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 2020...

Social Media: Social Listening Tools

The reach and influence of social media is staggering. Nearly 3 billion people use social media daily, posting a range of messages, selfies, images, and everything in-between. According to HubSpot, almost 4 million posts are uploaded to the major social networks every single minute! That's an astounding amount of content and it is crucial for hotels to skillfully use social media in order to effectively compete. From establishing a suitable brand identity and voice to creating content across all the major networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.), the goal is to actively engage consumers and to eventually convert them to customers. Some hotels are initiating online contests as a way to attract new customers, while others are rewarding customers with discounts who subscribe to the their email lists or follow their social media pages. Another recent strategy is to employ social media listening tools that track what people are posting online about their businesses. These tools allow hotels to monitor - or listen to - what's being said about a brand across the entire social web, and this can prove to be very valuable, unfiltered information. Social listening permits hotels to be aware of people's opinions about their business, industry or competitors, and some of these tools even listen beyond social media platforms. They also monitor publicly available information on blogs, forums, news outlets and websites. Some listening tools are more focused on gathering and analyzing data, while others offer more engagement-oriented features, which allow hotels to interact with people right from the platform. Often the information that is gleaned from these listening tools ends up being the most authentic, unbiased insights a business can get. The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to successfully integrate social media strategies into their operations.