5 Questions: eTourism Summit

Our conversation today is with Jake Steinman, Owner at the NAJ Group, organizer of the eTourism Summit and friend of the blog.

First, some background.  Yes, we are a sponsor of ETS this year, and yes, I will be speaking at the event.  But I think it is important to understand why we support ETS.

eTourism Summit will be in San Francisco this year.Before anyone else, Jake was the person who asked me to speak at a major conference.  The subject was blogging and next to me on the panel was Dave Sifry, only the guy who started Technorati. I am still not sure I would be conformable on a panel with Dave…even today…but Jake believed in me.  And I appreciated it.

As for conference content, I have become an unofficial curator of content for the show.  And you know what is impressive?  Each time Jake calls about ETS (which is weekly), it is never to ask how can we get more money or we need more attendees, instead his primary concern is always finding the best speaking talent for the show.

Have you heard of these guys?  What do you think about her? Is this a good session for DMOs?

Jake is always thinking about the attendee, how to make the sessions better and what people will actually learn.  I really respect and admire that quality in a conference organizer.

So, it is a pleasure to have Jake participate in the 5 questions series…whether I was speaking at ETS or not.

It will be a great show, and I hope you can attend.


5 Questions on the eTourism Summit

Give us the elevator pitch for E-Tourism Summit:

New platforms and channels continue to emerge, changing the entire ecosystem for tourism marketing. At the E-Tourism Summit, we try to provide a central venue where traditional tourism marketers can find updates on what’s new that takes their marketing to a new level. One of last year’s attendees described the Summit as the Fashion Week of interactive tourism marketing. I consider that the ultimate compliment.

How is this conference different from other tourism / tech shows such as TravelCom, SoMeT, etc?

In effect, our idea of designing a conference is like producing a magazine—one that comes to life. In this year’s issue, we’ve added “Peer-to-Peer Roundtables” facilitated by “mentors” who will enhance discussion on a variety of topics; “Steal These Ideas (we won’t press charges),” a collection of the most creative interactive marketing campaigns and ideas that can be “appropriated” by attendees; “Shine The Light,” with quick presentations by five new and emerging companies; and 15-minute private, speed-dating-style consulting sessions between experts and attendees. And because we have the good fortune of holding the this year’s event in San Francisco—it’s the epicenter of worldwide e-commerce companies—we have major representation from Facebook, Yelp!, Linked-In, Twitter, Groupon, Pandora, Google and Living Social, which have never before been at the same travel conference.

The speaking lineup is full of tech giants. What can attendees expect in terms of interaction?

Because we’ve always restricted attendance in order to create an intimacy between presenters and attendees, we’re able to structure greater interaction through 16 breakout sessions—many of which won’t have more than 50 people in them. What people don’t realize is that it takes me nearly three months to curate and court presenters.

Tell me about the Google campus visit?

It’s an optional tour of the Googleplex with a two-hour workshop covering trends in search, video and mobile channels, and there will be a lunch prepared by one of their renowned cafes. Visitors will also see a lot of beach volleyball courts, dogs and employees who look like they’re on a college campus—only younger.

Who is the ideal attendee for the E-Tourism Summit?

It’s for those who need to better understand the new channels and platforms available so they can feel comfortable invest more of their budget in interactive marketing that will take them to the next level. Also, it can help those who are about to invest in updating their websites or who are in the midst of hiring third party providers from making costly mistakes. And for recently hired marketing staff, who sometimes feel they’re facing a baptism by blowtorch, the event is a two-day immersion in travel industry interactive marketing that serves as an effective orientation…and sedative.

The eTourism Summit takes place September 29 + 30 in San Francisco. Registration details, speaker bios and a conference schedule can be found on etourismsummit.com.

Comment? @travel2dot0 or email.