WTTC 2015: 'You're wasting money', social media 'guru' tells industry leaders

WTTC 2015: 'You're wasting money', social media 'guru' tells industry leaders

Corporate America does not understand Facebook and most travel marketing wastes money.

That is the view of Gary Vaynerchuk, co-founder of social media consultancy VaynerMedia, who told the WTTC Summit: "The stuff you think is coming is happening now."

Delivering the keynote address in a session on social media, Vaynerchuk said: "Social media is the slang term for the current state of the internet.

"We're living through the single biggest culture shift since the printing press.

"There are people in this room who think marketing is about romance or placing print advertising because they have always done it."

Vaynerchuk said: "The number-one thing you need is attention, and attention in 2015 is shifting.

"It is not on page 137 of the magazine you think has the correct demographic or the banner ad on a website. It is not in video form in a pre-roll on YouTube.

"Regardless of what business you are in, you are in the media business. You need to put up content that is compelling. Social media is the plumbing that allows you to do that."

He added: "The number-one asset right now is time. Uber does not sell transportation. It sells time - you know when the car is coming. When you are advertising you take time away."

Vaynerchuk said: "Facebook's ad product right now has the ability to target the right person perfectly.

"I don't think there is a real understanding in corporate America of the ability of Facebook to target. It's so scarily effective."

He told the Summit: "The biggest problem in this room is your budgets are too big. You're wasting money."

Vaynerchuk added: "The reason I'm ranting is I know 99% of you are not going to do anything about it."

Orbitz Worldwide president and chief executive Barney Harford said: "What is most important for us is structured social content - the user review.

"When you didn't know what you were getting, brands were important. But now customers have so much voice. A customer is not going to book a hotel if it does not have reviews."

Harford agreed on the importance of original content, saying: "It is a powerful way to engage consumers."

But he said transactions are not coming via social media: "At this stage, social media is not working with the business we have. It's a small part of our business."

Harford added: "Mobile is the biggest shift we're seeing. It is more than 60% of same-day transactions. It's going to be more than half of all transactions."

Deloitte global travel, hospitality and leisure lead Adam Weissenberg said: "The industry is trying to change. But there is probably too much studying going on and not enough doing."

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