Wow. Just wow! I knew I was going to come away with some good info when I registered for Kay Walten's Social Media Boot Camp for Tourism but after reviewing more than 10 pages of notes I am seriously appreciating the value of the information she is sharing with us.

For those of you who don't know her, Kay Walten and her husband Gary came to the Riviera Maya way back in the late 1980's, when the area of pristine beaches and jungle south of Cancun was referred to, unceremoniously, as the Cancun-Tulum corridor. It's a good thing some bright DMO (Destination Marketing Organization) came up with a more elegant name, dubbing it the Riviera Maya and hereafter making our marketing efforts infinitely easier. Gary and Kay began their life in this new, virtually undiscovered area leading tours of cave divers through the mystical cenotes that are now so famous in this region. To supplement their income and to provide added value to their guests, they began offering vacation rentals to their groups and in 1996, LocoGringo was officially born!

As tourism to the Riviera Maya became more and more popular, so too increased the demand for rental properties. Soon, this became their primary focus and LocoGringo became an industry leader in online vacation rentals. Overwhelmed with the hundreds of questions they would receive about travel to this area, they created the LG Forums, a message board drawing on the individual and collective experiences of people who had previously visited the Riviera Maya. This very early foray into what we now call "social media" helped them to grow their company and their reputation astronomically. In 2007, LocoGringo officially merged with Akumal Vacations and by 2010 was ranked #20 in the "Top 50 Social Media Influencers in the Travel Industry" with Kay herself named the "Leading Micro-blogger for the Riviera Maya". Who better to lead the first conference on destination marketing and social media for Cancun and the Riviera Maya?!

Kay Walten Consulting
Seminar leader Kay Walten

My husband will tell you...rolling his eyes...that I am a seminar/workshop junkie.

I'm the first one clamoring to reserve my spot.
I always want to sit up front.
I take copious notes.
I always have follow up questions.
I want to discuss everything I've learned afterward.
I am dork.

He would like me to believe that I am alone in my dork-dom, that no one else shares my need to learn MORE and that my weekend mornings might be better spent bringing him breakfast in bed. Yet, every time I sign up for a "webinar" or attend a "tweet up" or a conference such as this one, I am able to implement some new marketing strategy and he sees a bump in his leads. He may not fully understand "return on engagement" but I know he sees the value in this sharing of information when it leads ultimately to new customers and more real estate sales.

So, I'm a dork. I don't really see him complaining. ;)

Kay covered a lot of ground today in Day 1 of the Social Media Boot Camp for Tourism: the history of social media, the various popular platforms and how to best utilize them, what to do and what NOT to do on Facebook, Twitter etc...  As I mentioned, I have 10 pages of notes to go through and organize. As I looked around the room, it was nice to see so many faces I already knew from their blogs, Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. Some, I had met before at other networking events. Some will become new friends thus extending our respective spheres of influence. In my estimation, the investment in my time (and BuyPlaya's money) will be well worth it!

If you didn't get in on this seminar, the first of what I hope will be many similar events from Kay Walten Consulting, I would strongly recommend you make the effort to attend the next. I will look forward to meeting you then.

I'll be the one sitting in the front row with my hand raised.

 

Social Media for Tourism

Social Media for Tourism 

Kay Walten Consulting 

Kay Walten Consulting 

Social Media Boot Camp

Social Media Marketing Seminar 

Social Media Boot Camp

Kay Walten Consulting

Social Media Boot Camp 

If you are interested in social media and interested in tourism don't miss Kay Walten's upcoming webinar series. It is reasonable priced and includes a line-up of great speakers and instructors. You can sign up right HERE.