I had the opportunity to participate on Blog Expo 2010 in Las Vegas, NV from October 14 – 16.

Courtesy of: Social Media Examiner

There are several impressions and thoughts I brought back with me. This was my first time at the Blog Expo.

My approach was to network and bring back ideas that will help build customer loyalty through blogging and Social Media.

Here are 10 simple ideas from Blog Expo 2010:

  • Be prepared – familiarize your self with the event schedule ahead of time. The Blog Expo Schedule is a great tool to pre schedule events you like to be in on. Here you also get a good view of the speakers, and the topic that will be presented. And the Blog Expo Schedule also let you view details on who plan to be in on this event. Know what is going on, and be prepared for changes
  • Have an agenda – I had an overall agenda ‘How can Hotels add additional value from events like Blog Expo?’, then I had some specific agendas ‘How do brands utilize blogs and Social Media to build customer loyalty?’. With a well-defined agenda you have great platform to learn from. Something will go as planned, and something want. Note what did not go as planned, and why
  • Invest in simple Multi Media tools – one of the major benefits of events like Blog Expo is the opportunity to network. Bring a Video Camera or audio recorder for interviews. Use your Laptop / Netbook to take notes. Also bring a pen/pencil and a basic notebook. Capture your ideas and impressions when they are fresh. The iPad did stand out as the All-In-One tool. Social Hospitality is here – embrace it with the right Multi Media tools
  • Share a business card – exchanging business card is important to the networking aspect. I use a business card with my blog, email, phone, Twitter and LinkedIn account. One tip if you use your Twitter and LinkedIn account on business card write out twitter.com/username or linkedin.com/in/username. If you use just @username this can cause some confusion. Use backside of business card for Hotel Tip – Planning a Wedding – contact Jane Doe at 111-1111-111 – Need some space for your next meeting – contact John Doe at 222-2222-222
  • Network with style – remember the simple basics to listen double as much as you speak. Create some listening outpost that keep track of the events main #hashtag. The #hashtag this year was #bwe2010. Respond to all mentions on Twitter and Facebook. Invite people you meet to hook up over a breakfast or lunch. Use Facebook Events to create your meeting and Pay It Forward with some rewards to the participants. Something like 1 Free Weekend at your Hotel as main reward, and 2 – 3 breakfast / lunch tickets at your informal event. Keep this meeting informal, and no longer then 1 hour. Make this event before the official events starts, or during official lunch
  • When Off topic is you’re On topic– I was networking with one of the speaker on one of the sessions I participated on. And I ended up finding myself being in the next session in the room. This was a session that was not on my planned agenda. And I was in the session Daddy Bloggers from #dadstalking. This ended up being an inspiring session where one of the participants in the audience happened to be a representative from Disney. Never underestimate the value of your audience, you will miss out on some incredible value
  • Reach Out! – utilize your listening outpost to track valuable information from people that is at the same event as you. If someone sends a tweet that they are looking for a lunch or dinner date – Reach Out! Give to others and you will receive back. Quality relationship and trust is built upon Reach Out! Remember Loyalty is something you earn
  • Smile and be professional – you are representing either your brand or yourself as a brand. Treat others, as you want to be treated yourself. Goodwill will be shared in abundance when you follow these simple basic rules of Hospitality
  • Connect and Reward – you will receive a lot of valuable information if you network with style. The next step here is to connect with your new network on Twitter or Facebook. From an event perspective these are the two best networks to connect on during the event. Use Twitter for mentions of your network and respond back to their tweets. Create a Twitter List for your networks at the event – blogexpo2010_hotelgroup or blogexpo2010_socialmediagroup. On Facebook tag pictures of people you network with. If you have a Fan Page mention articles from your network that ads value to your brand. Brand Equity starts with giving
  • Thank You! – let everyone that you had the opportunity to network with know that you are thankful for the value they provided. Also take time to thank the organizers of the event. My warm Thank You goes to Rick Calvert, Deb Ng, Chad Cranford, Kristen Bradshaw, Dave Cynkin, Patti Hosking, Leslie Denson and Nikki Katz from the Blog Expo Team. What an amazing team that made it all possible for us. And a big Thank You goes to the Social Media Examiner Team – Mike Stelzner, Cindy King, Mari Smith and Amy Porterfield. Thank You to David Risley, Nathan Hangen and Lisa Morosky. A big THANK YOU to John Haydon for sharing some great ideas. Plus all the great people I had the opportunity to network with – Thank You! R+T+C+V=CL (Relationship + Trust + Value + Care = Customer Loyalty)

Summary

Blog Expo is not an event just for bloggers and Social Media geeks. Though you will meet some of them there. These people are brilliant minds that will show you how to add additional value to your brand. Blog Expo is a great event to build Brand Equity if you implement some of the tips mentioned in the article here.

The Hotel family was represented at Blog Expo. Though more could be done to show our presence there it was a great learning experience. Our friends from the Travel family had a great presence and were represented through several great sessions. This is a challenge and an opportunity for next years Blog Expo.

Our goal for next years Blog Expo is to be represented at Blog Expo 2011 with 3 Hotel Sessions. There are several great topics to explore – iPad the new Concierge – Effects of Location based service – Will Social Hospitality makes Hotels more eco friendly?

Any ideas or suggestion how to bring our Hotel family to next years Blog Expo? Who from the Hotel family would you like to see at a panel on Blog Expo? Please share your comments and ideas here.