Revolutionary fingers are grappling the atmosphere here at Burg Kaprun in Salzburg. We are talking about the very conference hosts of the CastleCamp Kaprun (#cczk14), who enjoy their rock star band performances during the night as well as delivering innovative style format “CastleCamp sessions” during the day. Professionally speaking of course, supported by the demeanour of an oversized furry castle camp cat …
Yes, it is all a bit overwhelming to be here as a first-timer. (No, the furry cat ball actually is for real!). My first Bar Camp, then: “Elena, how come you have never been to one of our camps?!” There is always a first time in life, right? This CastleCamp in Kaprun in the Salzburgerland province rocks for its location, its content as well as its people! Never before have I witnessed such a collection of HiTech, WiFi, Mobiles, Tablets, Screens & else against the old historic background of a real, 800-year-old castle full of inspired and creative people: Tourism professionals, hotel owners, entrepreneurs, marketing & PR companies as well as “us online travel writers / new media journalists” have come to teach and learn from each other at the CastleCamp. Indeed, the format of this conference is such that all CastleCamp participants write their own conference session programme according to a majority vote of sessions put forward.
Participants make up their own conference programme based on the know-how and suggestions of individual attendees, thus coupling knowledge on offer with a demand for more information …
… as per majority vote for relevance shown in this picture delivered during one of the sessions! I really begin to like this type of informal, yet extremely relevant and useful conference style format for the benefit of all attendees.
At the entrance to the castle, you have to pass the gatekeeper … This huge furry ball of a mean-looking cat has had her (Social Media) picture taken at least a hundred times!
So what is the #cczk14 CastleCamp Kaprun all about? The topics are as widespread as are the backgrounds of participants: Social Media. Digital Photography. Twitter Analytics. And: Professional (Travel) Blogger Relations!
Right at the start, I would like to extend a word of thank you to two charming gentlemen who have really helped shaping the image of CastleCamp Kaprun in my eyes: Conference host Rainer Edlinger, of the SalzburgerLand tourism destination management company as well as “our” Austrian live Twitter reporter Günter Exel. Both have tirelessly been weaving together the threads of creativity during the sessions, brought it all to a nice conclusion, showed great moderation skills and managed to do a useful, LIVE minute report via numerous Social Media channels while still in Kaprun: Well done especially you, dear Günter!
“Dare to be different”: A perfectly suitable motto for this rather unusual tourism conference here in Austria that has been around since the year 2008.
One of the single greatest advantages of this conference format is its ability to allow for serendipity and creativity to happen, facilitating a new type of learning experience …
… that even entails Crowdfunding & Social Media, as presented by Florian Bauhuber (Tourismuszukunft) and tourism and media law expert Thomas Thaler.
A live mosaic of tweets and news straight from the CastleCamp screen. Those looking up from their smartphones for a minute will actually notice its presence – and a rather cool one, I must say!
Günter Exel talking to us about the power of Twitter Analytics to generate media reach and measurement units, which have just been released very recently.
The ambiance of this castle room also made for an entertaining and interesting workshop by professional photographer Achim Meurer on digital photoshop options through Google+ …
… as well as in realtime “exercising” in the castle courtyard during the outdoor photo workshop!
Last but not least, the CastleCamp is this, too: A meeting point of like-minded people, friends and long-term business partners and colleagues from all over. Here I am talking to Kristine Honig-Bock from Germany, an expert in all matters Social Media, Tourism, PR & blogs. What does she care about? Professional online travel writers – and developing mutually beneficial relationships for people from the industry and travel writers themselves!
Shaping “Professional Travel Blogger Relations” during our session: Check those lists. Separate the good from the bad & the ugly. Develop professional relations. Measure the quality of interaction, and establish long-term, successful business partnerships!
Yes, yes, yes! We are talking EXACTLY what we all care about strongly in our minds and in our hearts. “All of us simply want the same”, Gudrun tells us in the most sincere way possible, answering a question from the audience during our Blogger Relations session at the CastleCamp Kaprun #cczk14. How did you first meet? And also: Travel Bloggers from Austria, Quo Vadis?
Travel Bloggers present at the #cczk14: On the left with my dear colleague & friend Gudrun Krinzinger (Reisebloggerin.at) as well as Katja Wegener (Wellness-Bummler.de), Maria Kapeller (Kofferpacken.at), Angelika Mandler (WiederUnterwegs.com), Hubert Mayer (Travellerblog.eu) and Götz Primke (LeGourmand.de).
Anja Wendling (Rheinland Pfalz Tourism Board, on the right) is another dear “virtual” friend I finally meet in real life here at the CastleCamp in Kaprun, together with Katja Wegener.
Preparing our session talking about professional blogger relations in the sunny courtyard of Burg Kaprun with Maria Kapeller (Kofferpacken.at, on the left) and Kristine Honig-Bock (Tourimark.com).
So what is our session talking about professional “Blogger Relations” at the CastleCamp #cczk14 all about then? My colleague Maria Kapeller has provided her first clues on how to build bridges between the tourism industry as well as professional online travel writing: Thank you for your interesting contribution, dear Maria!
“Stepping up” as online travel writers / bloggers present at the CastleCamp in Kaprun are Maria Kapeller, Angelika Mandler, Gudrun Krinzinger as well as myself, supported by Kristine Honig-Bock & Günter Exel thanks to their many years of experience in journalism, Social Media, Marketing & PR. Talking, engaging and sharing with our audience, we learn about the desire for a kind of checklist for professional travel blogger relations between the tourism industry and online travel writers. It is therefore that I have tried to write up my summary in the form of such a list (please do not hesitate to keep adding your comments and suggestions!):
- Check the lingo especially in terms of common grounds: Messages of both travel writers, journalists and bloggers, or people from the industry that start with “I want …!” and “What do I get for …?” are somewhat critical, to say the least. Professional relations start where I really care to ask for a mutually beneficial agreement, one that will benefit both parties and also taking the time to enter into such negotiations. Another important point I have learnt over the years is to really try and UNDERSTAND your partner: Where does he/she come from? What are their references, circumstances, policies, which are the words they are familiar with, and are we speaking the same language in this situation and negotiation?
- Encourage authenticity & building trust. All of us online travel writers will always represent each other as an industry: What and how we choose to communicate online and offline shapes our image and the opinion of others about us – for better or for worse. This is an issue we have to address by “targeted action” to shed a positive light on our industry, for example by organizing professional bloggers’ networks, checking each other for certain quality criteria as well as addressing the so-called Reiseblogger-Kodex about transparency, ethics & quality in online travel writing.
- Taking it serious & being open about it. As with every relationship, you simply have to talk to each other. Professional travel bloggers actually “walk the talk”: We publish our media kit as well as our mission statement on our blogs and put forward best practice examples of how we network successfully with the tourism & PR industry by revealing quantitative & qualitative units of measurement. We address our partners in their language and adjust to their individual needs and requirements. At the end of the day, it is … “a business relationship where information should range ahead of all emotions, with bloggers confident about their credibility, trust, and ability to address target audiences and showcase individual, creative strengths.”
Many more arguments & important messages vouching for a professional relation between travel bloggers & tourism are contained in the following articles:
Thank you so much everyone for investing their energy into building this new and exciting field of the online travel writing business and finding solutions together! I am so PROUD of us, and HAPPY to work with you !!!
And this is what our “work” also looks like: Getting ready brainstorming for our session at the #cczk14 CastleCamp in Kaprun.
A beautiful moment in life: Sense of achievement, answering questions, fostering mutual respect, encouraging dialogue & openness, avoiding misunderstandings and … creating enthusiasm! And all of this surrounded by my dear friends and colleagues, it makes me HAPPY! From left to right: Günter Exel, Kristine Honig-Bock, Maria Kapeller, Angelika Mandler, Gudrun Krinzinger & myself! Thank you all !!
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