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 June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.