2019 Governor’s Conference Agenda

September 23-25, 2019
Snowshoe Mountain Resort

Tap or click + to see more information about each session.

Monday, September 23

Weather Report
1 p.m.

Hospitality and Travel Association Board Meeting

Racoon\Bobcat, Mountain Lodge (map #11)
2 p.m.

Hospitality and Travel Association Strategic Planning Session

Racoon\Bobcat, Mountain Lodge (map #11)
3 p.m.

Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus Meeting

Racoon\Bobcat, Mountain Lodge (map #11)
3–6 p.m.

Early Registration

Ballroom Hallway, Mountain Lodge (map #11)

Tuesday, September 24

Weather Report
7-9 a.m.

Breakfast on Your Own

Snowshoe Village Dining
8 a.m.–5 p.m.

Registration

Ballroom Hallway, Mountain Lodge (map #11)
9:30 a.m.

GENERAL SESSION

EXPO Center (map #4)
State of the Tourism Industry

Join George Zimmermann and Tourism Commissioner Chelsea Ruby as they share insight into West Virginia tourism’s historic budget increase and what it means for the future of the industry in the state.

Chelsea Ruby, Tourism Commissioner and George Zimmerman, Longwoods International (speaker bios)

 

10:30 a.m.

Networking Break

Basin Supper Club, Mountain Lodge (map #11)
11 a.m.

CONCURRENT MORNING SESSIONS

Mountain Lodge (map #11)
A. The Evolution Of TripAdvisor: Hotels, Attractions and Restaurants … Oh My
Ballroom A

Since 2000, TripAdvisor has evolved from its original roots as a B2B service to become the largest travel website on the planet, encompassing 600 million user reviews across 49 markets and 25+ languages. Now considered one of the 30 largest websites in the world, TripAdvisor’s evolution has enabled consumers to know better, book better and go better. In this session, learn about some of the solutions TripAdvisor offers to help hoteliers, attractions/tour operators and restaurateurs not only manage their businesses’ online reputation, but also leverage products to drive greater onsite exposure and increase visitation and bookings. This session will touch on travel trends within the industry and nuances regarding what we know about the average user engaging with West Virginia content onsite.

Mark Preston, Trip Advisor (speaker bios)

 

B. Influence the Odds: Don’t Leave Influencer Marketing To Chance
Ballroom B

Travel, tourism and destination brands are investing significantly in influencer marketing ($2 billion in 2017, to be exact). Why? Because influencers are now the fastest-growing method for acquiring online customers, and influencer marketing is projected to be a $5-10 billion industry by 2020. If you aren’t playing the influencer game — or aren’t playing it the right way — you’re losing out. Today, influencer programming plays a significant role in the overall marketing landscape, and brands have an opportunity to make an impact on their bottom lines because of it. This presentation will discuss the impact of influencer marketing on the travel industry, how to select and vet influencers, how to engage them and how to measure ROI. Don’t roll the dice with influencer marketing. Learn how to achieve the winning combo, every time.

Sarah Schmidt, BVK (speaker bios)

 

C. Yes, You Can Market Internationally
Blackbear A/B

Brand USA is the destination marketing organization for the United States, representing 50 states, five territories and Washington D.C. In this session, Dianne Turner will share Brand USA’s current consumer strategy on storytelling. In addition, she’ll walk you through how the West Virginia Tourism Office is currently partnering with Brand USA in the international arena and what you can do to leverage available resources and either begin or extend your international marketing efforts.

Diane Turner, Brand USA (speaker bios)

 

12 p.m.

KEYNOTE LUNCHEON

EXPO Center (map #4)
What Visitors Really Want… and How to Give it to Them

Why do some people choose to travel to you, while others choose to go elsewhere? Understanding consumer trends is a critical part of your sales process. If you want to thrive — and not just survive — you need to be able to pinpoint exactly why your visitors and guests do what they do. In this thrilling presentation, global trends expert Daniel Levine will take you on a deep dive to reveal what travelers in West Virginia are thinking and feeling. You will discover the real values and attitudes behind why they buy, understand trends that are quickly changing the consumer landscape, and learn from organizations, brands, and products that are embracing trends and change with spectacular results.

Daniel Levine, Leading Trends Expert (speaker bios)

1:45 p.m.

CONCURRENT AFTERNOON SESSIONS (repeats)

Mountain Lodge (map #11)
A. The Evolution Of TripAdvisor: Hotels, Attractions and Restaurants … Oh My
Ballroom A

Since 2000, TripAdvisor has evolved from its original roots as a B2B service to become the largest travel website on the planet, encompassing 600 million user reviews across 49 markets and 25+ languages. Now considered one of the 30 largest websites in the world, TripAdvisor’s evolution has enabled consumers to know better, book better and go better. In this session, learn about some of the solutions TripAdvisor offers to help hoteliers, attractions/tour operators and restaurateurs not only manage their businesses’ online reputation, but also leverage products to drive greater onsite exposure and increase visitation and bookings. This session will touch on travel trends within the industry and nuances regarding what we know about the average user engaging with West Virginia content onsite.

Mark Preston, Trip Advisor (speaker bios)

B. Influence the Odds: Don’t Leave Influencer Marketing To Chance
Ballroom B

Travel, tourism and destination brands are investing significantly in influencer marketing ($2 billion in 2017, to be exact). Why? Because influencers are now the fastest-growing method for acquiring online customers, and influencer marketing is projected to be a $5-10 billion industry by 2020. If you aren’t playing the influencer game — or aren’t playing it the right way — you’re losing out. Today, influencer programming plays a significant role in the overall marketing landscape, and brands have an opportunity to make an impact on their bottom lines because of it. This presentation will discuss the impact of influencer marketing on the travel industry, how to select and vet influencers, how to engage them and how to measure ROI. Don’t roll the dice with influencer marketing. Learn how to achieve the winning combo, every time.

Sarah Schmidt, BVK (speaker bios)

C. Yes, You Can Market Internationally
Blackbear A/B

Brand USA is the destination marketing organization for the United States, representing 50 states, five territories and Washington D.C. In this session, Dianne Turner will share Brand USA’s current consumer strategy on storytelling. In addition, she’ll walk you through how the West Virginia Tourism Office is currently partnering with Brand USA in the international arena and what you can do to leverage available resources and either begin or extend your international marketing efforts.

Diane Turner, Brand USA (speaker bios)

2:30 p.m

Afternoon Stretch/Coffee Break

Basin Supper Club, Mountain Lodge (map #11)
3 p.m.

GENERAL SESSION

EXPO Center (map #4)
Visitor Center: From Brochure Rack to an Immersive Experience

Join Neal McCoy and his team as they share how to turn visitor centers into innovative and interactive experiences. Tupelo, Mississippi, was looking to incorporate new branding into its visitor center and what it ended up with was a whole new attraction that allows visitors to see, touch, play and interact with the story of Tupelo in one location.

Neal McCoy, Stephanie Coomer, and Elizabeth Russell, Tupelo Convention & Visitors Bureau (speaker bios)

4 p.m.

Explore Snowshoe

Sign up for activities at registration in Mountain Lodge (map #11)

Marvel in all the mountain has to offer. Take this time to explore the activities and offerings at Snowshoe. (Activity List)

6 p.m.

Opening Reception

Old Spruce Brewery — Shuttles available from Village

Kick off the 2019 Governor’s Conference on Tourism with a taste of Pocahontas County. Sponsored by Pocahontas County CVB and Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad.

7 p.m.

Dine Around the Mountain

Snowshoe Village Dining

Stop by the Pocahontas County CVB booth near registration to pick up a list of restaurants available on the mountain.

Wednesday, September 25

Weather Report
8 a.m.–5 p.m.

Registration

Ballroom Hallway, Mountain Lodge (map #11)
9 a.m.

BREAKFAST GENERAL SESSION

EXPO Center (map #4)
Let’s Talk Data

Join us for a deep dive into new economic impact and visitation research for tourism in West Virginia.

Jeannie Liu, Longwoods International, and Leon Aliski, Den Runyan Associates (speaker bios)

10:30 a.m.

CONCURRENT MORNING SESSIONS

Mountain Lodge (map #11)
A. Almost Heaven Worldwide
Ballroom A

Join Liz Bittner and our newest partners from the UK for an inside look into West Virginia’s international marketing strategy and the importance of receptive tour operators.

Liz Bittner, Travel South USA, with Neil Jones, James White, and David Venables, Travel and Tourism Marketing (speaker bios)

B. Lifecycle of a Marketing Plan
Ballroom B

From starting a campaign to evaluating its performance, this session will cover the most important elements of consideration for marketing plans of any size. Learn how to identify your key campaign goals and select the corresponding effective communication channels for maximum impact. Then, learn to evaluate campaign success through goal-setting and review the most meaningful analytic reports. The session will broadly cover these fundamentals, followed by an opportunity for Q&A of the presenting panel.

Text in your question to 855-909-0766. Digital Relativity and BVK will be answering your questions during their Wednesday session.

Erica Vonderloh, BVK, and Pat Strader, Digital Relativity (speaker bios)

C. Crafting Your Story: The Inner Workings of West Virginia’s New Vacation Guide
Blackbear A/B

The team from Meredith Travel Marketing will present its vision for a first-to-market concept that will highlight every corner of the state and each of its distinct seasons, bringing your story to new audiences in fresh, elevated ways.

Kylee Krizmanic and Mary Beaumont, Meredith Travel Marketing (speaker bios)

11:30 a.m.

Explore Snowshoe

Snowshoe Village Dining

Spend lunch exploring Snowshoe. Enjoy the many activities and dining options on the mountain. Sign up for activities at registration in Mountain Lodge. (Activity List)

12:30 p.m.

Tourism Commission Meeting

EXPO Center (map #4)
1:30 p.m.

GENERAL SESSION

EXPO Center (map #4)
Marketing a Mid-Level Town with Mecca Next Door

Do you represent a smaller attraction or destination? Do you wish you had the budget your neighboring big city does? Then this session is for you. Let’s take a deep dive into smaller markets with smaller budgets as we hear from destination PR pros who have successfully created campaigns with little funds. Beyond these case studies, we’ll discuss the “how to” on stretching your dollars and perhaps piggybacking on the appeal of a larger city. Partnerships, creativity and a solid PR plan will grow your dollars and even your market appeal.

Kate Hudson, Visit Spokane, and Whitney Riggs, Visit Hamilton County (speaker bios)

2:30 p.m.

CONCURRENT AFTERNOON SESSIONS (repeats)

Mountain Lodge (map #11)
A. Almost Heaven Worldwide
Ballroom A

Join Liz Bittner and our newest partners from the UK for an inside look into West Virginia’s international marketing strategy and the importance of receptive tour operators.

Liz Bittner, Travel South USA (speaker bios)

B. Lifecycle of a Marketing Plan
Ballroom B

From starting a campaign to evaluating its performance, this session will cover the most important elements of consideration for marketing plans of any size. Learn how to identify your key campaign goals and select the corresponding effective communication channels for maximum impact. Then, learn to evaluate campaign success through goal-setting and review the most meaningful analytic reports. The session will broadly cover these fundamentals, followed by an opportunity for Q&A of the presenting panel.

Text in your question to 855-909-0766. Digital Relativity and BVK will be answering your questions during their Wednesday session.

Erica Vonderloh, BVK, and Pat Strader, Digital Relativity (speaker bios)

C. Crafting Your Story: The Inner Workings of West Virginia’s New Vacation Guide
Blackbear A/B

The team from Meredith Travel Marketing will present its vision for a first-to-market concept that will highlight every corner of the state and each of its distinct seasons, bringing your story to new audiences in fresh, elevated ways.

Kylee Krizmanic and Mary Beaumont, Meredith Travel Marketing (speaker bios)

3:30 p.m.

Networking Break

Basin Supper Club, Mountain Lodge (map #11)
3:45 p.m.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT SESSIONS

Mountain Lodge (map #11)
A. Mobile Friendly Video Strategy for Tourism: Let’s Build A Plan in Less Than an Hour
Ballroom A

Most tourism professionals know they need more video in their communication strategy. It’s easy to say and tough to do because there are so many different tools & techniques. This session will cut through clutter, ID specific tools and showcase tactics to help optimize video as part of a larger communication strategy. At the end of our session, attendees will be able to address the following common questions: What are video tools you can use on your phone? Where are their opportunities to find content? When can you use this content to optimize your investment? How can you empower your entire team to lighten your workload?

Dan Farkas, Ohio State University (speaker bios)

B. Hospitality, Tourism and Creating Emotionally Engaging Places
Ballroom B

Sponsored by Meredith Travel Marketing

Last year’s keynote speaker, Peter Kageyama, returns for an in-depth analysis into the ideas he presented last year. Peter talks about love and emotional engagement with places, and this session will delve into the critical role that tourism plays in that engagement. Peter will discuss ideas from his new book, The Emotional Infrastructure of Places, on how places need to adapt and change to meet the shifting cultural demographics and attitudes of Millennials and Generation Z.

Peter Kageyama, Author, For the Love of Cities (speaker bios)

7 p.m.

Stars of Almost Heaven Awards Dinner

EXPO Center (map #4)

Join the West Virginia Tourism Office to recognize outstanding industry partners for their execution of successful advertising and public relations strategies, as well as their overall contributions to the tourism industry.

Master of Ceremonies: Jeffrey Lusk, West Virginia Tourism Commission Chair

Meeting Spaces

General sessions will take place in the Expo Center and breakout sessions will be in Mountain Lodge. Attendees will cross the village to get from one space to another, so please plan accordingly with comfy walking shoes and an umbrella. 

What to Wear

Attire for the conference is fall/winter resort casual. With cooler temperatures on the mountain, cozy sweaters and boots are welcome. This year’s Stars of the Industry Awards Dinner is après-ski- themed, so attendees are invited to dress down and dress warm in your mountaintop best.

Registration Hours

If you have any questions, please contact a Tourism Office team member at the registration desk Monday 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Tuesday and Wednesday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Explore Snowshoe & Pocahontas County

The Pocahontas County CVB will offer excursions for conference participants. Visit their table at registration to sign up. (Activity list)

Looking for more information about Snowshoe Mountain Resort? Visit www.snowshoemtn.com. For more about Pocahontas County visit www.pocahontascountywv.com.

Special Thanks

West Virginia Tourism Commission
Jeffrey Lusk, Chairman
David Arnold
William Bright
Tim Bucklew
Cindy Cramer
Kara Dense
Ed Gaunch
Barry Kadel
John Klemish
Matt Knott
Ronald Marcus
Stephen Mcdaniel
Chris Richards

Sponsors