Travelers are increasingly using social networking and peer review websites when organizing their vacations — something businesses should consider, said a speaker at Tuesday’s 2014 Tahoe Tourism Forum.
Several important issues expected to affect tourism and hospitality industries were discussed at the annual meeting, this time held at Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel.
Michael Thomas, a partner with Noble Studios, presented five technology trends that will impact travel in the coming months. Among them was the finding that people will increasingly design visual itineraries when going on vacation by using image-based websites, such as Pinterest and Instagram.
They also will travel to destinations known for their food and increasingly stay in homes instead of hotels, Thomas said. Hotels, on the other hand, will become more photogenic — due in part to online image sharing — and offer office spaces for guests with business needs.
“It’s a weird world that we live in,” Thomas said. “Advertising is changing very, very dramatically.”
The two-hour tourism forum, hosted by TahoeChamber and the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority, focused on educating the business community about developing trends and the tools that could help businesses thrive. According to organizers, more than 70 people showed up to the event.
Some topics touched on at the forum included the chamber’s trek to Park City, Utah, the construction expected to impact the area this summer and the latest marketing campaign for Tahoe South.
Eric Dunn, of Duncan/Channon, led the presentation on Tahoe South and this year’s strategy.
“This year, for example, we’re trying to have a little more fun playing with the notion of summer versus winter because we think there’s a lot of energy we can tap into from just that pent-up, natural, human desire to compete against one another,” Dunn said.
Other components of the strategy include refreshing the Tahoe South brand, showcasing a wide range of activities and events, engaging vacationers with the area’s seasonal appeal and driving traffic to TahoeSouth.com.
“We wanted to broaden who we compete against and broaden who the brand competes against, so we can grab even more people and just encourage them to come up here and experience all they possibly can,” Dunn said.
TahoeChamber President Betty “B” Gorman and LTVA Executive Director Carol Chaplin led the discussion on the Park City trip, which occurred earlier this month to get a better understanding of how another mountain town handles its operations.
They then informed forum guests on the many construction projects planned around the South Shore, including the Harrison Avenue and Kingsbury Grade projects.
“I think it indicates that there is some confidence returning to the economy, and there is some confidence in our community,” Gorman said of the developments.
More information about the event can be found online at www.tahoechamber.org and www.ltva.org.