Even with tourism being one of its main industries; Belize is still relatively unknown internationally, with people still asking the question “Where is Belize?” But the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) feels that the country has more potential of exploding in the global market. With this in mind, it hosted the 2012 Marketing Summit on Thursday, August 23, 2012, at the Princess Hotel and Casino.
The one day event drew over 200 sales, marketing and public relations personnel, managers, bankers, tour operators, artisans, media, students and individuals, all eager and ready to learn about marketing and public relations from internationally renowned trainer/speaker, Mr. David Meerman Scott.
Mr. David Meerman Scott at the BTIA Marketing Summit 2012
The highlight of the Summit was the Marketing Masterclass presentation by David Meerman Scott, one the world’s most influential marketers and author of the international bestseller, The New Rules of Marketing & PR, which has been published in 26 languages.
Mr. Scott’s presentations included information on Content Marketing, Real-time Marketing and PR and Social Media. Each segment saw unique video presentations and real life examples of how to market businesses effectively and how innovative public relations ties in to getting people to "buy" into your products and services.
Audience participation was also crucial as many questions were being asked by Mr. David, to aid in arriving at conclusions that many Belizean companies have similar to those internationally; many companies are not utilizing their resources and personnel effectively enough, to attract the various customers they try to on a daily basis.
Adding to Mr. Scott’s presentations, groups of panelists and moderators which included resort owners, marketers, photographers, telemarketers, strategists, bloggers and TV anchors, aided in these segments in holding discussions about the topics and answering questions from the floor.
Whether they were using a laptop, tablet or smart-phone, participants made use of their access to the web to interact with each other and members of the discussion groups. This activity in itself was such a great success, that those posting on Twitter using the #belizemarketingsummit hash-tag, achieved a feat that has probably been unheard of in Belize; 518 tweets generated 1,225,179 impressions, reaching an audience of 138,500 followers throughout the day; a remarkable accomplishment.
The BTIA organized one of the single most important summits that have ever been held in the country. It was an excellent venue for the participants to obtain invaluable knowledge which will help them drive their businesses to success. Having someone as influential and knowledgeable as Mr. David Meerman Scott address the summit surely gave Belizeans a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn from one of the best in the industry.
"It wasn’t so long ago that successful marketing, at least on a global scale, depended on a large budget and usually the services of a professional agency with contacts and industry networks. Your branding success was generally tied to how much you could spend,” commented panellist and Chaa Creek owner Lucy Fleming.
“But, as many people learned during the marketing summit, global communications and social media have changed that forever and now the creative smaller operator with a great product can go up against the big guys and be competitive. It’s a very exciting time,” Ms Fleming said.
President of the BTIA Mr. James Scott, assured everyone that they would learn very informative, valuable and relevant information for use in today's ever changing global and social markets.
“As social media continues to heavily influence how travelers choose their vacation destinations and specific booking options, the country of Belize is quick to recognize that perhaps they are not maximizing online marketing opportunities,” commented freelance travel/food writer Erin de Santiago on the examiner.com, who was also a participating panelist at the summit.
The response from participants was a very positive one with many asking for more sessions and in-depth workshops, something that is already going into discussion by the BTIA; already plans are being discussed for a second Marking Summit in 2013.
For more information on the BTIA's Marketing Summit and other upcoming events, please feel free to contact Executive Director, Efren Perez at 227-1144 or email [email protected]
BTIA President Jim Scott presents Mr. David Meerman Scott with a token of appreciation from Belize
Panelist & Freelance Travel Writer Erin de Santiago with BTIA Executive Director Efren Perez and Ambergris Today's Editor Dorian Nuñez