Experts in the trenches should be conference speakers

Caroline Bean from Visit Philly and Bill Karz from LA, Inc show off their BlogWorld / New Media Expo session sign (photo by Sheila Scarborough)
Caroline Bean from Visit Philly [Philadelphia] and Bill Karz from LA, Inc. [Los Angeles] show off their BlogWorld / New Media Expo session sign (photo by Sheila Scarborough)
Take a look at the speaker line-up for almost any tourism conference.

How many of them are working staff members at a Tourist Board, CVB (Convention and Visitors Bureau) or other destination marketing organization, and how many of the people who are presenting information are vendors TO the tourism industry?

I know; it’s kinda crazy to call attention to this since I am a vendor myself with Tourism Currents and do a lot of speaking in that role, but I have to tell you, I love to see presentations by people OTHER than vendors like me. It is a sign of a healthy, confident community.

Yes, OK, I know some useful information and I certainly love to teach it to others, but I will never have the same sort of credibility as a full-time CVB/DMO/hotel staff person who is down in the trenches doing the work every day.

Full-time tourism practitioners should be heard from at industry conferences a lot more often, but sometimes they are so busy “doing the work” that they don’t know about opportunities to speak.

Here is one event that they shouldn’t miss ….

The call for speakers is open right now for SoMeT (Symposium on Social Media in Tourism) in Huntsville, Alabama this November. The doors are open for imaginative proposals until May 24, 2013.

Sure, I’m going to pitch a presentation idea myself, but if I’m bumped for a speaker from a DMO, I won’t pout too much. Their voices need to be heard!

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3 Responses to Experts in the trenches should be conference speakers

  1. Deb Brown says:

    Sheila –
    I’d love to present – I have plenty of white case studies, online marketing programs that have worked and on the ground information as well.

    But here’s the thing — my Chamber budget does not include travel for 4 days to Alabama (flight, hotel, conference fees). I’d be hard pressed to know any chamber/DMO that does.

    Any ideas on an endaround for that?

    Deb

  2. Sheila says:

    Thanks for your comment, Deb.

    When I last spoke at SoMeT, they covered speaker travel expenses (which, frankly, I think any conference should do at a minimum.)

    There’s your endaround. 🙂

  3. Deb Brown says:

    Yup — working on a proposal then!

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