An event devoted to travel and innovation and an opportunity for training and for exchanging information.
The continuing transformation of the productive processes and the way people decide to buy their holidays completely changed the link between demand and supply. Tuscany Region shared the intuition of an entrepreneur, creating since 2008 a unique event in its kind for the tourism industry in Italy, that has gained interest also at a European level and involves public and private stakeholders as well as national and international experts in digital tourism. BTO is devoted to the online market segment, promotion of web-marketing, spreading of the web distribution channels, training of professionals through seminars and workshops. This event is also an opportunity to promote the image of the economic system of Tuscany that uses and spreads new technologies in the tourism sector. The property of BTO trademark and the domain are 50% of Toscana Promozione Turistica/Tuscany Region and 50% of the Chamber of Commerce of Florence. The governance and sharing of the organisation model is implemented through the synergy between public and private sectors, that is getting stronger. In 2016 Toscana Promozione Turistica took on the task of coordinating a parallel event within the BTO: Digital ecosystems, a laboratory for the development of digitalisation to promote Italy as a tourism destination. The stakeholders are Public Bodies, Italian and International companies, which take part in the event, together with the big players of digital tourism as well as the Social Networks.
BTO is supported by Tuscany Region for €100 thousand and by Florence Chamber of Commerce for €80 thousand. The remaining 75% of the budget is generated by the sale of admission tickets, exhibition spaces, slots for the presentation and sponsoring.
Evidence of success
BTO has an excellent position in the international scenery, confirmed by the growing presence of international exhibitors. From 2008 to 2017 the revenues of the event have grown with an annual average of 10%-15%, mainly coming from exhibitors and sponsors. The individual accreditations for the most successful edition were 4300, with the presence of 62 companies and an agenda of 159 appointments in the two days of the event, with 20% of international speakers.
The biggest challenge was creating an attractive event both for private operators and for institutions, but also to make it less dependent on public contribution without taking away its identity of a not-for-profit event.
Potential for learning or transfer
An essential requirement for the success of such an event is that public bodies are willing to bet on the value of the project and the development of a constructive relationship with private companies, able to implement innovative proposals with a scientific and commercial relevance. Investing in a similar event means engaging in creating an opportunity for information, training and networking with an objective value, an agenda with international speakers, relevant current topics, a specifically educational format, and an adequate communication capacity.
Should there not be enough resources for communication, the obstacle can be overcome only if the event can show a capacity of engagement and creation of a community of followers: conversation before, during and after the event can improve its image and expectations, creating the conditions for future development.
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