Academy Day

Late last year, I attended the Travel+SocialGood Academy Day, held at the Freemason's Masonic Hall in the bustling Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. The day was packed with back-to-back workshops led by guest speakers. Each discussed their own unique backgrounds and perspectives on the travel industry in an effort to educate and inspire us as impact-driven professionals to push the industry forward as a catalyst for positive impact.

It was really hard to determine which sessions would best to attend because they all looked so interesting! I appreciated the event's utilization of the app Bizzabo, which made it easy to make my seletions and know exactly where I needed to be (and who else was joining me). Ultimately, I settled on the lectures pertaining to marketing, specifically to gain valuable insight on how I can grow my freelance career by helping my clients grow their travel brands. Here's just a taste of what I learned (and some of what you can expect from the upcoming 2016 TSG Global Summit).

Kaitlyn Jankowski of Charity:Water shared tips on engaging a community around a cause during her Marketing with Meaning workshop. "People care about what things mean relevant to ourselves, so if you play on that and encourage people to be better or do better... they will act," shared Kaitlyn. Her advice on engaging an audience included some cautionary tales against working with influencers (know their true engagement - see the handy formula below), utilizing email marketing campaigns, and making the most out of user generated content. 

During the Travel Video: From Pitch to Post Production workshop, we learned about best practices for putting together a travel video from the team at OTPYM. One thing many new videographers forget when they're on the road is the importance of capturing good sound to accompany their video. To ensure you don't make this same mistake, Michaela's team recommended bringing a separate recording device or purchasing a micro boom for your SLR camera. This will ensure you capture the best quality sound possible, specifically when doing an interview or filming outside.

David Perez of MMYG Global explored how several different global travel brands (like American Express, Intrepid and Airbnb) tell an engaging company story to attract and retain consumers. Their stories all relate to what value they bring to their customers. In particular, these companies have developed clear messaging in their marketing around how they hold "service", "experience", and "heart" with high importance. In all, I liked how David conveyed how the human touch often trumps technology when we travel, which is a message that resonates with both consumers and media alike.

Last, Norie Quintos former Executive Editor of National Geographic Traveler covered how to get the attention of the media as a travel writer. Her tips were fairly straightforward, but most of all, I appreciated her emphasis on being a resource to your network. In particular. you should talk to specific trends in the industry when pitching your story and know the audience of the publication whose editor you are reaching out to. Most of all, be confident in your idea and your narrative which ultimately shines through as confidence in your story and your abilities to capture it.

Your email subject line is important. Try using the word "Pitch:" and then something specific describing the theme of your email so that the editor wastes no time and knows what your email is about.

At the end of the day, we made our way down the Neue House near Madison Square Park to wrap up with a celebratory drink. This members-only co-working space is like the super sophisticated version of WeWork and I was really impressed with the facility. The downstairs level is like a dark, underground library with leather couches and a small bar area that, after hours, instantly transforms into a cool lounge for private parties. To be able to relax and talk to everyone in such a comfortable setting was the perfect way end to a jam packed, high energy day.

Many thanks to Kelley and the whole Travel+SocialGood team for generously hosting me at this conference! For more information on the TSG 2016 Summit at the United Nations, you can follow TSG on Twitter and Facebook.