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News & Press: Events 2011

Futurist urges ALTO membership to think “social”

11 November 2011  
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View the event clip here

The "social, tribal and networked consumer” was the focus of the professional development seminar organised by ALTO at the end of October in Berlin. Gerd Leonhard, Media Futurist and established strategic advisor, provided the membership with his expert advice on likely consumer trends of the future, particularly as relates to the youthful demographic that is key to language travel.

He told the delegates that they needed to interact with their consumers, not market to them and foster collaboration, dialogue and transparency in the networked world in which the consumers have the power to influence brands as much as brands having power to influence their customers. "Inspire people to talk about how good you are”, is the new marketing paradigm, he said.

Members were told to think mobile; more and more of their customers will browse on the internet via mobile devices, and gain an understanding about the "millennial” age group and how they interact with social media as part of daily life - paying for products using Facebook credits is now a reality, he counselled.

Meanwhile, Leonhard’s co-presenter, Tim Renner, spoke from the perspective of the music industry, which saw its market share decline rapidly because it tried to control the supply chain of music to consumer despite the rise of social media and the opportunities this yielded for distribution.

The professional development seminar was followed by roundtable discussions about how best to grow the language travel industry from a US$15 billion industry to one twice that size. Delegates responded enthusiastically to the challenge - with many ideas presented. These included: collaboration with main-steam travel/tourism industry, including hotels to broaden market awareness; working with virtual language learning products to build revenue potential of existing customers; working in partnership in-country - reversing the learning in-country trend and offering language camps at home, as is successful in Spain; working with government to ease visa processes and therefore enable greater access to product; building a system for sharing capacity in the event of overcrowding at one institution.

Overall, members were very pleased with the event and the opportunities for knowledge and networking, with 86% of feedback indicating the take-home value of the event was very good or good. David Anthonisz, Chairman of ALTO, commented, "Members responded warmly to Gerd’s collegial style and enjoyed the roundtable discussions which helped build a camaraderie among members.”

The video recording of the seminar is now available to members online, please visit Video Files- Berlin seminar 2011 after logging into the members' area.

If you are interested in ALTO membership or would like to find out more about the educational events we organise to members, please contact Reka Lenart Association Manager.