PHILIPSBURG–The annual general meeting of St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA) held at Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino and Spa last week Thursday hosted a strong and enthusiastic crowd, according to a press release from the association.
Keynote speaker Isabel Mosk, an internationally renowned expert on the use of social media and digital destination marketing, spoke at the event, which had the largest turnout in recent years. The invitation to Mosk tied perfectly into SHTA’s plans for the upcoming year.
The organisation is continuing with the St. Maarten branding project initially introduced at the Crystal Pineapple Awards, with creative inputs from Loic Bryan of Artistic Drive as one of St. Maarten’s own creatives partnered with SHTA on the branding for St. Maarten.
Mosk explained the significance of storytelling in destination marketing and how in this new era of technology, the individual guest wants to share his or her personal story of the destination by way of a blog, a post or a critique, which in turn helps to market the destination.
The opportunities in digital marketing are an important investment and growing more and more each year. They are well within each and every destination’s marketing budget and typically less expensive than traditional means of marketing.
Storytelling by the destination and its visitors gives a potential visitor the true feeling of the destination and increases hype of places to travel to. Sharing actual images and experiences people had on their journeys makes a destination more attractive to other visitors and even negative posts make the online storytelling more realistic and believable. To be successful in digital marketing the destination should allow the guest to be the lead character within the story about the destination.
In addition, Mosk suggested looking beyond slogans within destination marketing, as having one slogan does not capture what the entire destination is about. This was an intriguing recommendation, as slogans have been the norm for branding or cultivating new marketing strategies.
The meeting also attracted many young ambitious entrepreneurs who are interested in SHTA and who share its passion for St. Maarten. The SHTA board was pleased with content depicted and the feedback of attendees at the event. Members and non-member guests in attendance were very receptive and many came forward with ideas and assistance with the development of promotional materials to stimulate the economy of the island destination.
For more information, contact SHTA at tel. 542-0108 or visit