A collaboration between Guam Visitors Bureau and Airbnb will open more Guam homes to visitors and will also allow Airbnb to feature Guam sight-seeing spots and visitor-oriented services on the global online hospitality platform.

Parts of the GVB's future collaboration with Airbnb were discussed Wednesday during GVB's Travel Talks Digital Global Summit, which was attended by about 300 people, including some of the top social media influencers in Asia and executives of businesses in travel and tourism-oriented technology sectors. The conference was held at the Dusit Thani Guam Resort's Guam Convention Center.

Stephen Gatewood, Alupang Beach Club sales and marketing manager and a GVB board member, discussed that with Airbnb, Guam will have opportunities to be featured on the website's "Experiences" listing.

Airbnb's experiences service allows a homeowner who's renting her place on Airbnb to also offer services near her home to renters. For example, a homeowner can pair up with a local chef for a dining experience or offer a local crafts artist for hands-on learning on weaving or wood carving. A local boat operator or a dive shop can also be part of an Airbnb's renter's experience. 

Gatewood also suggested that if a homeowner has a home that's waiting for a long-term renter, that home can also be offered to Airbnb's short-term renters as a temporary source of cash. 

The Airbnb collaboration was just one of many topics that brought in multiple travel- and technology-oriented international experts to Guam for the summit.

“One of GVB’s objectives for this summit is to bring the world to Guam,” said GVB President and CEO Pilar Laguaña. “We were successful in securing an impressive lineup of renowned experts from large corporations like United Airlines to startups ... to share their knowledge, experiences and insights with us.”

Among the summit's presenters were Kei Shibat, co-founder and CEO of online site Line Travel, which has millions of members, mostly in Japan and other countries in Asia; Paul Brady, editorial strategist at Skift, a travel industry tracker; MQ Wang, co-founder and CEO of ZeroZero Robotics; and Ryan Cahill, who's with digital marketing strategy and insight at United Airlines.

Wang also demonstrated at the Guam conference – for the first time in a public setting, he said – a test version of Hover 2, the next-generation version of the Hover Camera Passport. ZeroZero Robotics raised about $56 million for version 2 of the drone camera, which will feature artificial intelligence technology that will allow regular vloggers to use cinematic effects on their videos, Wang said.

GVB also secured speakers from TripAdvisor, Naver and Bookings.com.

GVB board Chairman Sonny Ada said the summit offers additional insights as the bureau works on a 2025 tourism master plan. The new master plan is scheduled for completion by the end of the year.

With the constantly evolving visitor trends, Ada said the summit helps GVB add to its already robust social media marketing presence. From this year's summit, GVB is considering more annual summits such as Wednesday's.

“Travel Talks will be a platform where local businesses, entrepreneurs, stakeholders and students will meet and learn from global technology experts,” Ada said.

GVB also paired local social media influencers who highlight some of Guam's culture, nature sight-seeing spots, fashion and shopping with their widely viewed Asian counterparts.

Sam Kolder, a global social media influencer and Canadian filmmaker who has 1.4 million followers on Instagram, did a talk about how the rise of influencers and how they're inspiring a new wave of global travel lifestyle. Kolder advised social media startups to be unique and to find topics that are new. A Japanese travel vlogger known as Halno, also joined the conference and featured Guam's turquoise waters on his social media posts with his signature photos that feature his "flying" broom. 

Amid all the talk about industry, technology and other trends in travel, Chika, or Bilingirl Chika as she’s known on YouTube, offered insight on Guam's greatest asset: The island's people.
She said Guam, at first, was never on her list of destinations to visit and share with her global followers because she’d always heard the island was a “little Hawai.” Those thoughts rang true when she spent her first day in Tumon and saw the ABC Stores and Eggs N Things for which the Aloha State is known.

Chika's experience with her local social media counterpart, Franceska De Oro and the De Oro family, helped her see Guam in a whole new light: an island that stands out because of the warmth of its people. Jeriza Torres, Jake Garrett, Iowani Unpingco and Chase Weir were among the local social media influencers who helped make their international counterparts feel welcomed on Guam.

“The visitor industry is dynamic and rapidly evolving. As a destination looking to grow, all local businesses should aspire to keep up with the latest trends and seek new and innovative ways to promote Guam. Every local business can benefit from this opportunity,” Ada said.

GVB thanked the event's sponsors and supporters: Pacific Asia Travel Association, United Airlines, Dusit Thani Guam Resort, KUAM Communications, The Guam Daily Post, DOCOMO PACIFIC, C-Trip, The Guam Premier Outlets, Mafengwo, Micronesia Mall, Hana Tour, Mode Tour, Very Good Tour and LG Electronics and Interpark.

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