HSMAI Digital Marketing Conference Recap

Allow me to preface this digital marketing post with an unabashed apology for the six-week delay on the publishing of this recap, as the summary that follows relates to a conference I attended at the end of February. That said, the sentiment and content affirmed here are both still very much relevant.

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While I certainly have an HSMAI bias and am quite enamored with the organization, I can resolutely state that this February’s 2012 HSMAI Digital Marketing Conference was THE best one-day conference relating to hospitality marketing that I have ever attended.  The high-level conference – which took place the day after the HSMAI Adrian Awards at the Marriott Marquis in New York City – was tailor-made for engaged hospitality sales, marketing, e-commerce, revenue management and technology-savvy professionals looking to expand their working knowledge of this highly dynamic space.

The conference kicked off with an exceptional keynote delivery from Jason Harper, VP of Analytics & Marketing Intelligence at Organic, on Attribution & Analytics: How Do I Know If It Works for Me? A plethora of very advanced and insightful practices, techniques and tips were shared during this opening session, including a very targeted discussion debunking the common practice of equally weighing last click touch point in the purchase path.

The keynote surely set the right tone for the event, as the topics that followed covered – from varying perspectives – all reaffirmed that there’s a huge opportunity to get augmented digital marketing results. Next, Cindy Estis Green and conference moderator Bill Carroll led a rapid-fire panel discussion focusing of the key findings from Green’s recent HSMAI publication – Attribution & Distribution: Making the Connection. Ryan Stonehouse, Global Lead, Social Sales and Strategy, Google, followed with a timely discussion on “Social Media: The measures, the means, and the ends” and offered his take on Google’s future plans for socializing their many diverse product offerings.

The afternoon session kicked off with a riveting hour of social media “speed learning” sessions, where attendees were able to engage with subject matter experts and peers to understand what social strategies are working, and in what ways. This fast paced format allowed attendees to sit in on four of eight best practice discussions, learning directly from the marketers behind the case studies.  Speed Learning case studies/topics included:

The day concluded with a series of keynotes focusing on mobile marketing – the trend identified by conference speakers and attendees alike as the “hottest” digital trend of focus for 2012.  These keynotes focused on the customer’s mobile behaviors, the property’s marketing opportunities, and the best mobile practices and pitfalls to avoid when tackling the space.

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