Revealing online marketing

Patricia Brusha (left) and Alicia Whalen.

Patricia Brusha (left) and Alicia Whalen.

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By Kristen Smith

TORONTO—A Canadian Olympian address, hula hoops, a Lay-Z Boy
lounge and a boy band were all part of this year’s Online Revealed lineup. Tourism
and hospitality experts speaking about online marketing rounded out the ninth
annual A Couple of Chicks’ conference held April 7-9 at Hilton Toronto Airport
and Suites. 

Keynote speaker Jon Montgomery, Canadian Olympic Skeleton gold medalist and
host of The Amazing Race Canada, shared his journey to the podium at the Vancouver
2010 Games and spoke of his travels across the country for the filming of the
CTV show.

“When I found out that a couple of chicks wanted to talk to
me, I was pretty pumped,” joked Montgomery, adding he was thrilled when he
found out he would be speaking with the Canadian tourism industry.

“Travelling is the best part of my post-Olympic journey,” he

John Montgomery.

John Montgomery.

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“How do you attract people to your destination?” Montgomery asked.
It’s a question operators, destination marketing organizations (DMOs) and
provincial tourism organizations ask regularly.

Montgomery didn’t purport to have the answer. He noted that
it must be tough in Canada, since there are so many wonderful attractions,
national parks and unique destinations. 

“I had a great amount of national pride, even when it wasn’t
cool to do so,” said Montgomery, who told delegates about the maple leaf he got
tattooed on his chest at the age of 17.

During his time with the Amazing Race, Montgomery has had
the chance to see more of the Great White North and his national pride has
grown still. “There is so much more than I ever expected to be proud of in this
country,” he said.

He told the audience of the first time he tried Skeleton
racing (he was hooked) and his road to the Olympics.

He spoke of self-efficacy and how important it is to
celebrate small victories while showing training videos of wipeouts at
breakneck speeds.

“In those early days, I was forced into savouring those
small victories—just getting a corner right,” he said. 

Content is still
definitely king

“The audience, these days, are the ones in control,” said
Jeff Riddall, gShift Labs.

He said SoLoMo (social-local-mobile) has changed the way
people purchase and said brands are becoming publishers.

“Mobile is the most valuable real estate because it’s in the
now,” he said, noting that more than 25 per cent of website traffic comes from
mobile devices.

“Brands are having to become content marketing experts,”
said Riddall.

Developing a strategy
and workflow

Sam Brace is a training manager for Simpleview who works
with DMOs.

He acknowledged the idiom “content is king,” but asked: “Do
you have a process for actually creating it and sustaining it?”

Brace said he thinks DMOs should be doing a lot of

“Content professionals are often overworked,” he said. “It’s
way too complex to be somebody’s sometimes job.”

He stressed there should be multiple content creators, more
accountability and less ambiguity and a content management system workflow
should be developed to maintain standards.

“Never, never create content for the sake of creating
content,” Brace advised.

More coverage of
Online Revealed will be in the May issue of Canadian Lodging News.