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 2019...

Social Media: Getting Personal

There Social media platforms have revolutionized the hotel industry. Popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Tumblr now account for 2.3 billion active users, and this phenomenon has forever transformed how businesses interact with consumers. Given that social media allows for two-way communication between businesses and consumers, the emphasis of any marketing strategy must be to positively and personally engage the customer, and there are innumerable ways to accomplish that goal. One popular strategy is to encourage hotel guests to create their own personal content - typically videos and photos -which can be shared via their personal social media networks, reaching a sizeable audience. In addition, geo-locational tags and brand hashtags can be embedded in such posts which allow them to be found via metadata searches, substantially enlarging their scope. Influencer marketing is another prevalent social media strategy. Some hotels are paying popular social media stars and bloggers to endorse their brand on social media platforms. These kinds of endorsements generally elicit a strong response because the influencers are perceived as being trustworthy by their followers, and because an influencer's followers are likely to share similar psychographic and demographic traits. Travel review sites have also become vitally important in reputation management. Travelers consistently use social media to express pleasure or frustration about their guest experiences, so it is essential that every review be attended to personally. Assuming the responsibility to address and correct customer service concerns quickly is a way to mitigate complaints and to build brand loyalty. Plus, whether reviews are favorable or unfavorable, they are a vital source of information to managers about a hotel's operational performance.  The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to effectively incorporate social media strategies into their businesses.