5 Take Aways from Canada-e-Connect

Last week I had the pleasure of joining a good number of our Canadian peers at Canada-e-Connect in Toronto.  While my primary purpose was speaking and moderating, I was looking forward to absorbing the Canadian perspective on digital…social, mobile, squirrels, etc.

Luckily the conference did not disappoint (kudos Emmanuelle, Joel and TIAC)…without hesitation, one of the top two digital tourism conferences I have attended.

And what did I bring back for our state-side friends?  5 key tips, trends and tactics discussed at #CeC2011.

5 Take Aways from Canada-e-Connect

1. Story is now more important than the medium.
I said this to a few friends at the conference.  A year ago, everyone would have been talking about the medium first…Facebook, Twitter…but not this year.  There was a sharp focus, my storytelling session included, on the need to tell a cohesive and sharable brand story regardless of medium or device.

2. Social and mobile are here to stay.
Again, unlike other tourism / tech conferences I have attended in the past 18 months, not a single person asked me if I thought investing in social media marketing or mobile marketing was a smart strategic move.  We are all still trying to figure out the measurement techniques, but destinations, hotels and attractions have accepted the fact that social and mobile are here to stay.

3. Experimentation is critical for social success.
I was very impressed at the perspective and approach that the majority of my #CeC2011 peers were taking in terms of social media marketing.  There was a true sense of experimentation with social media marketing tactics.  All too often I see potentially great ideas pushed aside due to a lack of metrics, data or case studies.  I love data as much as the next guy, but when you are pioneering a new marketing strategy, it can be difficult to find a case study on it.

I love the approach from Tourism Toronto: We started a social campaign in 2010.  It was good, but we learned what to change in 2011.  We are running another social campaign in 2011.

I am paraphrasing, but you get the idea.

Their approach to social media marketing is not one and done…they are building on it, benchmarking and moving forward.


4. Geosocial is both intriguing and troubling.
The session on geosocial was very good (kudos Jim), but at the same time, there was a sense of unease with product.  First, we were lucky enough to have Andy from Gowalla (@andyellwood) and Lynn from Tourism Montreal speak on the subject.  Love Gowalla’s approach and philosophy on social and geosocial… completely won my loyalty from foursquare.   Plus, the real-world perspective from Lynn was perfect.

That said, geosocial still feels a bit niche…perhaps in a good way.

Almost as if it is right on the tipping point of wildly successful or misunderstood social service (see podcasting).

Personally, I hope the answer is wildly successful…but I am still not sure.

5. Noiz Analytics is the most impressive tech I have seen in 5 years.

Very impressed with the technology and methodology from the Noiz team.  Happy I took the time to walk the show floor.

More on Noiz in a couple upcoming posts, but for now you can watch the teaser video.

Comment? @travel2dot0 or email.