Join us at this annual gathering of Utah’s tourism industry is sponsored by the Utah Office of Tourism and the Utah Tourism Industry, featuring general and breakout sessions on the latest in tourism issues and technology and area discovery activities. Come network with old friends and meet some new ones!
SEPTEMBER 12 – 14, 2017
Uintah Conference Center in Vernal, Utah
Early bird registration is $229 per person and ends on July 1, 2017. Regular registration is $249 per person. Registration includes all conference sessions, meeting materials, meals & breaks (except Wed. dinner)
WHO ATTENDS the UTAH TOURISM CONFERENCE?
Attractions and events * Campground and RV parks management * Destination development, public relations and marketing companies * Government and local leaders * Hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, resorts, and vacation rental properties * National and state parks, national forests, recreation areas, and public lands representatives * Regional tourism offices and convention & visitors bureaus * Ski and winter recreation industry * Retail organizations * Tour guides and outfitters * Tourism journalists, media, publications, and online associations * Transportation companies and organizations
Utah Office of Tourism
The Utah Office of Tourism promotes tourism into the state through advertising and media. We are an office within the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. Our mission is “to brand and promote Utah’s great experiences and destinations for visitors and citizens in an inspiring way to support and enhance economic vitality and quality of life in our state.” We operate several programs to assist Utah’s tourism industry
including marketing and advertising, research and planning, publications, information services, media relations and cooperative programs.
Utah Tourism Industry Association
The Utah Tourism Industry Association is the trade association for the tourism industry in the state of Utah. The overall mission of UTIA is to serve as the coordinating body for the combined interests of associations, chambers, organizations, businesses, and individuals engaged in serving and developing tourism in Utah. UTIA is an organization that focuses on issues of concern to all organizations involved in tourism rather than just the narrower interests of individual tourism entities.
Utah Hotel & Lodging Association
The Utah Hotel & Lodging Association is dedicated to providing a resource to support the hospitality industry throughout the state of Utah and to represent the common interests of our members in an ethical and professional manner, including political action, education, marketing support and industry advancements in the state of Utah.
SPONSORSHIPS and EXHIBITS
Please forward sponsorship and exhibitor inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
CONFERENCE CENTER and ACCOMMODATIONS
The 2017 Utah Tourism Conference will be held at the Uintah Conference Center, 313 East 200 South, Vernal, Utah, 84078, tel. 435-789-8001. https://uintahconferencecenter.com Map: https://bit.ly/2fY3gw7
SpringHill Suites Vernal
1205 W. Highway 40, Vernal, UT 84078, 435-789-8050
Rate is $109 per room per night + tax
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Vernal – Dinosaurland
1515 W. US Highway 40, Vernal, UT 84078, 435-789-4654
Rate is $95 per room per night + tax
All meetings will be held at the Uintah Conference Center, unless noted. For a full list of pre- and post-conference activities, please visit the UTIA website.
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2017____________________________________________
6:30-8:15 a.m., Sunrise Yoga at Red Fleet State Park: Bring your own mat. Meet at the Marriott SpringHill Suites at 6:30 am. A bus will transport you to Red Fleet and back to the Marriott by 8:15 a.m.
8:00-9:00 a.m., Scenic Byway Meeting- Ledgestone Hotel
9:00-10:00 a.m., UHLA Board Meeting
9:00-10:00 a.m., UADMO Meeting
10:00-11:00 a.m., UTIA Membership Meeting
11:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m., UOT Board Meeting
12:00-5:00 p.m., Registration Open
1:00- 4:00 p.m., Exhibitor Move-In
1:00-5:00 p.m., Activities (Sign up when you register):
*(Full) Rafting Adventure on the Green River 50 people/$25.00 FILLED
*Paddle Boarding, Kayaking, Canoeing at Red Fleet State Park/Free
*Explore Dinosaurland by mountain bike/Free – Bring your own bike
*Hike your way around a thousand years of history at the McConkie Ranch Petroglyphs/Free
*Museum and Wild West History (Self-Guided Tour)/Free
*If you build it they will come-Enjoy and Economic Tour of Uintah County/Free
6:00 p.m., Opening Reception & Dinner Under the Stars – Sponsored by Uintah County and TripAdvisor.
Join us for a night under the stars in Dinosaur National Monument at Split Mountain. Attendees will enjoy a Dutch oven dinner, entertainment, drinks, and an opportunity to walk along the Green River, view the world famous Wall of Bones, and star gaze into some of the darkest skies in America.
Transportation will be provided by Wilkins Bus Lines and will leave from the Marriott Hotels and Uintah Conference Center at 5:30 pm. You are welcome to drive your own vehicle, but parking is limited and we encourage you to take the bus or carpool.
Don’t forget a jacket, as September evenings can get cool.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2017_________________________________________
7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
-Visit the UOT and UTIA exhibits with meeting/learning opportunities
-Silent Auction open
7:30-8:30 a.m., Full Breakfast: Sponsored by St. George Area Tourism Office
8:00-8:30 a.m., Utah Office of Tourism: A Look Ahead, Vicki Varela: Utah Office of Tourism, Managing Director
8:30-9:45 a.m., Opening General Session: Doug Lansky, International Tourism Entrepreneur
-Sponsored by Kane County
9:45-10:15 a.m., Break #1 -Sponsored by Grand County
10:15-11:30 a.m., Breakout Sessions:
Des Barker, UTIA Legislative Strategist: One-on-one 10-minute appointments. Sign-up at the UTIA booth.
1. Digital Marketing & PR Track: Doug Lansky, International Tourism Entrepreneur: Getting the Media’s Attention
Whether you’re trying to get the media to cover your property or simply create appealing text for your website, you’ll want some writing tricks that will strengthen your offer. In this useful workshop, travel writer and editor Doug Lansky will provide some handy pitch and writing skills to help you get the attention of travel writers and editors as well as create a hook for future guests. This useful workshop is hands-on and will help you better market your business.
2. Hotel/Hospitality Track: Dave Hamilton, SVP Sales, Signature Worldwide: Inside the OTAs: What’s the Difference Between the OTAs and Why does it Matter?
In this session we will review the three primary OTA models – retail, merchant and opaque and the typical costs associated with each channel. We’ll also review the new meta-search options and what it means for your bottom line.
3. Destination Development Track: Monir Parikh, CEO Bandwango: Developing Deeper Relationships with Locals and Visitors Alike.
DMO’s and CVBs have unique qualities when it comes to SEO-domain authority and highly relevant content. In that regard, both locals and visitors are searching for things to do in their cities and the DMO consistently ranks high in search results. Bandwango has partnered with over 20 DMOs to create mobile experiences designed to serve visitors and locals alike. Clients utilize the platform to create attractions passes, membership programs, discount clubs, and even experiences specifically designed to generate hotel stays. These programs are designed to not only target visitors, but just as importantly create value for locals and create “resident ambassadors”. We will present three case studies from Visit Salt Lake, Go Cedar Rapids, and Visit Ogden to showcase how these innovative DMOs are utilizing mobile technology to provide value to all customers, not just visitors.
4. Appointment Schedule: Session A (County DMO’s & UOT Contractors only)
11:45 a.m.-1:00 p.m., Opening Luncheon Sponsored by Love Communications and Struck
Keynote Speaker: Carroll Rheem, Vice President, Research & Analytics for Brand USA: Economic Trends and Forecasting for the Tourism Industry
Presentation will include the impacts of the new administration on domestic and international tourism to the Western United States, the role of government spending and government contractors on hotel revenue, factors that will influence revenue per available room (RevPar) growth, corporate and leisure groups impact on tourism and tourism economic indicators for 2018 and beyond
1:00-1:45 p.m., General Session: Keynote Speaker Dr. Natalie Gochnour: Economic Trends and Projections Within Utah
2:00-3:15 p.m., Breakout Sessions:
5. Digital Marketing & PR Track: Jay Kinghorn, Utah Office of Tourism: Foundations for Success with Google Analytics
In this session, you’ll receive a simplified introduction to measuring the effectiveness of your digital marketing effectiveness and learn the handful of key performance indicators (KPIs) that matter most to your digital marketing programs. In doing so, you’ll gain a hands-on introduction to Google Analytics, the most popular (and free!) web analytics package that will help you understand where your visitors are coming from, what content is performing well and which digital marketing initiatives are providing the best bang for your buck.
6. Hotel/Hospitality Track: Dave Hamilton, SVP Sales Signature Worldwide: Phone – The Forgotten Channel
During web searches, 40-60% of customers will pick up the phone and call the property directly. Are your agents prepared to convert those callers? In this session we will cover how to help your hotel connect with callers in the first 30 seconds, discover what is important to the callers, deliver value so they can recognize the value of your property and ultimately close the sale.
7. Destination Development Track: Doug Lansky, International Tourism Entrepreneur: Creative Problem Solving
When it comes to tough tourism issues, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Hotels, restaurants, attractions, tours… entire destinations are typically experiencing many of the very same problems. So, in addition to Doug’s expertise, he’ll help tap your best resource – your fellow stakeholders. Everyone will get a chance to share issues and offer solutions. From dealing with guest complaints before they end up on TripAdvisor to new and creative customer service communication tricks, Doug will help steer the conversation to cover a wide range of issues and offer some useful takeaways.
8. Appointment Schedule: Session B (County DMO’s & UOT Contractors only)
3:15-3:45 p.m., Break #2- Sponsored by Garfield County
4:00-5:15 p.m., Breakout Sessions:
Des Barker, UTIA Legislative Strategist: Round table legislative discussion (max.10 people) sign-up at the UTIA booth.
9. Digital Marketing & PR Track: Matt Peters, CEO, Pandemic Lab: Facebook Marketing on a Modest Budget
You may have heard that organic reach is dead. While that’s certainly an oversimplification, the reality is that you must have a paid social media strategy to succeed in today’s social media landscape. But the good news is that Facebook offers advertisers unprecedented opportunities to target and engage with customers through a wide range of ad units. In this session, we will focus on getting the most out of Facebook marketing with a limited budget. You don’t have to be Coca-Cola to make Facebook work for you. Together we will work all the way through how to decide what Facebook offerings are right for you up through measuring success. This session will be entirely focused on smaller destinations like you, while offering best practices from larger DMOs and travel brands who spend hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars per year.
10. Hotel/Hospitality Track: Dave Hamilton, SVP Sales Signature Worldwide: Selling Against the OTAs
Are your guest service agents prepared to sell against the OTAs when the caller has found a better rate online? In this session we will walk through a process your agents can use to successfully convert OTA shoppers to direct bookers. Booking direct can save your hotel money, but today many hotels are sending callers back online to book. We’ll give you some tips and strategies to increase your direct bookings.
11. Destination Development Track: Virginia Pearce, Director of Utah Film Commission: Growing From Small to Big on Demand – How to be Film Ready in Utah
Caineville and Magna are communities that have taken advantage of film productions in the last several years. They will explain how they worked with filmmakers and the community to be ready to meet the needs of production companies.
12. Appointment Schedule: Session C (County DMO’s & UOT Contractors only)
5:15-5:45 p.m., Brochure Exchange
Evening, Open for Vernal dine around options
8:30-10:30 p.m., Networking Party at Marriott SpringHill Suites -Sponsored by Uintah County & Miles Media
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2017___________________________________________
8:00-10:00 a.m., Registration Open
8:00-11:00 a.m., Silent Auction with final bids at 11:00 a.m.
8:00-9:15 a.m., Breakfast: Sponsored by Relic Media
–Tourism Works Awards
–International Market Update (UOT Contractors)
9:15-10:15 a.m., General Session: Keynote Speaker Lyn Christian, Soul Salt: Customer Loyalty – How to Leverage the Power of Evangelists
Every business and non-profit endeavor has a unique fan club, a group of believers who believe in what you stand for. If you’re smart, you spend less time trying to capture new customers and donors, and more time connecting with your advocates who have super-fan power. They are ultimately the force that will bring you the revenue, customer base or volunteers you need to remain viable. Customer loyalty, or in Lady Gaga’s words, “Monster Loyalty”, is a key to marketing yourself in this decade.
10:15-10:30 a.m., Break #3 Sponsored by Booking.com
10:45-11:30 a.m., Breakout sessions:
13. Digital Marketing & PR Track: Sarah Stashuk, Director of Digital Media & SEO, Aristotle: Getting Started with Google AdWords & Pay-Per Click Marketing
In this session, you will learn the important basics of Google AdWords from award-winning digital marketer and SEO expert Sarah Stashuk. Get insider tips from an AdWords-certified industry veteran who has mastered the art of conversion-focused advertising for the Utah Office of Tourism, Kentucky Department of Travel, Silver Dollar City Attractions, Elvis Presley’s Graceland, and many others in the tourism and attractions industry. Sarah will show you step-by-step how to set up a successful campaign and evaluate the results.
14. Hotel/Hospitality Track: Matthew MacLaren, SVP AHLA of Member Relations: American Hotel & Lodging Association Legislative Update
The AHLA represent over 24,000 members totaling over half of all the hotel rooms in the United States. In this session you will receive an AHLA Legislative Update including success stopping illegal hotels, protecting consumers from online deception, taking on labor issues, and our support for travel and tourism promotion.
15. Destination Development Track: Nan Anderson-GOED, Des Barker-UTIA Legislative Strategist, Jeremy Chase-Stuck: Get Those Tourist Dollars! Utah’s Tourism Development Shark Tank
Budding tourism dreamers/entrepreneurs get the chance to present their dreams and potential projects to enhance and increase the tourism economy to our panel of tourism experts — just like the reality show! They offer their ideas to the sharks in the tank — three pillars of Utah’s tourism industry who have helped elevate the tourism economy in Utah to its status as a major player. The contestants try to convince any one of the sharks to support their idea. When more than one of the sharks decide they want a piece of the action, a war can erupt, elevating the potential success of the project. AND……there’s a prize for the most viable project!
16. Appointment Schedule: Session D (County DMO’s & UOT Contractors only)
11:30 a.m.- 12:15 p.m., General Session: Bosco Anthony, International Business Growth & Digital Strategist, Fueling Purpose & Momentum
Inspired by thought leaders, this talk is designed to navigate people to personally transform from becoming life spectators to designing change catalysts to society. Many people spend a lifetime trying to discover their personal desire and yet few actually live a life pursuing that purpose. The intention of this talk to fascinate and motivate an audience to act on their personal purpose in life and empower transformation.
12:30-2:00 p.m., Closing Luncheon
– Keynote: Matthrew MacLaren, SVP, American Hotel & Lodging Association
– Utah Tourism Hall of Fame
– UTIA Update: Kaitlin Eskelson: Utah Tourism Industry Association, Exec. Director
2:00 p.m., Conference ends
Optional Post Tourism Conference Activities at Flaming Gorge. Be sure to add Thursday night to your hotel stay! Sign up when you register.
Evening, Thursday, September 14
*FREE evening of fun at Flaming Gorge includes a tasty dinner, local brews, live entertainment, scenic boat tours and some paddling (SUP’s and kayaks) in a wondrous location. Advance reservations are required.
Friday, September 15
*Rafting on the Green $15/pp.
*Gorge Highlight Tour $10/pp
TOURISM WORKS AWARDS
Help us recognize amazing individuals in Utah’s tourism industry with your nominations for three awards.
- 2017 Tourism Works Awards Spirit of Service: The Spirit of Service Award is presented to the tourism employee or volunteer who best exemplifies the Utah tourism industry commitment of exceptional service by showing “Service Elevated”.
- 2017 Tourism Works Awards Outstanding Community Tourism Initiative: Acknowledges an activity, event, or project undertaken by a community or region to promote tourism in Utah.
- 2017 Tourism Works Awards Outstanding Utah Advertising Award: Recognizes superior advertising from an organization for either a single target promotion or a full campaign that exemplifies the organization’s creativity and excellence in promoting tourism in the state of Utah.
Utah Office of Tourism
Rosanne Winder, Conference Coordinator
Utah Tourism Industry Association
Kaitlin Eskelsen, Executive Director