In recent years, the sharing economy has begun to transform many aspects of life. It is enabling individuals, companies and communities to re-imagine how they live, grow, connect and operate sustainably. Tourism has emerged as one of the leading sectors for growth in the sharing economy as visitors and residents share homes, cars, boats, four course meals and a whole lot else.

As the sharing economy has ballooned to attract users and providers of all ages and walks of life, it’s clear that sharing someone’s apartment or car isn’t always just about saving money. A multitude of drivers have pushed sharing to become the mainstream practice that it is today and there are many lessons that tourism destinations and businesses can learn from that as they grapple with reforming laws to keep consumers safe, and competition fair.

In the coming weeks you’ll be able to learn more as TOPOSOPHY’s experts release a groundbreaking report called The Sharing Economy in Tourism and the Hospitality Sector with lessons to be learned on all sides and many opportunities to share opinions as TOPOSOPHY plans Sharing Economy Workshops across Europe in 2015.

Here’s a sneak preview of the report. Enjoy!

Smart City Branding

Cities of the future will have to be “smarter” if they want to succeed by providing better services and quality of life to its citizens. That is the reason why they will also have to manage their brands in a smart way.

The idea of ‘smart city branding’ will be covered by international academics and practitioners in the city design and city branding fields, during the ‘Smart City Branding” Forum which will take place in Barcelona on 25 &26th of September.

Among them Best Place Institute experts will present interesting cases from around the world. Juan Carlos Belloso will explain how the image of a place (city) is built and what is the right process for creating the place brand.  ‘Re-building Citizen Confidence and Identification: The case of Athens’ will be covered in the presentation of Manolis Psarros. Whereas Mihalis Kavaratzis will help to understand what are the existing city brand tools from smart city design perspective. At the end of the conference Magdalena Florek will give a lecture about “Smart Brand Communications”.

Amongst the very interesting sessions on brand building strategies, partnerships and tools, the section of Smart Citizen Engagement, will focus on how brands need to connect with the citizens for them to be successful. Citizen identification, engagement and activation are thus key for successful city brand building.

Understanding citizen characteristics, needs and aspirations are essential when defining the appropriate city brand strategy as well as involving and engaging citizens in city brand strategy and city brand building. This section will explain that today’s successful brands need to be ‘human brands’, with some examples from corporate and commercial world and its application to city brands. It will include a review of the cases of how brand Colombia and Colombian City Brands have been successfully built by engaging its citizens with the place transformation and branding process as well as the recent case of Athens on how to engage citizens in city branding and tourism promotion in difficult times.

The ‘Smart City Branding’ course is organized by by the CUIMPB (The Menéndez Pelayo International University Consortium of Barcelona – Centre Ernest Lluch), a University consortium composed of the Menéndez Pelayo International University (UIMP), the Barcelona Provincial Council, and the Barcelona Center for Contemporary Culture – CCCB), with the support of the Barcelona City Council.

More info and full


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Developing a Social Media Strategy for Tourism Destinations

Slovenia Social Media Marketing Strategy  2011-2012

In 2011, TEAM Tourism Consulting prepared the ‘Slovenia Social Media Marketing Strategy for 2012’ for the Slovenian Tourist Board (STB).

STB, responsible for the planning and implementation of promotional activities for Slovenia, is one of the national tourist boards which have not only been successfully following the latest developments in digital tourism but also been proactive in using them to fully engage their customers and their partners. The Board’s established online presence included successful initiatives such as a series of Facebook Campaigns for key markets, which resulted in high awareness, sales turnover and partner satisfaction. Another progressive initiative as far as the social media approach by tourism destinations was concerned was the joint social media platform named DiscoverSlovenia.

Project Overview

In 2011, STB decided to commission the preparation of the strategy order to take its marketing activity to the next level, broadening the range of channels through which the Slovenian tourism product could be accessed and exceed the expectations of today’s online travel consumer, aiming to become a benchmark for European National Tourism Organisations.

In the light of the latest developments in the social media arena, the goal was to

  • raise awareness of Slovenia as a tourism destination online and support the brand,
  • increase the visitation numbers in its social media channels and website and digital communication while,
  • forge a unified, coordinated and practical social media marketing and management model to guide the entire organization through the latest digital developments.

Considering the growing popularity, variety and use of social media channels and given the challenging funding environment most of DMOs are facing, it is necessary to prioritize different areas of digital marketing, including social media channels, and have a well-planned, well executed and results oriented investment plan.

Integration of digital and traditional media is a key goal for a successful destination marketing strategy, says Manolis Psarros, TEAM Associate & Project Leader/ abouTourism Managing Director. “In regards to the Social Media Strategy for STB, great emphasis was placed on brand integration in all planned activities while developing social media workflows and inter-developmental cooperation plans in order to enhance all relevant processes and ensure the effective implementation of the strategy, maximizing social media benefits.”

Digital media and technologies now affect every single stage of the visitor’s journey to a destination, during his stay and even after this.  The purpose, throughout this project was to develop a holistic digital marketing strategy targeting the decision-making process of planning a trip to Slovenia, providing useful visitor info while being in Slovenia and utilizing attractive social media tools for sharing their memorable experience upon their return home.

As far as marketing integration is concerned, results until now have shown that social media activities can only be effective when they are interwoven with existing traditional media marketing efforts as an integral part of their overall marketing strategy.

Project Processes

Based on this perspective, STB’s Social Media Marketing Strategy was developed in two phases.

The first phase consisted of the situation analysis which was performed through consultation workshops with the Board’s relevant departments and partners as well as through extensive research providing:

  • An assessment and analysis of Slovenia’s online presence and digital marketing activities
  • A review and evaluation of the Board’s operational procedures

The second phase, saw the development of the strategy which included the following:

  • Selection of appropriate social media channels where STB should invest based on the available resources and the set goals and objectives
  • Development of an appropriate content management strategy to accompany every channel’s guidelines
  • Specific digital media operational plan with appropriate resources and activities definition in order to ensure practical implementation
  • A partnership development plan focusing on travel-related digital media and tourism stakeholders following an established TEAM model, and
  • Monitoring and tracking guidelines. By monitoring the digital environment relating to Slovenia as a destination and by tracking the performance of STB’s marketing efforts through specific KPI’s, the aim was to validate the feedback/insights for further review and to fine tune the digital marketing strategy.

Tinkara Pavlovcic Kapitanovic, STB’s Head of e-Business and Strategic Projects, commented: “as the NTO we should know and understand what to expect from social media engagement, what are the goals to be achieved and that social media should be seen and handled as a part of the overall online activity of every tourism organization”. Measuring results is critical and is now integral to STB’s work.

In the presentation below we can see how the strategy has been put into effect being used as the basis for coordinated social media marketing efforts and effective implementation of targeted marketing initiatives, relating product developments to identified audience needs.

ARGO II Black Sea Tourism Forum & Workshop

The UNDP Black Sea Trade and Investment Programme (BSTIP) is pleased to present the ARGO II Black Sea Tourism Forum & Workshop to take place in Nafplio, Peloponnese, Greece, on 3 and 4 May 2012, at the “Vouleftiko”. The two-day event is brought to you with the support of the Region of Peloponnese, the Municipality of Nafplio and the Argolida Chamber, with the cooperation of AbouTourism International Destination Consultancy.

Aiming to enhance tourism business partnership in the Black Sea Region, the ARGO II Black Sea Tourism Forum & Workshop will host selected Tour Operators and National Airlines representatives from more than 12 countries of the Black Sea Region introducing them to the unique Region of Peloponnese and its selective range of tourism suppliers. The Forum includes a workshop with a series of pre organized B2B meetings between the Black Sea representatives and the suppliers from the Region of Peloponnese, as well as a Conference day with sessions on digital tourism and destination management offered by leading experts.

Mr Barry Kolodkin, BSTIP Programme Manager commented on the importance of the ARGO II Forum: Travelers are becoming increasingly sophisticated; seeking destinations that will appeal specifically to their wants and emotions. The Peloponnese in Greece, like Tuscany in Italy or Provence in France, is such a destination. This forum will enable the Peloponnese to display its prodigious offerings to tour operators from the Black Sea region, a region with growing disposable income, where travelers seek new and exciting destinations.

-Click here to download the Programme to the event for Greek companies (EN)

-Click here to download the programme to the event for Greek companies (GR)

-Click here to download the programme to the event for Foreign companies (EN)

-Click here to download the Application Form for Greek companies (EN)

-Click here to download the Application Form for NON-Greek companies (EN)

-Click here to download the Application Form for Buyers (EN)

BSTIP is a unique initiative jointly co-financed by the Hellenic Republic, the Republic of Turkey, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the BSEC (Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization). The main objective of the programme is to promote the regional economic integration process among the BSEC Member States.

AbouTourism International Destination Consultancy ( is an international destination development & marketing consultancy with a regional focus on South Eastern Europe & Eastern Mediterranean Regions.

For further information, please contact:

Mrs Daniela Drone


Tel: +30-210-7701661



Mrs Daisy Modiano


Tel: (+30) 210 8941610





Top 5 abouTourism Articles for 2011

Right when the year is ready to come to a close, we take a look back at some of our favorite and most read articles in 2011.

During this past year, abouTourism provided insights on destination marketing and the latest advancements, highlighted the latest trends to shape the industry, and shared best practice cases showcasing successful destination strategies.

Let’s take a look at the articles that you found the most useful in 2011!

1. Destination Marketing on the Web: Trends, Challenges & Best Practices

2011 is the year that large travel suppliers strengthen their position on the web which means that destination bodies will need to catch up with them and stay relevant. DMOs have already started to swift their attention to online media, largely due to budget cuts and increasing pressure for result measurement. Even though many DMOs want to incorporate social media in their marketing efforts, many face difficulties in determining the best way to proceed, while facing challenges in providing quality information online.

2.DMO Best Practices – Innovative Uses of Social Media

Destination Marketing Organizations around the world have realised the added value of using social media channels to market their destinations and increase awareness. There are certain examples though of DMOs that seem to have “broken the code” coming up with innovative campaigns and other uses of social media channels. A look at a selection of best practices of DMO social media use.

3.Top 20 Vintage Tourism Ads (Parts I & II)

Looking at these vintage posters from destinations all over the world we wonder how much things have actually changed over these past 100 years. Even today, during the online revolution and with the availability of affordable and wide spreading media, you will still find tourism campaigns that rely  just on an inspiring photo and logo to attract international tourists.

4.Tourism Campaigns on Facebook. Like this!

Tourism Ireland was one of the first to get on the travel gamification train, hoping to exploit the phenomenal popularity of social networks by convincing more than 100,000 people to play an Irish-themed Facebook game which it launched on St Patrick’s Day. Tourism Ireland was hoping that playing the game will bring the Irish holiday experience to life for potential visitors – albeit without the rain – and they will be tempted to swap the virtual for the real and come to Ireland to spend hard cash.

5. Top Factors Influencing Destination Choice

We have all realized by now the power of reviews. It is probably a natural shift driven by the information overload that modern consumers have increasingly been facing for the past decades. Reviews and online opinions are essential to consumers in the travel-planning process and recent studies continue to show the trend that wants active social and mobile consumers preferring peer, independent reviews over the traditional channels and marketing campaigns.

abouTourism’s TrendSpotting 2012 is Here!

abouTourism brings you a compilation of the latest Tourism and Travel Trends to shape the industry

Moderate growth is expected for the tourism industry in 2012, despite the uncertain global economic outlook. Factors such as rising incomes in emerging markets and stable unemployment and disposable income in mature markets are expected to drive demand this year. We have entered a period of drastic change and the industry is reinventing itself to meet changing expectations, rapid technological advancements and a shifting world economic environment.

Visit our TrendSpotting 2012 Page to see all the key trends to influence the global tourism and travel industry in 2012. The list keeps growing as it is frequently updated with all the latest tourism and travel trends. Enjoy!

Destination Marketing on the Web: Trends, Challenges & Best Practices

According to the latest statistics, the internet is nowadays involved in almost 85 % of holiday purchases while smartphone mobile usage is steadily increasing along with the demand for more travel information and location based applications. Word of mouth gets a megaphone through social media networks, whose influence on travel purchase decisions gradually grows.

2011 is the year that large travel suppliers strengthen their position on the web which means that destination bodies will need to catch up with them and stay relevant. DMOs have already started to swift their attention to online media, largely due to budget cuts and increasing pressure for result measurement. Even though many DMOs want to incorporate social media in their marketing efforts, many face difficulties in determining the best way to proceed, while facing challenges in providing quality information online.

Since a DMO’s role is not only to promote the destination as a whole but also the tourism businesses and suppliers in that destination, considering the latest web developments they need to go where the consumer is instead of trying to convince them to come to them. Towards this direction a DMO website should be visually appealing, easy to use and providing value adding features and information in order to keep the visitors.

An effective social media strategy needs to be created through quality market knowledge and value adding content in order to engage with the audience and promote the destination’s advantages. The DMO therefore needs to assess the social activities of its target groups, set the right objectives, plan the relationship they want to establish with their target market and finally decide upon the tools that best fit their objectives and strategy.

Take a moment and check out our latest presentation titled ”Destination Marketing on the Web: Trends, Challenges & Best Practices” on slideshare and feel free to share your comments. Enjoy!

New UK government tourism policy launched: Targeting the top 5 most efficient and competitive visitor economies in the world.

The UK Government’s new strategy for tourism was published last week.

The government’s aim is to help the tourism industry achieve its potential for growth in three ways:

  • by creating a sustainable new model for destination marketing and management, on the back of the London 2012 Olympics and the series of other major events which the UK is due to host over the next few years
  • by supporting and promoting domestic tourism and therefore boosting domestic visitor expenditure
  • by providing a platform which will help to raise the sector’s productivity and performance, so UK tourism can compete more effectively in an increasingly crowded international market.

Take a moment and check out Visit Britain’s CEO,  analysis at

abouTourism destination consultancy announces its official company launch.

abouTourism is an international destination development & marketing consultancy with a regional focus on SE Europe & Eastern Mediterranean Regions.

Through official partnerships with a specialist international tourism consultancy, TEAM Tourism Consulting, as well as with TCI Research (Tourism Competitive Intelligence) specializing in survey-based research and evaluation in the public and private tourism sectors, we offer an elite team of destination experts and tourism professionals who combine extensive experience as practitioners, managing operations, with many years of consultancy experience working for DMOs and related organisations around the world.

“abouTourism destination consultancy, with its consortium of consultants and partner companies, has the depth of talent, practical experience, technical and management expertise to suit client’s requirements. We aim to provide quality services and implementation support in every stage of the destination’s development, management & marketing process said abouTourism’s Managing Director & Founder Manolis Psarros during the launch of the company.

Client organizations can pick and choose from a wide variety of individual services or tailormade packages. Flexibility is the key. We provide everything from tourism master plans to DMO operations support and seminars & workshops for tourism professionals. Think of us as an one-stop-shop for tourism boards, destination management organizations and tourism professionals associations.

More about abouTourism Destination Consultancy

abouTourism destination consultancy is an innovative and comprehensive professional services company that focuses exclusively in destination development, management & marketing. By combining proven methodologies, deep experience and implementation support, abouTourism can help Destination Management/Marketing Organizations deliver quality projects and results. Headquartered in Athens, Greece we have associates at UK, SE Europe & East Med. For more information please visit our website at or contact us at