At this point, in 2015, about 11 years after the founding of Facebook and nine years after Twitter debuted, the travel industry is well-versed in social media, right?

Wrong.

At least that’s the view espoused by members of a social media panel at the World Travel & Tourism Council’s Global Summit in Madrid, Spain today.

Moderated by Skift’s CEO and founder Rafat Ali, panel members seemed to agree that the travel industry still doesn’t fully understand social media and isn’t using various platforms to their fullest potentials.

Panelists included Gary Vaynerchuk, co-Founder of VaynerMedia; Barney Harford, president and CEO of Orbitz Worldwide; John O’Sullivan, managing director of Tourism Australia, and Adam Weissenberg, global travel, hospitality and leisure sector lead at Deloitte & Touche LLP.

During the panel Vaynerchuk posed the question: “Are we marketing in the year we’re actually living in?”

And then said: “If you don’t realize you’re in the media business and that you have to put out content and that social media is the plumbing to get that content to people, you’ll disappear.”

Our other favorite quotes from the panel:

Harford: “My guess is that 90% of people in this room probably don’t book their own travel. And if you trust your CEO to talk at WTTC, why can’t you trust them on Twitter?”

Weissenberg: “I need to get more 25-year-olds around me to find out what they want, what are they doing and thinking about. Companies need more young people on their teams.”

Ali: “I don’t think the industry understands Snapchat at all at this point.”

Vaynerchuk: “The transactional efficiency of social is something that isn’t being talked about.”

Some 23% of the audience members polled during the panel indicated that 20% to 50% of their marketing and communications budgets will account for spending on social media during the next five years.

A video of the panel is below and starts at the 14:15 mark.

Skift CEO Rafat Ali at the WTTC Global Summit discussing social media and more with Gary Vaynerchuk, Orbitz CEO Barney Hartford, Tourism Australia’s John O’Sullivan and more.

Posted by Skift on Thursday, April 16, 2015

Photo Credit: Panel members at the World Travel & Tourism Council’s Global Summit in Madrid April 16 commented that the travel industry still doesn't seem to adequately understand or leverage social media. WTTC