As a digital pioneer, Switzerland Tourism ST is constantly testing new technologies and sharing the knowledge it gains with the industry, with social audio being a case in point. The format came to prominence with the Clubhouse app, which was launched to widespread hype.

Switzerland Tourism ventures onto Clubhouse

The chance to eavesdrop and join the discussion in an interactive live podcast, with no cameras or likes, held a lot of appeal according to a study published by Civey in April 2021. ST was quick to recognise the potential of social audio, and took advantage of the run on Clubhouse to host its own chat sessions. Clubhouse was used for the first time on the day of the online annual press conference (recording), on 19 February 2021. Jonas Projer, former presenter of SRF’s Arena programme and current editor-in-chief of NZZ am Sonntag, led the open discussion. ST CEO Martin Nydegger fielded questions from interested listeners under the banner “Ask me anything”.

Dialogue with industry representatives

Around 190 users took part in the inaugural Clubhouse event. “We had a refreshingly diverse audience: from tourism students and hoteliers to travel journalists,” says Markus Berger, ST’s Head of Corporate Communications and Spokesperson. “Clubhouse is a format with very low barriers, where it is possible to achieve a professional and highly visible presence quickly and at little cost. We also value the unfiltered, direct dialogue with the public.” In addition to the discussions organised by ST’s head office in Zurich, the international offices in Germany and Southeast Asia also hosted virtual discussions. ST employees also appeared in various industry-wide talks.

New audio formats from the likes of Twitter

Although Clubhouse’s popularity slumped from mid-2021, social audio formats remain en vogue. Facebook released its Live Audio Rooms feature for selected groups and individuals in October. Another major tech player, Twitter, had launched its own Twitter Spaces feature already in May 2021, and market manager Canada Pascal Prinz gathered some initial experiences of the platform when he was invited for a Q&A session as part of the #traveltuesday series of talks. The arrival of other social media platforms is a sign that interactive audio communities and audio content remain relevant. ST is therefore watching developments closely and will continue to test out new formats and share its experiences with the sector. However, further involvement in Clubhouse has been ruled out.