Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Wolf

Erik Wolf

Executive Director, World Food Travel Association

Erik Wolf is the visionary founder of the world’s food tourism industry, and of the World Food Travel Association. He is a highly sought speaker, thought leader, strategist and consultant, in the US and abroad, on all aspects of food and drink tourism. Mr. Wolf is considered the go-to food tourism industry resource for media outlets that have included CNN, the BBC, the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, NBC, GQ, Forbes, Huffington Post, PeterGreenberg.com, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Arirang Korea, Sky Media (UK) and many more. He has spearheaded projects for world-class brands that have included the Province of Alberta (Canada), American Express, Walt Disney, Marriott Hotels & Resorts, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, just to name a few. During his tenure as Executive Director of the Association, Mr. Wolf launched several innovative products for our industry, including the annual Food Travel Monitor, including the Monitor’s PsychoCulinary profiling tool for food travelers; the Certified Culinary Travel Professional program; Business Readiness Training in Food Tourism; and Food Travel Talk TV. He is also the publisher of Have Fork Will Travel, the food tourism industry’s most comprehensive handbook. Mr. Wolf’s articles, speeches and research have been published in dozens of languages, including Chinese, Spanish, Greek, Polish, Russian, Portuguese and many more. Mr. Wolf also advises to UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network gastronomy program and the UNWTO’s Gastronomy Network. Mr. Wolf holds a B.A. in languages from the University of Virginia and an M.A. in Travel Marketing and International Communication from The American University in Washington, D.C. For Mr. Wolf, food is a way to communicate and connect with local people. A command of several languages has helped him navigate through dozens of countries. He has lived in Australia, Denmark, New Zealand, Singapore and South Africa. The more he traveled, the more he realized that many destinations have wonderful but untold stories in the form of truly unique food and beverage experiences. Mr. Wolf enjoys recommending unusual and remarkable food and beverages experiences from obscure lands. Don't ever let him loose in a grocery store in another country - you won't see him for hours. Please visit http://www.worldfoodtravel.org for more information.

Mr. Wolf can be contacted at (1) 503-213-3700 or erik@worldfoodtravel.org

Coming up in February 2018...

Social Media: Engagement is Key

There are currently 2.3 billion active users of social media networks and savvy hotel operators have incorporated social media into their marketing mix. There are a few Goliath channels on which one must have a presence (Facebook & Twitter) but there are also several newer upstart channels (Instagram, Snapchat &WeChat, for example) that merit consideration. With its 1.86 billion users, Facebook is a dominant platform where operators can drive brand awareness, facilitate bookings, offer incentives and collect sought-after reviews. Twitter's 284 million users generate 500 million tweets per day, and operators can use its platform for lead generation, building loyalty, and guest interaction. Instagram was originally a small photo-sharing site but it has blown up into a massive photo and video channel. The site can be used to post photos of the hotel property, as well as creating Instagram Stories - personal videos that disappear from the channel after 24 hours. In this regard, Instagram and Snapchat are now in direct competition. WeChat is a Chinese company whose aim is to be the App for Everything - instant messaging, social media, shopping and payment services - all in a single platform. In addition to these channels, blogging continues to be a popular method to establish leadership, enhance reputations, and engage with customers in a direct and personal way. The key to effective use of all social media is to find out where your customers are and then, to the fullest extent possible, engage with them on a personal level. This engagement is what creates a personal connection and sustains brand loyalty. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.