Facebook, Twitter and other social media can make a huge difference in drawing people to destinations, and United States Virgin Islands (USVI) hoteliers are about to get expert advice on how to take advantage of the phenomenon.
Social media expert Leon Thomas of Choice Hotels International will guide U.S. Virgin Islands hoteliers through these social media applications to generate greater marketing exposure at the Second Annual Small Hotels Conference produced by the USVI Department of Tourism.
Thomas, a Choice University senior trainer and specialist in social media marketing for hotels, will address hoteliers from St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix.
In a rapidly changing global marketplace, the Department of Tourism wants to ensure hotels in the Territory have access to information, marketing, technical support and skills needed to stay competitive.
The two-day conference, to be held on September 21 at the Windward Passage Hotel on St. Thomas and on September 22 at The Buccaneer Hotel on St. Croix, will offer six parallel seminars each day to present small hotels with important marketing techniques and operational information to help enhance their businesses.
Thomas will instruct hoteliers how to use Facebook, Twitter and other social media to increase business and build customer loyalty.
He will review current social media user demographics, discuss realistic social media expectations, what is necessary to be successful at social media, the importance of conversations and how to use social media as sales and customer service tools.
“We are pleased to offer the expert resources of our Choice University team to the U.S. Virgin Islands travel and tourism community,” said Jose Salvador Icaza, director of emerging markets and Caribbean franchise development for Choice Hotels. He said the USVI represented a key Caribbean market for the Choice Hotels International upscale Ascend Collection membership program, and his Caribbean team was currently in talks with private sector players in the Territory.
Choice University is dedicated to providing an interactive and continuous learning environment consisting of educational resources, in class and online training, professional development opportunities and performance solutions with the purpose of improving financial success.
“Supporting our destination’s small hotels with marketing and training is an important part of our strategy to enhance our tourism product and assist local businesses,” said U.S. Virgin Islands Tourism Commissioner Beverly Nicholson-Doty, who expressed her gratitude to Choice for approving Thomas’ participation in the conference.