Fork in the road (courtesy i yudai at Flickr CC)Decisions, decisions….

Budgets are tight these days (Washington State’s tourism organization was completely disbanded this month) and yet there is a wealth of great content ready to be absorbed and connections to be made during the fall conference season.

How to decide who from the office goes where and how much money to spend? This is especially important for social media and tech events, because the ground is shifting rapidly and you don’t want to learn the wrong thing from knuckleheads.

I offered some thoughts and ideas in a guest post on the BlogWorld blog, “RoundUp of Fall Tourism Tech Conferences,” and it’s a tribute to the BlogWorld organization that they weren’t at all balky about letting me talk up competing conferences on their website. They’re a class act; they know that there is plenty of opportunity to go around in the not-so-new landscape of “new media,” social communication and technology.

Here is my advice in a nutshell….and please keep in mind that I’m a track leader at BlogWorld and speaking at both SoMeT and eTourism Summit, so I want all of them to succeed….

When is BlogWorld best?

If you want maximum opportunity to connect with a wide variety of bloggers and other online publishers, plus attend focused educational panels and hear industry speakers on social media for tourism and hospitality, then the Tourism track at BlogWorld and New Media Expo West in Los Angeles, CA November 3-5, 2011 is your best bet.

—-> Who should go? BlogWorld is perfect for your staff networking/schmoozing fiend who is also getting really good at social media (or who wants to get to that level.)

Don’t forget – super early bird discount pricing (50% off) ends on Thursday, July 21, 2011 – and you can use code TC20 to knock 20% off of any pass right up until the conference closes online registration in November.

Go here to read up on the Tourism track and register.

When is SoMeT best?

If you want to mix it up with tech- and social media-savvy tourism peers at a small conference of the very geekiest CVBs, DMOs and Tourist Boards, then the Symposium on Social Media in Tourism (SoMeT) in Tunica, MS November 9-12, 2011 would work for you.

This is where your communications person goes who is WAY ahead of the rest of the office, and who needs to stay at his or her “A” game for the benefit of your destination.

—-> Who should go?  SoMeT is great for your geekiest staffer who was on Foursquare and slinging QR codes months before anyone else.

When is eTourism Summit best?

If you’re looking for high-level discussions of travel and tourism technology as a whole, consider the eTourism Summit in San Francisco, CA September 29-30, 2011.

Lots of strategy and integration discussions, with a bit more of an international flavor than the others, looking at technology beyond social media.

—->  Who should go? eTourism Summit is a good idea for your Director who is trying to keep that 30,000 foot, integrated marketing view amongst insanely rapid tech and social media changes.

I know that a lot of conferences and events compete for attention and dollars, so I hope this helps your decision-making process.

Any other suggestions? Fire away down in the comments!

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