ST THOMAS, USVI -- The US Virgin Islands Department of Tourism is expanding the annual small hotels conference to include stakeholders from the wider business community.
Now called the US Virgin Islands Small Hotels and Business Development Conference, its fourth gathering is set for November 12 to 14 this year. Sessions will take place in St Croix and St Thomas where participants will hear from world experts on topics ranging from social media, geotourism and the bridal market.
Each full day session will culminate with a business exhibition and trade show, while a special bridal presentation by bridal expert Jacqueline Johnson will take place in St Croix for half a day on November 13.
The conference will offer parallel seminars, featuring important marketing techniques and intelligence to help enhance businesses.
Keynote speakers include former Marriott veteran and author Steve Curtin who penned "Delight Your Customers: 7 Simple Ways to Raise Your Customer Service from Ordinary to Extraordinary"; and Courtney Fennell and Beth Thomas of Google.
The session on social media will feature social media marketer Josh Rosenberg, the US Virgin Islands' Shomari Moorehead, an accomplished and experienced digital technology consultant, and Brittani Wood, account supervisor with Development Counsellors International.
Jonathan Tourtellot, geotourism editor of National Geographic Traveler, will be joined by Steve Paganeli, head of destination marketing sales for the Americas at TripAdvisor for the session on geotourism; while the reputation management talks will be led by Daniel Craig, a former hotel general manager and consultant specializing in social media strategy and online reputation management.
"We are looking forward to some stimulating sessions as we support our destination's small hotels and business community with business intelligence from some of the world's leading experts in their disciplines," said Beverly Nicholson-Doty, Commissioner of Tourism.
The commissioner added that the annual conference is aimed at enhancing the territory's tourism product in a highly competitive marketplace.
The business exhibition and trade show will take place immediately after the full-day sessions on both islands.