On Friday July 13th, the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) held its annual 4th Digital Marketing Summit at the Biltmore Plaza in Belize City. The event, themed “Performance Driven”, gave the opportunity for large companies, small businesses, and individuals alike to learn about a variety of topics within the digital aspect of sales and marketing, such as current travel trends, brand differentiation, and how to remain afloat and stay on top of the constantly shifting digital environment.
The Summit consisted of four panel categories: Online Content, Travel Trade, Social Media, and Digital Strategy and showcased prolific speakers from renowned companies such as Google, Lonely Planet, MeltWater, travAlliancemedia and regional airline company Tropic Air, to share their expertise and advice on effective ways to achieve success using online tools.
In addition, valuable travel and tourism information was disseminated which highlighted the many opportunities for Belize to aggressively promote its adventure tourism, nature, culinary diversity, and cultural immersions-- travel trends that have been quite popular for years and show no signs of wavering. One of the panel speakers, Hannah Karns from Lonely Planet, stressed the importance of emphasizing Belize as unique and differentiating it from its surrounding countries for being both a Caribbean and Latin American nation; a feature which makes way for a rich melting pot of cultures and ethnic groups with world class adventure and lush flora teeming with fauna.
In relation to digital marketing, one of the most important aspects presented was the value of keeping company websites updated and mobile-friendly. For instance, 2017 saw a 67% increase on mobile bookings; however, 92% of travelers will switch to another site or app if their needs are not almost immediately met. Based on research, 50% of site visitors will have a negative perception of the brand or organization if they experience a slow webpage as companies have 7 seconds to capture the audience’s attention through compelling imagery and video.
The Belize Tourism Board’s Digital Summit presented a golden opportunity for attendees to socialize, connect, and learn valuable information and trends affecting companies with an effort to foster increased sales and brand awareness. According to the BTB, “tourism digital marketers today face increased challenges and greater marketing demands than ever before. The reality is to ‘do more with less” by using new technologies available. After the Summit, the event closed off with a social cocktail reception where industry partners where able to meet with the panel of speakers and further discuss marketing strategies.