GTC19 Schedule

The Georgia Governor's Tourism Conference is the premier educational and networking event in the state for travel professionals and destination marketers.  The conference will be held Sunday, September 8 - Wednesday, September 11, 2019 at the Great Wolf Lodge in LaGrange, GA. 

Each year GTC provides its attendees the opportunity to exchange ideas with peers, learn from expert panelists, draw inspiration from nationally renowned speakers, and discover cutting-edge products and services. 

In addition to professional development, GTC is an occasion to celebrate. The state's tourism industry employs 471,000 Georgians directly or indirectly and generated a record-breaking $66.2 billion in business sales impact in 2018, up 4.7 percent, according to the U.S. Travel Association and Tourism Economics. 

And the Governor's Lunch and Tourism Awards Ceremony, the conference’s closing session, recognizes the achievements of the leaders, marketers, and innovators who each year propel Georgia’s tourism industry to new levels. For more information please contact [email protected]

Click here for things to do in LaGrange before or after the conference.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Time Session
All day Early arrivals
1:00pm - 5:00pm Registration Open
1:00pm - 5:00pm Early Sponsor/Exhibitor Setup 
5:30pm - until

GACVB BBQ Cornhole Tournament & Scholarship Fundraiser
Wild Leap Brew Co. - just voted best new brewery in the U.S.
308 Main St, LaGrange, GA 30240
(not included in conference registration - separate ticket purchase required) 
Register Here 

Plan to come early and join your colleagues for a BBQ dinner and beverages at the Wild Leap Brew Co. as teams battle it out to be the cornhole champions - all in support of GACVB education programs. The 3rd GACVB BBQ & Cornhole Tournament benefits our educational programming including the annual scholarship opportunities for attending industry conferences. Support tourism education and bring your cornhole team or just come for the food, fun and fellowship with old and new friends. 

$50 Dinner ticket includes Dinner and Beverages - All proceeds go to Education Programs.
Cornhole Tournament Registration is $25 per person / $50 for a team.
Limited to 32 Teams. First Place Team wins $100.

 

Monday,September 9, 2019

Time Session
8:30am - 5:30pm Registration Open
8:30am - 12:30pm Sponsor/Exhibitor Setup 
9:00am - 10:00am GACVB Board of Directors Meeting 
10:00am - 11:00am Georgia Tourism Foundation Board Meeting
10:00am - 11:30am Georgia Tourism Partner Program Overview
GDEcD Tourism, Marketing and Communications staff will present a portfolio of partner opportunities to include print and digital advertising, content marketing and domestic and international sales initiatives
11:30am - 12:30pm Georgia Travel Association Board of Directors Meeting 
1:30pm - 3:00pm

Conference Begins - Opening General Session 
Welcome and Presentation of Colors
Keynote Presentation:  Reactivate your Human KINDNESS
Speaker:  Juliet Hall, Own Your Opportunities
We are born as free spirits. We want to experience and explore and do everything. However, some of the first words we learn as children are “NO”, “DON’T” and “STOP.” We build fences around our community. We learn to doubt people and their intentions. We put labels on everyone because it’s safe. And somewhere along the way, we lose our ability to be kind. 

But what if the person you pass on the street is the key to your future? What if a kind word or interaction changed a life and changed yours? 

We’ve been taught, “It’s not personal. It’s business.” However, in my talk, “Reactivate Your Human KINDNESS”, I charge the audience to flip that, and to know that in tourism, every business is personal.

 Takeaways - the attendees will learn:
1.  Examples of kindness-in-action through admired brands
2.  The seven basic needs of humankind
3.  Five ways to reactivate their human KINDNESS

3:00pm - 3:45pm Afternoon Break
sponsored by 365 Degree Total Marketing and Blue Sky

GACVB Silent Auction Opens
3:45pm - 5:00pm Breakout Session Series
 

Best (and worst!) Practices in Sports Tourism Marketing
Speaker:  Jon Schmieder, Huddle Up Group

According to Sports Events Magazine, the $11.4 billion sports travel market is the fastest growing and most recession resistant segment in tourism. The organizations and communities that understand the industry and how to capitalize on sports tourism have benefited the most from this growth. 

An ever growing industry, the sports travel market provides ample opportunity for organizations to capitalize on the industry growth if they understand how to play the game. In this interactive session, sports tourism industry consultant, Jon Schmieder, will discuss the best and worst practices of sports tourism marketing. The session will include the Huddle Up Group’s 2019 list of the 10 critical trends every community should consider when marketing their destination. 

Takeaways:
1.  Determine the elements of sports tourism best practices that can be applied to your destination including business development strategies, branding, and servicing and creating events.
2.  Identify the worst practices your destination currently uses and develop a plan to improve your organization’s sports tourism efforts.
3.  Define what success in the sports tourism industry looks like for your organization.

 

Brand Bootcamp

 

Georgia Visitor Profile Study
Speaker:  Vicki Allen, DK Shifflet
Come hear about who Georgia's domestic visitors are and their travel characteristics. Information will also be provided on overall domestic visitation in the United States to give context to where Georgia fits in nationally and regionally.

 

LEC Tier 3 - Strategic Excellence
Get the Big Things Right - Your Future Depends on It Part 1
Speaker:  Shana Young, 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 for your organization. 
You must attend both parts 1 & 2 to receive LEC credit.  Click here for more info on the LEC program.

5:30pm - 6:30pm First Time Attendees Meet & Greet (by invitation only)
6:30pm - 9:00pm Adventure Awaits Evening Event - Great Wolf Lodge - Pool Deck
sponsored by Great Wolf Lodge and LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce

Adventure awaits as you discover the activities and recreational options at Great Wolf Lodge Georgia. We will “glamp” poolside to taste and sip the flavors of our childhood outdoor explorations, adult-style. Great Wolf Lodge Georgia, our conference headquarters, has a 40,000-square-foot adventure park and nearly 100,000-square-foot water park. There are adventures for guests of any age!

 

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Time Session
8:00am - 5:00pm Registration Open 
9:00am - 10:00am General Session - GDEcD Tourism Division Annual Update
Speaker:  Lisa Love, GDEcD Tourism Division
sponsored by Atlanta Magazine Custom Media

Recognized as one of the state's top industries, tourism in Georgia has enjoyed an impressive stretch of year-over-year growth. The Tourism leadership team from the Georgia Department of Economic Development will share an overview of strategic programs, campaigns and initiatives designed to support the continuation of record-breaking growth and leverage state resources to boost the efforts of partners statewide.

10:00am - 10:45am Morning Break
sponsored by Meredith Travel Marketing, Southern Living & Carrollton Area CVB
10:45am - 12:00pm Breakout Session Series
  Compliance vs. Commitment: Disability, Diversity and Destination Marketing
Speaker:  
Josh Loebner, Designsensory

A half century after the Civil Rights Act and over two decades since the Americans with Disabilities Act, destination marketers and advertising agencies still often struggle to create messaging that accurately reflects a diverse make-up. Many are asking about ADA compliance, but does this simply check off a box or move towards greater commitments?

Takeaways
1. Educate on the size, scope and buying power of minorities and in more detail, that of people with disabilities, the largest minority group in America
2. Bring powerful stories and examples of the transformation of portrayal and inclusion of people with disabilities in tourism advertising and the pitfalls and pathways to accessible websites and disability marketing
3. Elevate the presentation with ideas on how attendees can increase connections with diversity and inclusion in their destination marketing and in their community

  The Rising Importance of Influencer Marketing
Moderator:  Meggan Hood, GDEcD Tourism Division
Speakers:  Kristen Heetland, The Home Depot; Raven Bennett, 22squared
According to Social Media Today, influencer marketing delivers an 11x higher ROI than traditional forms of digital marketing, and 94% of marketers who've used influencer marketing believe the tactic to be effective. From brand ambassadorships to sponsored content, event coverage to product reviews, influencer marketing continues to increase in importance and effectiveness among marketers across industries. Learn how and why The Home Depot works with influencers, and how to build your own successful influencer program.
 

Accommodations Tax 101 Q&A
Speaker:  
Tyler Reinagel, Ph.D., Georgia Department of Community Affairs
Attention attendees - review the Georgia's Hotel-Motel Excise Tax Webinar before the conference so you're familiar with the basics.  Then come to class ready for a full question & answer session with the Department of Community Affairs.  The session is designed to provide CVBs, hoteliers, and local governments what they need to know about reporting, audit disclosure, and general compliance requirements, as well as clarification of the allowable uses of the tax.

 

LEC Tier 3 - Strategic Excellence
Get the Big Things Right - Your Future Depends on It Part 2
Speaker: Shana Young, 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 for your organization. You must attend both parts 1 & 2 to receive LEC credit.  Click here for more info on the LEC program.

12:15pm - 1:15pm Networking Luncheon
sponsored by Arrivalist
1:30pm - 2:45pm Breakout Sessions
 

Beercation Destination: Tapping into Georgia’s Emerging Craft Beer Tourism
Nancy Palmer, Executive Director of Georgia’s Craft Brewers Guild, leads a panel of creative brewery owners and marketers to discuss the state of Georgia’s beer industry, profile beer tourists, and explore effective marketing opportunities, including new product launches, product placement, festivals, events, tours, itineraries, beer blogs and more.

  Social Media
  Accommodations Tax 201: Short Term Rentals
Moderator:  Lee Hughes, Hughes Public Affairs
Speakers:  Michael Owens, Savannah Area Tourism Leadership Council; Lauren Pollow, J. L. Morgan Company
How have local governments addressed this issue and what should we be expecting as the state continues to explore statewide legislation. 
 

LEC Tier 3 - Strategic Excellence
Get Engaged Without the Ring - Creating a Culture of Engagement Part 1
Speaker: Chelsea Powell, 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. 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.  You must attend both parts 1 & 2 to receive LEC credit.  Click here for more info on the LEC program.

2:45pm - 3:30pm Afternoon Break 
sponsored by Advance Travel & Tourism and Medieval Times
3:30pm - 4:45pm General Session
5:45pm - 6:30pm Transportation provided from the Great Wolf Lodge and Home2 Suites to Sweetland Amphitheatre
6:00pm - 9:00pm Rhythm & Brews Evening Event - Sweetland Amphitheatre
The 2500-seat Sweetland Amphitheatre at Boyd Park provides an intimate outdoor venue for star-studded performances and community events, all within walking distance of downtown restaurants and shops.  Guests will enjoy an evening under the stars with local craft beer and wine tastings, southern cuisine and the soulful sounds of the blues by live entertainment—an evening of Rhythm & Brews!  
8:00pm - 9:30pm Transportation provided from Sweetland Amphitheatre to Great Wolf Lodge and Home2 Suites

 

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Time Session
8:00am - 12:30pm Registration Open 
8:30am - 9:45am Keynote Session:  For the Love of Place
Speaker:  Peter Kageyama, co-founder and producer of the Creative Cities Summit
Good things happen when more people become emotionally engaged with their places, when more people fall in love with those places. Peter speaks about emotional engagement with PLACES – cities, towns, villages and neighborhoods. How to spark that love and  to encourage people to go from saying they love a place to actually doing something for that place. He talks about how to market and tell that story and how to  build places that attract visitors and investment and also resonate with tourists and locals alike.  Learn how to create the set of conditions where love is more likely to happen and about the importance of small, inexpensive and sometimes even silly expressions of that love for making great places. 
9:45am - 10:30am Morning Break 
GACVB Silent Auction Closes
10:30am - 11:45am Breakout Sessions
  Outdoor Rec = Tourism
  User Generated Content
  Joint Committee on Economic Development and Tourism Meeting
  LEC Tier 3 - Strategic Excellence
Get Engaged Without the Ring - Creating a Culture of Engagement Part 2
Speaker: Chelsea Powell, 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. 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.  You must attend both parts 1 & 2 to receive LEC credit.  Click here for more info on the LEC program.
12:00pm - 1:30pm Governor's Lunch and Tourism Awards Ceremony
1:30pm Adjourn
GACVB Silent Auction Checkout