2016 Agenda

Presentations that have been shared with us can be downloaded from the session titles listed below.  

Sunday
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday



Sunday, September 11, 2016

Time Session
All day

Early arrivals


Monday, September 12, 2016

Time Session
1:00pm - 2:15pm Opening General Session: Welcome & Presentation of Colors - Salons 1-3

How to Create a City That You Can’t Wait to Get to, and Never Want to Leave
Speaker:  Lee Fisher, President & CEO, CEOs for Cities
There is no shortage of theories about the secret sauce for city success.  Some experts argue that geography matters more than ever and success depends on physical capital and authentic place making.  Others submit that in a knowledge economy, cities, regions, and states must build human capital and creative talent.  Some insist that social capital and economic opportunity ultimately define the soul of an economy.  Still others predict that the future is about smart digital capital and harnessing the power of technology.

Each of these theories alone is wrong.  A successful city must have all of these elements, but a city must have something more or the sauce will fall flat.  It must believe in itself.  It must believe that despite the inevitable setbacks, fumbles, and failures it will face, there is a future to strive for and to believe in.  Those cities that are reinventing themselves are embracing their failures as lessons learned and are celebrating an investing in their distinctive assets.  No more putting themselves down or feeling sorry for themselves.  These cities understand that failures and successes are not moments, they are trajectories.

Lee Fisher will talk about how tourism, destination marketing, and economic development are intertwined, and why the best cities are focused on making their cities great places not only to visit but also in which to work, live, and play.  These cities are transforming themselves into places that believe themselves.

2:30pm - 3:30pm General Session: Georgia transportation past present and future - Salons 1-3 
Speaker:  Commissioner Russell McMurry, Georgia Department of Transportation

2016 is the year of Georgia DOT’s Centennial. For 100 years GDOT has worked to develop a transportation system that is now the 10th largest in the country. Their work has contributed to an exceptional quality of life for residents; expanded opportunities for businesses; made the state an attractive destination for tourists; and improved the overall economic development of the state.This session will provide an overview of Georgia’s transportation assets, conditions, and what’s in store for the future.  In 2015, the Legislature passed historic transportation investment legislation that allowed the Georgia Department of Transportation to strategically invest in its existing infrastructure and gave the ability to plan for future improvements that were previously unattainable.  The Commissioner will provide an overview of GDOT with a look back but even more exciting is the look ahead.

4:00pm - 5:15pm Afternoon Breakout Series
  Advocacy Track - Italian Suites 3-4
Accommodations Tax 101
Speaker:  Jonathan Sharpe, DCA
This session by the Department of Community Affairs provides CVBs, hoteliers, and local governments need to know about reporting, audit disclosure, and general compliance requirements, and clarification of the allowable uses of the tax. 
 

Leadership Track - Kenyan Suites 3-4
LEC Session 1 Part 1 - Get the Big Things Right: Help Your Organization’s Future Take Flight
Speaker:  Cathy Alford, The Leadership Institute at Columbus State University
Participants will work through the elements of strategic planning: Vision, Strategy, Leadership (Direction, Movement, and Alignment) and Measurement. The ability to recognize the difference between tactical and strategic planning and thinking will become clear. Participants will gain a deeper appreciation for the impact of vision. This session will provide the building blocks for a strategic plan to help your organization take flight!  *You must attend both parts 1 & 2 to receive LEC credit. 

 

Marketing, Sales & PR Track - Kenyan Suites 1-2
Georgia Traveler Insights: Trends that are Impacting the Marketplace

Speakers:  Jeffrey Eslinger, Senior Director, Account Services D.K. Shifflet & Associates Ltd;
Andria Godfrey, Director of Tourism Research, GEDcD
This session will provide an understanding of the international and domestic trends that impact the Georgia market, with additional focus on the ever valuable family travel segment.  The audience will walk away with a greater understanding of how they can integrate these insights into their agency decision making process.  For this presentation both agency and research suppliers of record will be brought in to provide a comprehensive perspective of all topics as well as an interactive session discussion with access to industry leaders.

 

Partnership & Collaboration Track - Italian Suites 1-2
Deep Dive:  How to Create a City That You Can’t Wait to Get to, and Never Want to Leave
Speaker:  Lee Fisher, President & CEO, CEOs for Cities

 

Technology Track -  Swiss Suites
Working Together on Social: How DMOs, CVBs, and Attractions Benefit from Promoting Each Other
Speakers:  Katie Christof and Lindsay Isaacs, GDEcD; Rebecca McWilliam, Visit Dublin; Bonnie Simmons, Milledgeville-Baldwin County CVB
Many of you have heard Georgia State Tourism preach the benefits of working with us to promote your destination or attraction, but does it really work as well as we say? Well don’t take our word for it! We’ll share two case studies from partners who worked closely with the Explore Georgia team and saw some incredibly results. Join us for a panel discussion as we reveal details of our collaborations and answer your questions so you can execute similar partnerships to your benefit.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Time Session
8:30am - 10:00am

General Session: Tourism Division Update - Reaching New Heights - Salons 1-3
Speakers:  Andria Godfrey, Kevin LangstonLisa Love, Lee Thomas, GDEcD Tourism Division
Georgia’s Tourism Team is soaring with new programs, projects and research. You won’t want to miss this year’s update where you’ll learn about the ROI of the most recent advertising campaign, including the return to broadcast, a wrap up of the Year of Georgia Music, the strategies for the Year of Georgia Film, and much more!

10:30am - 11:45am Morning Breakout Series
 

Advocacy Track - Italian Suites
What do the Department of Labor’s New Overtime Rules Mean for Your Organization?
Speaker:  Lillian Reynolds, Associate, Venable LLP
This session will explore the Department of Labor’s new rules for exempt employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act which will go into effect on December 1, 2016.  In addition to providing an overview of the new rules and their potential impact on your organization, the presentation will include a discussion of how non-profit employers can cope with implementing the new rules. 

 

Leadership Track - Austrailian Suites
LEC Session 1 Part 2 - Get the Big Things Right: Help Your Organization’s Future Take Flight
Speaker: Cathy Alford, The Leadership Institute at Columbus State University
Participants will work through the elements of strategic planning: Vision, Strategy, Leadership (Direction, Movement, and Alignment) and Measurement. The ability to recognize the difference between tactical and strategic planning and thinking will become clear. Participants will gain a deeper appreciation for the impact of vision. This session will provide the building blocks for a strategic plan to help your organization take flight! *You must attend both parts 1 & 2 to receive LEC credit.

 

Marketing, Sales & PR Track - Kenyan Suites
The Practical and Tactical Pursuit of Overseas Travelers
Speakers:  Tracy Vaughan, Peter Hannaford, Ralf Lieb, GDEcD
Did you know that Georgia attracts a more sophisticated overseas traveler with more than 83% having been to the US previously, and on average, they spend 10 nights in the Peach State? Are you getting your share of these travelers who spend on average more than $800 per trip, more than twice that of a domestic traveler? In this session, we’ll share some market insights about key overseas markets and discuss the practical and tactical means to collaborate with Georgia Tourism to develop international presence and product placement by developing relationships with third-party influencers – both trade and media.

 

Partnership & Collaboration Track - German Suites
Welcome Centers -The Backbone of Your Tourism Program
Speakers:  Brittney Gray, GDEcD; David Dodd, VISIT FLORIDA
Welcome Centers and our staff are the frontline ambassadors for your valuable tourism message. Not only are Welcome Centers the face and feel of your destination, they are the backbone of your tourism program. It all comes together for a visitor at your Welcome Center.  All the wiz bang advertising efforts, jazzy web-sites, unbelievable promotions and social media pushes will all vaporize in the minds of your visitors, if they have a less than fantastic experience with a representative from your destination. We want our visitors to have an exceptional, and not just an acceptable vacation experience. That memorable destination vacation feeling begins with a trip to a Welcome Center.

Visitors spend millions of dollars on vacations in our destinations. This session will cover why visitors stay longer and spend more as a result of a stop in your Welcome Center; how to help a visitor discover an authentic vacation experience, exceptional customer service, how to position your Welcome Center as a must stop for travelers, plus a whole lot more.

 

Marketing, Sales & PR Track - Swiss Suites
Take your Media FAM Tours to New Heights
Speakers:  Caitlyn Blizzard, Alpharetta CVB; Heather Kirksey, Atlanta CVB; Laura Luker, Henry County CVB; Emily Murray, GDEcD 
More than ever, destinations are utilizing cost-effective means of garnering media placements in print, digital and television and the most popular tactic used is media FAM tours. A FAM tour can be the most economical way to stretch your PR dollars; it can outperform traditional marking campaigns or serve as a nice complement to your current program. In this session you’ll hear from three tourism pros who have created and executed successful media FAM tours – both big and small. They will share their hands on experience on what it takes to start a FAM tour program from scratch, how to vet and select travel writers, plan the best itinerary, get the biggest bang for your buck and more! 

12:00pm - 1:15pm Leadership Luncheon sponsored by Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport 
From the Sales Offfice to the State Office

Speaker:  Darienne Mobley, Darienne, Inc.
Come take a humorous look at one tourism pro’s 30-year career and the many lessons she has learned along the way. Hear how Darienne overcomes her missteps, laughs at her awkward encounters and celebrates her personal victories – and how you can do the same. This lively talk will take you on a journey from an entry-level sales position to a state director of tourism, with engaging tales from everywhere in between! You will laugh, learn and see yourself in Darienne’s stories. You will also learn how to channel your personal experiences into a life-long, enjoyable career.
Regional Visitor Information Center Awards will also be presented as well as GACVB's Leadership Excellence and Benchmark of Excellence Certifications.    
1:30pm - 3:00pm

Afternoon Breakout Series

 

Advocacy Track - Italian Suites
Legislative Panel Discussion - Where we've been and Where we're Going
Speakers:  Karen Bremer, Georgia Restaurant Association; Lee Hughes, Hughes Public Affairs; Jay Morgan, Georgia Hotel & Lodging Association; Morgan Law, Georgia Travel Association
Tourism can and often is profoundly affected by the laws and policies of states and communities, especially in a rapidly changing world. Who could have predicted even just a few years ago that we would be discussing laws regulating overnight rental properties, bathroom access and ride sharing?  After a very brief recap of what's happened in the last year to set the stage, we will hear from a panel of leading public affairs professionals about what to look for and how to engage in 2017. Questions and ideas will be welcome and encouraged during this important review and discussion of the policies and laws that can and will be very impactful to our businesses. 

 

Leadership Track - Austrailian Suites
LEC Session 2 Part 1 - Wheels up! Creating a Culture of Engagement
Speaker: Cathy Alford, The Leadership Institute at Columbus State University
According to Gallup 7 out of 10 workers are apathetic or totally disengaged. The root cause – Dysfunctional organizational culture. Participants will learn about the impact culture has on an organization and discuss how to create an engaging environment that motivates, stretches and inspires your team to be ready for take off! The climate and culture of an organization is determined by a variety of factors, including artifacts, espoused beliefs and values, and underlying assumptions. Participants will understand what organizational culture means, what influence culture has on an organization, and discuss how one goes about building, influencing, or changing an organization’s culture to be ready for wheels up! *You must attend both parts 1 & 2 to receive LEC credit.

 

Marketing, Sales & PR Track - Kenyan Suites
Creating a Marketing Action Plan (MAP) 
Speaker:  David Allred, Stamp Idea Group
Are you connecting to the right audiences with the right messages? Is the marketing plan of your DMO informed by the desired beliefs of the target groups that are most likely to influence your success?

Learn the fundamentals of Destination Marketing Action Plans (dMAP) utilizing a simple but extremely powerful "road mapping” tool that you can put to work in your DMO tomorrow. This interactive workshop is led by STAMP’s David Allred, TMP. David will provide a tool and facilitate a session to help you learn how to identify and prioritize: the target audiences that are going to influence your success; their roles in your success; and their required beliefs in order for you to succeed with them. The final step is for you to match your current marketing plan back to these defined audiences. Are you talking to the right people with the right message? Learn how you can find out for yourself.

"There are no wrong answers in Marketing Action Planning, but the systematic process of prioritizing WHO is most likely to lead to your organization’s success, prioritizing HOW and prioritizing WHY is often an eye opening exercise for Destination Marketing Organizations with a desire to achieve more deliberate results from their marketing efforts.” - David Allred, TMP

 

Partnership & Collaboration Track - German Suites
Show Me the Money!  Getting Creative with Sponsorships for Local Events
Speaker:  Amy Doherty, City of Suwanee, GA
Let’s get creative and talk about new ideas and fun ways to partner with sponsors for your events!  Let’s talk about maximizing sponsor exposure, creating fun, and not just selling booths!  Show Me the Money will show you how to cover cost by trading instead of paying, selling all aspects of your event and getting your sponsors to activate and participate in your event.  What do you have to sell to bring in more sponsor dollars?  What could you charge for that you currently do not charge for?  Are you charging enough?  How do you report back to your sponsors?  Come get creative and let’s re-think the way we sell sponsors for local events!

 

Marketing, Sales & PR Track - Swiss Suites 
Fly High into Digital PR: Tips on Pitching in the Digital Age
Speakers:  Emily Murray, GDEcD; 
Caroline Eubanks, This is My South and Caroline in the City; Allison Entrekin, Atlanta Magazine; Lesli Peterson, 365AtlantaFamily
The landscape of pitching media has evolved rabidly with a greater dependence on digital platforms and social media. Learn from three of Georgia’s top digital editors on what they are seeking out in pitches and content for their online outlets, newsletters and social media channels. Learn the best practices for working with digital and gather insight into how you can engage writers and navigate pitching in the digital age. Learn what you can provide - listicles, story ideas, high res photos - that will help your pitches rise above the crowd when online editors consider content.  

3:30pm - 5:15pm General Session:  The Chick-fil-A SERVE Model - Salons 1-3

Speaker:  Juliet M. Hall, Community Affairs, Senior Manager - Community & Corporate Partnerships, Chick-fil-A, Inc.
Chick-fil-A is the largest quick-service chicken restaurant chain in the United States, based on domestic annual sales with over 1,950 locations in 42 states and Washington, D.C. In 2015, annual sales exceeded $6 billion. Chick-fil-A is still privately held and family owned. With 48 consecutive years of positive sales growth, Chick-fil-A has set itself apart by pioneering innovations and delicious products—including the ever-popular Chick-fil-A® Chicken Sandwich. 

Learn the best practices of leadership that have made the Chick-fil-A brand so successful.  Chick-fil-A’s SERVE, an acronym that describes the leadership model, has been taught to different leaders on every level around the world. The Georgia-based company has built its leadership competency model around the word SERVE because it believes great leaders:
S ee and shape the future
E ngage and develop others
R einvent continuously
V alue results and relationships
E mbody the values
This session will include these five basic principles of servant leadership along with applications that attendees can take back to the office to incorporate SERVE into their day-to-day environment.  


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Time

Session

8:30am - 9:45am

General Session:  The Customer Experience - Salons 1-3
Speaker:  Bob Somers, Senior Vice President of Global Sales & Marketing, Delta Air Lines
What started as a little aerial crop dusting operation in 1924 has now grown into one of the world’s largest global airlines, helping more than 160 million travelers get to the places they want to go to each year.  The oldest airline still operating in the United States, and employing nearly 80,000 employees, emerged from bankruptcy in April of 2007 to become one of the most profitable airlines in the world.  Operating over 5,400 flights daily to 334 destinations in 64 countries on 6 continents, Delta has always put customer service first.  As a 33-year employee of Delta, Bob Somers is passionate about the traveler experience and knows all the ins and outs of what it takes to give each traveler a personalized, reliable and outstanding journey to wherever their destination might be.  Delta is proud to call Georgia home and is invested in bringing global tourism to the state. Somers will give an energetic presentation on enhancing the customer experience that you will not want to miss.

10:15am - 11:30am

Morning Breakout Series

 

Advocacy Track - Italian Suites
House and Senate Joint Committee on Economic Development and Tourism 
Committee Chairmen:  Chairman Brandon Beach, Georgia State Senate; Chairman Ron Stephens, Georgia House of Representatives
Speakers:
Jay Morgan, American Transactions Processing Coalition
Lisa Love, Music Tourism - Singing Georgia's Song
Joseph Marinelli, GA Association of CVBs 2017 Legislative Priorities

 

Leadership Track - Austrailian Suites
LEC Session 2 Part 2 - Wheels up! Creating a Culture of Engagement
Speaker: Cathy Alford, The Leadership Institute at Columbus State University
According to Gallup 7 out of 10 workers are apathetic or totally disengaged. The root cause – Dysfunctional organizational culture. Participants will learn about the impact culture has on an organization and discuss how to create an engaging environment that motivates, stretches and inspires your team to be ready for take off! The climate and culture of an organization is determined by a variety of factors, including artifacts, espoused beliefs and values, and underlying assumptions. Participants will understand what organizational culture means, what influence culture has on an organization, and discuss how one goes about building, influencing, or changing an organization’s culture to be ready for wheels up!   *You must attend both parts 1 & 2 to receive LEC credit.

 

Marketing, Sales & PR Track - Kenyan Suites
Landing the Perfect Social Media Page
Speakers:  Katie ChristofParker Whidby, GDEcD; Erin Sephel, Jennifer Williams, redpepper; Lauren Cleland, Visit Savannah; Jeff Crain, Jeff Crain Photography; Lesli Peterson, 365AtlantaFamily
We’ll take you above and beyond the basics of Social Media 101. Want to learn how to optimize your Facebook ads or create Twitter cards? Want to make your Snapchat or Periscope soar? Then this intimate round-table session is just for you! Experts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and emerging platforms will be on hand to pilot you through your most pressing social media conundrums. 

With personalized attention from the instructors, this session is limited to 35 people, so come early to guarantee your spot.   First come, first served.  We strongly recommend bringing a laptop or tablet with you to follow along with the instructors.

 

Partnership & Collaboration Track - German Suites
Atlanta’s Emerging PATH Network
Speaker:  Ed McBrayer, PATH Foundation
PATH is transforming Atlanta into a walker and biker paradise.  The session will tell participants why trails are important and introduce existing and developing PATH trails in metro Atlanta that will soon make the city a destination for walking and biking vacations. The presentation will include facts and figures for popular trails in the metro area as well as case studies from other trail-rich cities.

 

Technology Track - Swiss Suites
Harness Big Data & Make it Relevant for You
Speakers:  Andria Godfrey, GDEcD; Ted Sullivan, Adara
Data and research are only valuable to tourism if we use them. This session promises to go the “Big Bang Theory Embrace your inner geek” route! Big data isn’t the big scary monster under the bed anymore but it is driving new ways of discovery for travel marketers. Travel data is one way some marketers are defining where the overnight stays are coming from and what they look like. This session explores the use of big data to find out who’s coming, who’s not coming, what they’re spending and how to market to them effectively. The audience will take away a greater understanding of not only what big data is, but how these insights can be incorporated into their marketing and agency decision making processes.

11:45am - 1:30pm

Governor's Luncheon & Awards Ceremony - Salons 1-3
Tourism Industry Awards Presentation and Governor's Remarks
Speaker:  Governor Nathan Deal, State of Georgia
Governor's Office Press Release
Award Recipient Photos