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This week I was delighted to be invited to speak at the Visit the Malverns Tourism Forum.  The forum meets twice a year and enables local travel and tourism businesses to get together, network and find out what’s happening locally.The first speaker was Ken Nottage the CEO of Three Counties Showground who outlined the past, present and future plans for the showground.  Who knew they host more than 250 events each year and over 1 million visitors?  Their plans are both exciting and aspirational.

Next Simon Smith and Victoria Carmen from Malvern Hills District Council updated delegates on the Visitor Economy Action Plan and asked for local businesses to send through events and press releases to be included on their website.

This was followed by Bridget Robinson of HOW College, who spoke passionately about how we can inspire young people into the hospitality and tourism industry.  She shared her own story from selling ice cream in the interval at her local cinema aged 12 to working for Forte Hotels and now she is the Curriculum Resource Quality Leader at Heart of Worcestershire College.  She even, very bravely mentioned Brexit and the impact it may have on the numbers employed in travel and tourism across the UK.  Bridget is eager to work with local companies in any capacity.

Liam Keelan described the services that the Expedia Group can offer to their partners, from reaching a diverse, global audience to optimise the strategy to fill rooms and thereby increase revenue.

Liam outlined a four-stage customer journey from discovering a location to ‘shop and book’, experience the holiday and reflect afterwards.  This mirrored by own thoughts that different types of social media posts can support the customer journey through the pre-purchase/research phase, the pre-arrival/planning stage, during their stay and post-visit.

In my presentation I discussed how we can discover which social media platforms we should be on, as we can’t be everywhere, and how we could use Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for different types of customer interaction.  We looked at the social media profiles of a restaurant with rooms in Somerset to see what we could learn from them. (hint: it’s not just about the number of followers) and the types of post we can use to gain engagement and start conversations.  Are you ready to harness the power of social media in your travel and tourism business?

If so, why not book onto a three-hour workshop specifically created for your industry?  We will look at how you can grow your social media presence and decrease your reliance on third party booking agents. I’ll help you to get confident in how, where, when and how…

The session will be practical and hands-on.  There will be plenty of time to ask questions, enjoy coffee/tea with unlimited cake!

You’ll get a printed handbook to refer back to plus weekly check-ins with me to see how your plan is progressing, access to a closed Facebook group for peer-to-peer support and a follow up group session in May 2019.

The workshop has been subsidised by Malvern Hills District Council and so it’s available for only £75 per person (reduced from £149) Spaces are limited so please book here or contact me if you have any questions, I’m here to help!

At the end of the afternoon after a Q&A session, we chatted and networked and discussed colourful shoes(!) whilst  enjoying wonderful cake, which was a fabulous bonus!