Conference Review (via Twitter): TravelCom 2010

The yearly, techie travel-fest that is TravelCom occurred last week in Dallas and while we were not in attendance, we did have the opportunity to follow along via the 21st century wonder of Twitter.

By most accounts, it appears that this year’s conference was (surprisingly) quite good.  We have certainly been critical of the redundant and often rudimentary nature of past events, but in reading the comments, most attendees seemed pleased.  Or perhaps they just really like the Kodak guy.

Either way, we felt a quick look at the highlights via Twitter was in order.  The good, the bad and the funny.

stephenjoyce Thank you @jeffhayzlett for reminding everyone at #travelcom that we don’t sell travel, we sell memories & experiences.

dsholes Jeff Hayzlett of Kodak: Prior to new Twitter strategy 42 percent of tweets about Kodak were complaints . Today 7 percent are. #Travelcom

TravelCom “Engagement is the New ROI…For us it’s about changing the brand into who we really are @kodak” -Jeffrey Hayzlett #TravelCom

hharteveldt 66% of consumers feel they can influence brands through social media #TravelCom

lanedouglas The OTA session was a 45 minute air-suck. Very disappointing compared to other sessions. #TravelCom

stephenjoyce I liked Dennis from @googletravel who said that 4 major drivers are search, video, mobile, & cloud computing. #travelcom

johninorlando Travel destinations are competing with couches & Netflix right now. (Forrester) #TravelCom

johninorlando Twitter = customer service & consumer insight. Not traffic driver. #TravelCom

johninorlando To summarize: Twitter = Customer Service, Facebook = Sweepstakes #TravelCom

shelisrael AdMob sales guy talking. “I can paralyze you with the different kinds of targeting we can do.” I’m sure. #Travelcom

shelisrael Coffer TripAdvisor works because traveler’s wat to tell a story. They don’t just share horror stories. Reviews skew heavily positive. #Travelcom

There you go, two days worth of conference summed up in about 10 tweets.

Overall, it sounds like (most of the) previous tech / travel conferences we have attended in the last 5 years.  Mobile, social, reviews, trust.  The difference this year?  More emphasis, or perhaps acceptance, on actually doing something about it.

The travel industry has been talking about these topics for awhile, but I get the sense that this is the year where talk will turn into action.  Whether we like the idea of Facebook or not, we need to respond, react and communicate with our consumers.  15 years ago, the travel industry determined the time, place and topic, now consumers are in control of those variables and expect us to respond accordingly.

Perhaps most interesting was the response around Jeff Hayzlett’s presentation.  So much acknowledgment and agreement that the industry, especially from the DMO / CVB side, needs to change and change quickly.  Rarely have I heard so many colleagues embrace the idea of ‘selling memories.’  Yet I still wonder whether the impact of this emotional ‘pep-rally’ will transfer into our strategy over the next 6 months.

We all seem to agree something needs to change.  We are all essentially selling the same basic travel ‘memory.’  So why are we fighting to stay alive without support from our industry peers?

We are fighting a war for survival with 2,000 independent soldiers…instead of one army.

Comment? @travel2dot0 or email.